Superfoods have been recommended for years now, but with everyone saying different things it’s hard to keep track of which ones are actually the best ones for you. Your best friend says apples are the best, while your mother-in-law tells you that blueberries are a great superfood. Next thing you know, you have an apple in one hand, blueberries in the other, and it becomes Sophie’s Choice.
Well, we’re here to help you keep track of which superfoods are the best ones for you and why you should be including them in your diet!
What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are packed with nutrients and various health benefits. Some of them can help with your skin, others are well-known for reducing cholesterol levels, and some have even been proven to help reduce the risk of cancer.
Though these sound great on the surface, there are some important things to remember in order to keep healthy. The American Heart Association spoke with Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD who warned that you shouldn’t place all your hopes on these foods solving all of your problems. If you only have these foods once a week on top of a not-so-great diet then you’ll miss out on getting the nutrients from these superfoods. You want to make sure that you’re balancing your diet with healthy foods.
There are a lot of different superfoods out there but here are the top ten that you should try to incorporate into your diet and why.
We’ve all heard it: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” (Personally, my favorite is the extended version: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if the doctor’s cute screw the fruit!”)
There is a reason why apples have such a good reputation. A study published in 2004 found that if you eat apples you’re essentially rewarded with reduced risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. The study added that apples have a ton of antioxidants.
Medical News Today published a piece in 2017 that supported this research further. They spoke of how apples have been linked to reduced risks in various health concerns like breast cancer and high cholesterol. They also outlined how apples are great sources of vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and additional nutrients.
2. Hemp Seeds
This one might sound like a weird one, but hemp seeds are actually considered to be a superfood for good reason.
Manitoba Harvest went into detail about how hemp seeds are loaded with minerals that better your health such as “10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omega-3 and omega-6 per 30-gram serving.” They’re great sources of iron, thiamine, and magnesium as well. They also offer you twice the amount of protein as flax and chia seed would. Hemp seeds also have fewer carbs than the other two and higher omega amounts.
You can add some hemp seeds to other foods you have like cereal or salad to soak in all the nutrients. These little seeds are packed with nutrients, fiber, and protein!
Your mother-in-law was right when she said that blueberries were a good superfood.
Much like apples, blueberries have been linked to reducing negative health concerns such as high cholesterol levels and breast cancer. They’re also a wonderful source of antioxidants.A study published in 2010 wrote that blueberries have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. They also added that when purified anthocyanins from blueberries were added to water for mice, the mice were less likely to suffer from dyslipidemia. They also discovered that the blueberry properties prevented obesity in the mice even if they were fed a high-fat diet for three months.
Another study published in 2010 investigated the chemopreventive activity of blueberry extract in triple negative breast cancer cell lines. Their research and additional studies showed that ingesting blueberries decreased breast tumor volume and they consider ingesting blueberries to be a significant step in preventing cancer.
Blueberries are also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.
Sure, cinnamon is a terrific add-on to our favorite caffeinated drinks, but it’s considered to be a superfood for a lot of additional reasons.
A study published in 2015 discovered that cinnamon extract should be considered to prevent elevated blood glucose, which would reduce the progression of type 2 diabetes.So, for those with higher levels of serum glucose, the study discovered that cinnamon actually lowers glucose and cholesterol.
Also, let’s talk about how cinnamon has been linked to reducing menstrual cramps and dysmenorrhea. This study published in 2015 discovered that cinnamon can be used as a safe and effective treatment for dysmenorrhea in young women. They added that cinnamon seriously helped with reducing pain, menstrual bleeding and other side effects associated with primary dysmenorrhea. The best part? Cinnamon alleviated the pain without any side effects.
Cinnamon can also be used as an anti-inflammatory since it carries anti-inflammatory properties. This study published in 2015 suggested that cinnamon and its components can help to treat age-related inflammatory conditions.
Avocados have long been considered a superfood and there are several reasons for that.
Hass avocados (the avocados with the dark green, bumpy skin) have been linked to several health benefits such as decreased plasma triglycerides and modified HDL structure, which was stated by this study published in 2007.
Medical News Today published in 2014 that having avocados might be linked to weight management. They spoke with Dr. Joan Sabaté, the researcher who led the study that discovered avocados are high in good fats and have the potential to regulate blood sugar levels. Their research concluded that”participants who ate half of a fresh avocado with their lunch reported a 40% decreased desire to eat during the 3 hours after their lunch, and a 28% decreased desire to eat 5 hours after, compared with individuals who ate a standard lunch with no avocado.”
Though, because avocados have been known to be high in fat, it’s worth it to reduce your intake to just half of one with lunch as opposed to consuming a bunch throughout the day or the week.
Salmon packs a lot of health benefits, which is why it’s been considered a superfood for so many years now.
Salmon has a lot of vitamins such as vitamin B-12, B-6, and vitamin C, and vitamin A.
It also possesses a ton of omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for our consumption. There are two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). With salmon being such a great source of these omega-3 fatty acids, it’s been classified as a superfood because fatty acids have been proven to have a slew of health benefits. A study published in 2012 proved that omega-3 fatty acids help regulate your arteries. Another published in 2011 suggested that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in autoimmune disorders as well as inflammatory and heart diseases.
A 2015 study published research stating that omega-3 fatty acids help with cancer prevention as well. They stated that women with evidence of high intake ratios of the marine omega-3 fatty acids have been found to have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
7. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes have a ton of health benefits.
One of the best things about them is that they’re loaded with vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and they’re a great source of fiber.
But, sweet potatoes have also been linked to helping boost your immune system (you can thank the heaping amounts of vitamin A for that) and regulating blood sugar. Neurotrition published a piece about the benefits of sweet potatoes and stated that “the vitamins, minerals, fiber and a special little compound in sweet potatoes help that natural sugar digest and release into your bloodstream slowly, for better blood sugar balance.”
The biggest thing about sweet potatoes is that they contain so much vitamin A.The National Institutes of Health stated that vitamin A has been proven to help regulate normal eyesight, improve the immune system, and help organs work normally.
Almonds have been considered a superfood for a long time and the reason why is because they’re packed with nutrients and vitamins that not only support proper health but have additional benefits such as fighting off skin cancer.
This study published in 2004 showed that an almond-enriched low-calorie diet improves healing the abnormalities associated with the metabolic syndrome. They added that the group with the almond low-calorie diet experienced higher weight loss.
Another study published in 2005 stated that almonds have been linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and they studied the effects of flavonoids from almond skins in relation to cholesterol levels and vitamins C and E. This study also found that almonds have the potential to fight skin cancer by reversing effects caused by unhealthy eating.
Strawberries are not only delicious but they’re big on health benefits as well!
These berries are big on nutrients and antioxidants and contain a lot of them that help to promote proper health. They’ve also been said to reduce risks of getting cancer, a theory that has beensupported by beatcancer.org. They stated that since strawberries are so loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that they can flesh out the toxins that contribute to cancer and rid of any free radicals that lead to cancer.
Vitamin C has a ton of benefits on its own like preventing scurvy, decreasing bad cholesterol, and can help you beat a common cold. This study published in 1982 also stated that vitamin C has properties known to promote healthy eye care. Given that strawberries are loaded on vitamin C, they obviously have tons of benefits which is why they’re considered to be a superfood.
Speaking of being hopped up on antioxidants and nutrients, spinach has similar benefits as it’s also loaded with vitamin A, calcium, and vitamin K.
Spinach is packed with a bunch of different vitamins, all of which have been linked to several health benefits. For example, spinach has a lot of vitamin K and that helps us with bone strength, can lower the risk of bone fractures. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a vitamin K deficiency can lead to an abnormal amount of bleeding. “Vitamin K is a substance that our body needs to form clots and to stop bleeding,” they stated, so it’s really important to get your recommended dosage of the vitamin in your body.
A study published in 2009 said that a daily intake of green and yellow veggies (which includes spinach) significantly helps with young women’s bone mass.
An added bonus to spinach comes from a study published in 2007 which stated that the major glycolipids of spinach had the potential to prevent tumor growth. “The spinach glycolipids fraction might be a potent anti-tumor compound, and this fraction may be a healthy food substance with anti-tumor activity,” they said.
There are several other superfoods out there that you can try for yourself, but these ten are among some of the more well-known and are bound to pave the way to better health.