- Plant-based superfoods
- For the Love of (Super) Foods
We often hear the term “superfood” when talking about functional and healthy eating. Although it’s not an official classification, a superfood could be defined as foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories.
But are they all worthy of the title? And what are the best organic superfoods that you can easily incorporate into your daily meals to improve your health and overall wellbeing?
What Are the 15 Best Superfoods?
Nutrition expert Eric Edmeades explains the human body evolved to survive and thrive in particular seasonal fluctuations.
For example, in spring, when there’s an abundance of rain and hunting, our ancestors would focus largely on plant-based food and animal food sources.
When hunting wasn’t available, they would rely on fruits and vegetables.
Berries, fruits, and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients and vitamins. On top of that, in the summer season, when berries and fruit were available in abundance, they would prepare us for the dry and cold winter.
“Fruit and vegetables don’t fight disease,” Eric says. “It’s the absence of them that makes us susceptible to disease.”
No wonder most superfoods are plant-based. And if you’re curious as to which ones make it to the top of the list, here are 15 of them you can implement into your daily consumption.
1. Dark green leafy vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables are packed with folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and fiber. The best superfoods among them are Kale, swiss chard, collard greens, turnip greens, and spinach.
Berries are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. What makes them worthy of the superfood title is their antioxidant capacity associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions.
The best options are raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries.
Although nuts are calorically dense, they are packed with antioxidants. They can protect you against heart disease. It’s recommended to soak them overnight to neutralize the anti-nutrients that they contain to preserve themselves from being eaten by animals.
The healthiest nuts are almonds, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.
Like nuts, seeds are amazing plant-based sources of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia seeds, due to their ability to help promote heart health, support strong bones, and improve blood sugar management.
Turmeric is a yellow spice used for cooking and its health benefits. It contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects. It’s effective in treating and preventing heart disease and diabetes.
To increase its absorption, pair it with black pepper.
Mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for their therapeutic properties. Apart from vitamins, they contain natural components that support the human immune system. Some even promote better focus, memory, and overall brain health.
The best mushroom superfoods include lion’s mane, chaga, reishi, cordyceps, and maitake.
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, reducing and fighting inflammation in your body.
It’s also loaded with B vitamins, vitamins A and D, potassium, and selenium that improve immunity, both in the short and long term.
Kefir is one of the world’s oldest fermented food products, packed with good bacteria that can help support optimal digestive health and boost immunity.
It is high in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K2, folate, and enzymes, and is an excellent source of protein.
Best superfoods for weight loss
Avocado is rich in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. They also contain niacin, riboflavin, copper, magnesium, manganese, and antioxidants.
They are low in carbs and high in fiber to help you feel full longer. Generally, people who eat fruits and vegetables tend to have lower body weight.
10. Olive oil
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyphenolic compounds, both of which have been shown to promote weight loss, reduce inflammation, and prevent heart disease and diabetes.
It also contains antioxidants such as vitamins E and K.
11. Chia seeds
Chia seeds have been a staple superfood in the ancient Aztec and Maya diets. They are full of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
Adding chia seeds into your diet can promote heart health, support strong bones, and improve blood sugar management.
Due to their high fiber content, they can help you lose weight as diets high in fiber have been linked to weight loss.
Best superfoods for smoothies
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows in both fresh and saltwater. It was discovered by the ancient Aztecs and is now used by astronauts in space.
It’s one of the most protein-dense foods on our planet — a single spoon of it contains four grams of protein! On top of that, it contains B vitamins, iron, copper, and lots of antioxidants.
Acai is a berry from the Amazon rainforest. These superfood berries have the highest amount of antioxidants to help prevent oxidation and fight disease-causing free radicals.
They also contain essential amino acids, vitamins C, A, B, and E, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
Matcha is a type of green tea that contains all the nutrients from the entire tea leaf.
It’s packed with antioxidants, amino acids, and chlorophyll so it serves as a potent detoxifier and immunity booster. It may also reduce cell damage and prevent chronic disease.
Cacao is an antioxidant powerhouse as it’s the rawest form of chocolate. Unlike chocolate, its antioxidants aren’t lost in the processing of cacao.
So when you add it to your smoothie, you get all the antioxidants, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and copper intact.
For the Love of (Super) Foods
The more nutritious the food you consume every day, the better it is for your health. Choose what’s available in your region and remember: balance is key to your greatness.
Try these 10 tips to increase the intake of superfoods:
- Plan your meals in advance.
- Try out new recipes.
- Try replacing your beef or poultry with salmon.
- Drink green tea or matcha instead of coffee.
- Opt for dark chocolate (over 70% cacao).
- Add shredded dark leafy greens to your soups.
- Cook your meals with olive oil.
- Spice up your dishes with turmeric.
- Make a superfoods party dinner.
- Find a superfoods buddy and keep each other accountable.