The 10 Top Superfoods: Health Heroes or Just Hype?
The word ‘superfood’ is thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean?
Superfoods are a category of nutrient-dense foods known to contain a high concentration of vitamins and minerals that promote health. Many of the foods we consider to be superfoods are linked to positive health outcomes, disease prevention, brain health and memory and more.
It’s important to point out that ‘superfood’ is not a scientific term, and its use is not regulated.
Blueberries are considered a superfood due to their flavonoid and antioxidant content. Because blueberries are a rich source of polyphenols, they have been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease. They may also protect against age-related deficits in memory, cognitive and motor function, and a host of other health issues.
Oats are one of the most accessible superfoods. They contain high concentrations of protein, fibre, calcium, vitamins (B, C, E, and K), amino acids and antioxidants. Oats can improve immunity, reduce cholesterol, regulate insulin secretion, lower cholesterol, help eliminate toxins, assist with weight loss, reduce blood sugars and suppress inflammation. Oats are affordable and readily available, so they may just be the best superfood around.
Chia seeds aren’t a fad. In fact, they’ve been around for thousands of years, playing a big role in the diets of the Maya and Aztecs of Central America. Rich in omega-3 and omega-6, proteins, phytochemicals and soluble dietary fibres.
Need some bioactive compounds in your life? These little berries are believed to improve antioxidant defence and the good news is that acai berries are jam-packed with health-promoting compounds. This is why you will often find acai in superfood powders.
Avocados are not only delicious, but they also contain a variety of essential nutrients and phytochemicals.
Nuts are nutrient-dense and contain unsaturated fat, protein, fibre, tocopherols, phenolic compounds and minerals.
Green tea is high in antioxidants and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. The most well-known of these is epigallocatechin-3-gallate.
This readily available source of protein isn’t just convenient and delicious. Eggs are also a rich source of protein, choline, vitamin A, biotin (vitamin B7), as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
Love a bit of sushi? Chances are, so does your heart. Seaweed contains minerals, vitamins, soluble dietary fibres, and flavonoids.
The Romans called mushrooms the ‘food of the Gods’ and the ancient Greeks believed they gave strength to warriors going into battle . They are not only a delicious and versatile food, thanks to its impressive nutrient profile, the humble mushroom is a standout superfood that has stood the test of time.
Looking for a Superfood Meal Plan?
Think oats with chia seeds and blueberries for breakfast, a healthy salad full of veggies nuts and eggs for lunch and salmon with rice, mushrooms and seaweed for dinner. Yum!
It’s important to remember that while these foods are great, they are by no means the only sources of these nutrients. It’s important to eat a range of whole foods including grains, veggies and fruit. To learn more, read our article, "13 Essential Vitamins and their Functions."