Every day it seems that there are news reports about the next big “superfood,” those nutrition-dense foods that have been shown to provide a wealth of health benefits. It can be hard to keep up with the latest and greatest new superfoods we should be consuming. March is National Nutrition Month®, and this year’s theme is “Go Further with Food.” So in honor of this month created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we’ve listed a few vitamin-packed foods that many experts agree are indeed “superfoods.”
If you love seafood, salmon is a superfood you should definitely incorporate into your diet. Salmon is a source of easily digestible protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known as the good types of fat and have been shown to promote heart health by helping reduce cholesterol. Research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce inflammation. In addition, salmon is packed with essential minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and the vitamins A, B and D.
Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are a fantastic source of fiber. They are also one of best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids so they can be especially beneficial for vegans and vegetarians.
There are many ways you can incorporate flaxseeds into your diet. Add them to protein shakes, yogurt, salads, muffin recipes, cereal and more.
Sweet potatoes are more than just a favorite Thanksgiving side dish, they are also a sweet and delicious superfood.
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber which can aid in digestion. They are also rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant, which can help boost the immune system. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A and also contain vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and B-complex vitamins.
And in case you were wondering – sweet potatoes are not the same as yams. People often confuse the two tubers but yams are actually much larger than sweet potatoes and are less nutritious. In the United States, many vegetables that are called yams are really sweet potatoes. True yams are not that readily available in the average American grocery store.
We knew it all along – relaxing with a glass of red wine at dinner is good for you. Red wine, listed as one of Dr. Oz’s favorite superfoods, contains resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Research has also shown that red wine could reduce your risk of getting cancer. Don’t drink alcohol? You can drink grape juice or take a resveratrol supplement.
Eggs are a nutrient-dense superfood that delivers a host of health benefits. Eggs are a superb low-calorie source of protein. In fact, eggs contain a whopping 18 amino acids, including all of the nine essential ones that can only be obtained through diet: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Eggs are also loaded with vitamins D and B12, as well as selenium, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin. Selenium has been shown to boost the immune system. Choline is an essential nutrient that plays a role in brain development, nerve and liver function, and metabolism. Lutein and zeaxanthin have protective qualities for the eyes.
Eat guacamole guilt-free! Avocados are considered a superfood due primarily to their robust amounts of oleic acid, the monounsaturated fat. This is the good, heart-healthy fat that can help lower cholesterol.
Avocados are also high in fiber and potassium (more than bananas!) and contain 20 vitamins including vitamins K, C, B5 andB6.
Blueberries may be small but they are chock-full of antioxidants that combat free radicals and play a role in preventing cell damage and certain diseases. One of the most powerful antioxidants blueberries has is anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is also in eggplants and blackberries and is what gives them their blueish purple color.
Blueberries also great sources of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
Chocolate lovers rejoice. Dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao can satisfy your sweet tooth and provide a healthy dose of antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols. Recent studies show that flavonoids may have cancer and heart protective properties. Polyphenols may promote cholesterol control.
Dark chocolate also has cocoa butter which contains the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, oleic acid. Read more about the health benefits of dark chocolate.
The flavorful garlic bulb has been used throughout history for both food and medicinal purposes. Garlic is low in calories but high in manganese and vitamin B6. Garlic also contains allicin, a chemical compound that is responsible for garlic’s distinct smell once a clove is crushed or cut. Studies have shown that allicin can help reduce blood pressure and is a natural antibacterial and antioxidant that can help boost immunity and prevent infection.
While technically a drink, green tea can be added to the superfoods category. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants and nutrients that have been shown to benefit the body in many ways and has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. Green tea is rich in polyphenols that can help reduce inflammation and has the compound Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which research has shown to have medicinal properties. Green tea also contains caffeine which can promote brain function and can also boost metabolism.
Ready to “Go Further with Food” during National Nutrition Month? Start adding these to your superfoods to your diet and get more from your meals — this month and beyond!
This blog is written for informational purposes only. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.