Superfoods is no longer a new topic or fad, however, some people may still not be aware of what they are. Thankfully, whether we know what they are or not, if you are someone who eats a variety of whole foods, you are likely already consuming several different superfoods on a daily basis!
So what are superfoods?
To put it simply, superfoods are foods that are packed with a high level of nutrients and beneficial properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunity-boosting; the majority of superfoods are plant-based, however, several are not (such as salmon or eggs). Intentionally including superfoods into our daily diet can assist our body’s natural ability to fight off many chronic illnesses that plague many of us today. Superfoods align with the belief that food is, among other things, fuel and medicine—something that can be used to help and heal.
Several superfoods have become recognized for having a specific healing ability, regardless of their many other benefits. For example, tomatoes are high in lycopene, among other nutrients, which can be beneficial in preventing prostate cancer; blueberries and other dark berries like cranberries and cherries are packed full of antioxidants making them a go-to for inflammatory problems, and turmeric is known as the cancer-preventing spice. To me, the power of food is so exciting; not only can it taste delicious and give us the energy to accomplish what we want and need to in a day, but it can also have AMAZING benefits for our bodies!
So now we know WHY certain foods are considered to be superfoods. Now, WHAT ones are considered to be superfoods? Well, there are many different vegetables, fruits, fats, and proteins that are included. The only thing better than including these foods in a variety of ways in your diet is by sourcing them seasonally, organically, and locally if you are able. By doing this, you ensure you are getting these ingredients are their nutritional peak and freshness, limiting the exposure they have to chemicals and pesticides, and supporting your local businesses to boot!
Superfood Vegetables: tomatoes, kale, spinach, ginger, garlic, onion, sweet potato, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, beets, seaweed, spirulina, chlorella, horseradish, dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards, cabbage, and swiss chard
Superfood Fruits: blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, goji berries, strawberries, raspberries, acai berries, golden berries, avocados (Yes! Avocados are a fruit!),
Other superfoods: chia seeds, turmeric, cocoa, eggs, bee pollen, royal jelly, salmon, coconut oil, cinnamon, sesame seeds, walnuts, flaxseed
Likely in part due to our busy, go-go-go society, people are eating processed food these days in excess. When we are always busy and feel we have “better things to do” it is easy to find ourselves in a drive-thru or picking up a microwave meal in the freezer section of our local grocer. The best diet we could possibly be participating in, though, is one that is balanced, colourful (think of a rainbow!), and whole-food; it should be full of fruits, vegetables, spices, good fats, and proteins. As some have said, it’s best to stick to the outer part of the grocery store and avoid the middle aisles. Don’t be confused by the concept of superfoods, superfoods are just great, nutrient-dense foods that should be included in your diet along with other healthy, whole foods. Like almost anything, even superfoods should be taken in with healthy moderation. It is possible to get too much of a good thing! Superfoods are a great place to start if you are new to the world of intentional, healthy eating, but keep in mind that there are tons of foods out there that can be an excellent addition to your diet, whether or not they “made the list”. The process of fueling our bodies and choosing what we consume should be exciting, not daunting!