Despite what the term “superfood” implies, there’s no such thing as one single food with the ability to make and keep you healthy. The term sounds like a carrot in a cape or a tomato with superpowers!
The term has been around for a long time and is used to market specific foods and products. The truth is that a diet with many different foods, rich in varied colors, and minimally processed foods, is your best bet. No one food, no matter how many nutrients it contains, can sustain good health and energy for life. If you eat lots of superfoods, but the rest of their diet is less nutritious, the superfoods won’t make up for the rest.
Here are some foods labeled “super” and why that is so:
Berries are naturally sweet and high in fiber. Their bright colors indicate they are rich in important nutrients.
Fish is rich in protein and healthy fats, which can help prevent heart disease.
Dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, and fiber, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health).
Nuts are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease. (Note: Avoid if you are allergic!)
Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, and healthy fats, which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein, and contains live cultures called probiotics. These "good bacteria" can protect the body from other, more harmful bacteria.
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and collard green are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals that may prevent some types of cancer.
Legumes, a broad category including kidney, black, red, and garbanzo beans, and soybeans are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein. Studies show they can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Avocado provides heart healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats that may contribute to heart health.
I encourage you to add some of these to your regular meals. If you’re not familiar with some, give them a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Ellen Glovsky is a Key Biscayne resident, published author and Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach. Her work focuses on helping people explore and enhance their relationship with food, using a “Health At Every Size” approach. She is also involved in the island community with her work on KBCF’s Women’s Giving Circle. To learn more, visit nutrition-coach.com