(and Science-Backed Reasons Why)
Some foods are so nutrient-dense, so delicious, and so heroic that they warrant the creation of a brand new title: Superfood.
Superfoods, while maybe not heroic (well…actually) are the particular foods that really set the bar for health and wellness. These foods are so chock-full of positive health benefits, that adding them to your diet is one of the simplest ways to take control of your health.
Except for kale. Don’t get us wrong, it’s super(food) good for you, but we won’t lie and say it’s delicious. In fact, if you’ve found a way to make kale delicious, we are begging you to let us know.
Most berries, really. We are just highlighting blueberries cause they are so fun to eat. Like candy. But they are all good; raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, you name it.
Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, berries may be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. According to studies, the antioxidants in berries can help reduce stress and possibly even help protect against cancer. Likewise, the extra dose of fiber helps reduce caloric intake and manage weight. Blueberries especially are considered the king of antioxidants…not that we play favorites.
There’s still more. Berries are good for your skin, providing nearly 35% of the Recommended Daily Intake for Vitamin C, (among other incredibly important nutrients). And did we mention that they are so fun to eat? Especially blueberries. ESPECIALLY blueberries.
But that’s barely skimming the surface of this superfood. Additional studies suggest that berries may help lower blood sugar, decrease inflammation, and lower cholesterol.
Avocado, when not teamed up with Toast on a mission to take down aspirational Millennials (re: sarcasm), is rich not only in flavor, but in fiber, nutrients, and healthy fats.
With roughly 14 grams of fiber (about half of the Daily Value), avocados are extremely good for your gut, promoting the growth of healthy bacteria. They are also packed with antioxidant and neuroprotectant compounds like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotenoids. And, if you’ve never heard of carotenoids, let us explain: Carotene is an antioxidant that improves cognitive function, lung health, eye health, and skin health, and may even protect against some cancers.
Our favorite thing about avocados? You can add them to anything. Salads, soups, smoothies, toast, eggs, burgers, tacos, etc. We’ve even seen it added to a piña colada. So…sky’s the limit.
Although they tend to get a bad rap for being high in fat, nuts are actually linked to weight loss. Studies show that our bodies don’t necessarily absorb all the calories present in nuts, but we do get all those good nutrients and antioxidants, of which there are many.
In fact, just one ounce of mixed nuts provides over 50 percent of the RDI for Selenium. They are also high in fiber, almonds being the highest amount per ounce.
Nuts are also heart healthy, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke due to high cholesterol levels.
Overall, nuts are a healthy alternative when you’re feeling quite “snacky.” Their high fiber content keeps you full longer while feeding your body all those good benefits.
Ever heard of the Mediterranean Diet? Well, it’s like it sounds: taking your meals as though you’re in a coastal Mediterranean village, letting the waves lap at your feet while singing Mamma Mia.
Olive oil is the heart and soul of the Mediterranean Diet, emphasis on heart. Olive oil can reduce inflammation that can lead to heart disease. It also lowers blood pressure, improves the lining of blood vessels, and can help prevent clotting.
But olive oil might also be extremely healthy for your brain. A study with mice found that olive oil helped remove beta-amyloid plaques inside the brain. The build-up of these plaques is one of the key features of Alzheimer’s, the neurodegenerative disease. So although the science is not yet conclusive for humans, the data thus far is promising.
Whole Plant Hemp
According to the USDA Food Nutrition Database, hemp is actually–if you can believe it–more nutrient dense than popular superfoods like broccoli, berries, and kale–thank god. See for yourself, the list of nutrients goes on and on and on.
Hemp, although technically a form of cannabis, was actually made federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. And, being part of the cannabis family comes with its perks.
Hemp contains CBD, a patented neuroprotectant (this means it’s good for your brain!) along with many other cannabinoids that work together to enhance CBD’s positive effects. CBD is claimed to produce calming, anxiety-reducing effects among consumers.
Hemp is available in a variety of forms, including hemp seeds. However, the most effective method is to consume whole-plant hemp. If you want to experience all the naturally occurring benefits of the hemp plant, look for whole plant hemp vs extracted hemp oil.
Although it varies by type, mushrooms have the unique feature of containing antioxidants not easily found in other foods. These special antioxidants mean mushrooms are especially adept at reducing inflammation and may even prevent some cancers.
Mushrooms also contain plenty of potassium, Vitamin A, and fiber. And, as a bonus, mushrooms are grown using agricultural waste, meaning that they are a sustainable source of sustenance, which is a pretty special perk if you ask us. Not only are they good for your body, but they’ve also got the added benefit of making you feel environmentally tuned-in while you eat them. Look at you, caring about the earth and stuff!
We had to do it. We tried to ignore kale, but we can’t. It wouldn’t be right.
Unfortunately, kale is an exceptional source of nutrients. Zinc, calcium, folate, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin C, iron, eT cETeRa. One cup alone contains 684 percent of the DV for Vitamin K and 134 percent of the DV for Vitamin C.
Kale also has some of that beta-carotene we mentioned earlier, the one that improves cognitive function.
But kale isn’t your only option. Most dark, leafy greens contain these benefits. Spinach, collard greens, turnips, and swiss chard are all shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
This superfood is often overlooked. Turmeric is a spice used in cooking, but it also has several medicinal properties.
Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. These properties make turmeric highly effective at combating chronic pain.
Studies have also shown that curcumin might help fight heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes.
The only drawback is that turmeric isn’t easily absorbed into the body. One must be intentional when consuming turmeric for health benefits; pairing it with other spices like black pepper will help tremendously.
If turmeric isn’t a spice you enjoy, this may be one of the rare superfoods you’ll want to ingest in capsule form, like vitamins. Our Pain Lift vitamin combines turmeric and hemp, making it a super(food) powerful, natural remedy to fight chronic pain.
This gem. This wonderful, incredible, tasty superfood can be prepared in so many ways, guilt-free because a) you should never feel guilty about food, and b) it is so so rich in nutrients.
The name suggests that it might increase blood sugar levels, but that’s not actually a huge concern. Instead, sweet potatoes contain carotenoids–you know, the special antioxidant. Sweet potatoes can reduce the risk of some cancers and is full of potassium and fiber.
Eat them as fries drizzled in honey, smother them in butter, stuff them in ravioli, simmer them in soup…your sweet potato possibilities are endless. Thank the gods for sweet potatoes.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, merely some of our faves, with the exception of kale. But there are so many foods that are so good for us to consume regularly. Salmon, broccoli, seaweed, legumes, ginger, garlic, yogurt, eggs, green tea… These superfoods are just as important and full of vital nutrients. And with so many options, you never have to get stuck in a kale-only food rut.
Feeling Super Healthy
When people think of “getting healthy” they tend to think of restriction. But wouldn’t healthy living be much more enjoyable if we thought of it in terms of abundance? There are so many incredible foods given to us by nature. Rather than taking things out of your diet, move some of these superfoods into it.
Start small if you must. Add spinach to your scrambled eggs. Eat blueberries and dark chocolate for dessert. Spread avocado and a pinch of sea salt on your morning toast. And cook all of this in olive oil! The more superfoods you add to your life, the less you have to deprive yourself.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. And on that note, if anyone has any tried-and-true recipes involving kale, by all means, drop them below.
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