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10 Powerful Superfoods to Try This Year

Has conflicting information about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid ever had you second-guessing the dietary choices you make? It can be difficult to wade through the heaps of nutrition advice out there, but one way to simplify your quest for a healthy diet is to focus on superfoods.

What are superfoods, how can they benefit your health, and how can you incorporate them in your diet? In celebration of National Nutrition Month, let’s dive in!

What are Superfoods and How Can They Benefit Your Health?

All superfoods are healthy, but not all healthy foods are superfoods. 

That’s because superfoods are typically “natural foods that are especially nutrient-dense while generally being low in calories,” according to Cleveland Clinic.

Superfoods are often associated with benefiting heart health, a strong immune system, cancer prevention, reduced inflammation and lower cholesterol. These nutrient-dense foods can support your health because they’re often rich in:

  • Antioxidants: natural compounds that protect your cells from damage and may lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases
  • Minerals: essential nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and iron
  • Vitamins: organic compounds that are better to get from natural foods than from supplements

Superfoods may also be high in fiber, flavonoids and healthy fats.

10 Superfoods to Incorporate in Your Diet

1. Avocados

Avocados contain healthy fats, disease-fighting antioxidants, and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. They’re a great addition to sandwiches, tacos or toast,

and you can even incorporate them in baked goods like this sweet avocado quick bread.

2. Beans

“All varieties of beans are high sources of protein, fiber, and the essential amino acid, lysine,” according to the UMass Chan Medical School Center for Applied Nutrition. They can help protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and maybe even some cancers. From black beans and lentils to peas and kidneys, there are over 400 delicious bean varieties to incorporate into your diet!

3. Berries

Berries are among the top sources of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting nutrients, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Berries are delicious as-is, and eating a cup of them daily when they’re in season is a great way to boost your health. Frozen berries—which are excellent in smoothies—also provide the same health benefits.

4. Beets

Beets are high in nitrates which improve cardiovascular health, and they also contain antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties, are high in fiber, and include high levels of folate. Many people reap the benefits of this root vegetable by drinking beet juice, but they’re also delicious roasted and incorporated into salads.

5. Dark Chocolate

Yes, chocolate is a superfood, BUT it needs to be at least 70% cacao or cocoa. Read labels and find a chocolate that has cocoa, cacao, cocoa powder, cocoa nibs or cocoa butter listed as the first ingredient, and avoid chocolates that have sugar listed within the first several ingredients. Dark chocolate in moderation is a powerful antioxidant and contains fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

6. Dark, Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens, such as arugula, kale, spinach and chard, are low in calories and packed with micronutrients. Most greens can be consumed in many different ways, including eaten raw, cooked or blended in a smoothie.

7. Garlic

Garlic is an excellent source of vitamin C, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin K, and it’s easy to incorporate in just about any dish. Throw it into all your soups, stir fries, pastas and roasted sheet pan meals.

8. Green Tea

Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can consume as it can help support cognition, heart health, weight loss and cancer prevention. Most green tea contains caffeine, so experts advise drinking one to three cups a day for health benefits.

9. Salmon

This delicious fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, a healthy fat that may help reduce inflammation, reduce risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes, lower bad cholesterol, decrease triglycerides, and lower blood pressure. There are many ways to enjoy salmon, including pan searing, baking or grilling.

10. Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of proteins, calcium, B complex vitamins, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, and it’s known to help improve digestion, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, among other benefits. Keep in mind that yogurts with added sugar and other ingredients aren’t as healthy. Instead, opt for unsweetened Greek yogurt.

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