Sometimes it seems like virtually every food on the market has gotten the “superfood” label at some point or another. Obviously, we care a lot about what goes into your body, and that means also deciphering the difference between which superfoods are “trendy” (and not really all that great) and which are here to stay.
So, what’s a superfood, and which foods have stood the test of time to earn their spots as actually super superfoods?
First, some quick facts…
What makes a food a “superfood”?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to superfoods, but typically they’re high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they have several properties that promote health within a number of parts around your body. For example, one superfood may have vitamins that aid in heart health and also help you maintain your skin.
What are the biggest myths about superfoods?
Unsurprisingly, there’s some baggage when it comes to deciphering what superfoods actually do compared to other foods:
1. The point of superfoods shouldn’t be to get rid of anything in your kitchen that isn’t labeled as “super.” There are lots of foods that don’t have the superfood stamp of approval and are still extremely important for your health and well-being.
2. No single superfood will magically fix a particular ailment or condition; in many ways, they’re just awesome healthy foods you should incorporate into your diet anyway.
With all of that said, if you want to focus on clean eating and incorporate fresh ingredients into your diet, we’ve broken down seven of our favorite superfoods for you to incorporate.
We’ve talked about our love of turmeric before, and it’s easy to see why this Indian spice is one of the most talked-about superfoods on the block. Day-to-day, turmeric helps with weight management, liver detoxification, teeth whitening, and inflammation.
If that wasn’t already awesome enough, early scientific research also points to turmeric helping prevent colon, skin, and stomach cancers. It also nourishes the body with antioxidants and supports immune health.
How do you incorporate turmeric in your diet? You can sprinkle it on so many of your favorite foods — eggs, vegetables, soups — or add a pinch to your tea. Oh, and we definitely recommend our Golden Turmeric gr8nola.
Superfood trends have come and gone, but there’s a reason why blueberries have withstood the test of time: They really, really work.
Blueberries are filled to the brim with antioxidants, and study after study show that blueberries fight against aging, cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer; help with brain function; repair muscle damage; and so much more. And let’s be real: They come in very pretty, Instagram-worthy colors.
3. Beans and Lentils
What does pretty much every country with a high life expectancy have in common? They don’t shy away from adding beans, lentils, and legumes to their diets.
The list of things that makes these foods incredible is long: They’re packed with protein, fiber, iron, and folate, all of which can help with weight loss and blood health. And here’s a little fun fact for those of you trying to achieve gr8ness without eating meat products: Lentils in particular have more protein gram for gram than beef.
Just because vegetables are good for you doesn’t automatically make them superfoods. One particular plant that rises above the rest? You might’ve cringed eating it as a kid, but give it up for broccoli: It’s known for its extremely high levels of folate and vitamin C, which in turn can prevent various cancers, aid in heart health, and keep diseases like strokes at bay.
5. Cacao/Cocoa Powder
Fun fact: A little cacao in your diet (it has to be 70% cacao or higher, however) can do wonders for your heart health by lowering cholesterol, improving your blood flow, and stabilizing your blood sugar.
And who’s got that cacao fix when you need it? Cough, us. Our Coco Cacao gr8nola is pretty darn good if we do say so ourselves.
While many types of nuts are great for you (walnuts, cashews, pistachios, you name it), almonds are ranked high on the superfood lists for having potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin E. Preliminary studies have also shown they can lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and aid in weight loss.
Another plus: They’re versatile. Toss them on top of a salad, blend them into a nut butter, mix them into a crust, or eat them on their own. Regardless, they’re delicious.
You’ve probably heard of matcha before for its caffeine benefits (and because it’s what all of the hip creatives are drinking right now), but there’s a lot more to this green powder than meets the eye.
Why did we put it in our Matcha Green Tea gr8nola? In addition to being an excellent anytime snack, matcha helps with fat burning, skin health, heart function, and brain maintenance. In fact, matcha can help prevent memory loss and may even aid in preventing diseases like Alzheimer's.
Which of these superfoods do you already have in your diet, and which are you going to try out in the future? Let us know in the comments below!