You can’t turn around these days without bumping into a list of “Superfoods You MUST Eat!”, “top10 Superfoods!”or “superfoods for weight loss!”. They are everywhere but it’s hard to actually find one definitive list of ‘the’ agreed food – in fact that list doesn’t exist as there is no agreed definition of what a superfood actually is.
Believe me I’ve searched. Every source has its own list of superfoods so I thought why not make my own up too?
What are superfoods? Superfoods (or super foods depending on where you live) are basically foods that are nutrient dense in proportion to the calories – you get more ‘bang for your buck’ eating them and the combination of nutrients is thought to be especially good for your health.
My superfoods list
There are some pretty standard foods you’ll see on most lists and occasionally some exotic superfoods are added into the mix, like acai berries, goji berries, spirulina and wheatgrass.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all great, but can be expensive and hard to incorporate easily into your diet. Here’s MY favourite list of superfoods I eat most weeks (in fact most days), and why:
Almonds, in all their forms
Because, yum! Almonds are the highest protein and lowest fat of the nut family, but crucially the fats are the ‘good’ unsaturated type. They’re also full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are highly praised by nutritional experts. What’s not to love?
It’s delicious and versatile.Salmon is best known for containing Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart, but also have other health benefits as the George Mateljan Foundation reports.
Blueberries are sweet and yummy and can be made to feel naughty even when they’re not. Blueberries are huuuuge in the Paleo community and you’ll see them feature in both sweet and savoury recipes. I add them to smoothies or oats or mix with yoghurt or Natvia for a healthy dessert. Blueberries are full of antioxidants which is the main reason for the thumbs up they get from health websites.
Because it’s filling and just so damn good for you. Leafy greens are reported to be loaded up with vitamins A, C and K, as well as fibre, calcium and other minerals.Plus I love how the florets absorb sauces or olive oil – whatever deliciousness you’ve chosen to add to the meal – and become all juicy.
It’s just too easy to buy it pre-washed if you’re time-poor in the kitchen and add a handful to eggs, a stirfry, smoothie, salad, etc, for the same reason as broccoli!.
Because, protein, and because yum (again). Need I say more? Well ok then, eggs are obviously an extra source of protein (particularly the whites) but also are full of vitamin B2 (among others) as well as minerals like zinc (great for your immune system) iron and copper according to the BBC.
Healthy fats are all the rage now for good reason. Superfood smoothie recipes you’ll see online often feature avocado. Avocado can replace anything creamy and provided you keep half an eye on the calories they’re a great choice to add to any meal to pad it out a bit.
When I look at avocado I think ‘filling’. In addition to its fat content, avocados contain Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate, potassium (more than in bananas apparently!) and the list goes on.
Live Science warn of the danger of relying too much on superfoods, assuming that they’re going to be good for you in whatever form they appear in on your supermarket shelf. While there is some fact behind the popular marketing labelling, beware of the processing that might have occurred and corrupted those foods beyond their natural state.
Soy products (not on my superfoods list but do appear on others), are heavily processed and often genetically modified. Juices might have sugar added, and salmon that is unsustainably harvested or ‘fresh’ fruit and veggies that have been heavily sprayed with pesticides should also be on your ‘avoid’ list. Not to scaremonger but if we’re to live ethically as well as nurture our bodies, these decisions matter.
When in doubt, go raw. Raw food is unprocessed and as such is always going to have health benefits as well as being easy on the budget. Raw superfoods like broccoli and spinach are so easy to incorporate in to any eating plan it would be a crime not to.
So there you have my list of ‘superfoods’, that feature daily in my food choices. I would love to hear yours! What do you think I’ve missed?
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PPS. All images sourced from Bigstock.com.