If you haven’t already heard, superfoods are all the rage. They can eliminate wrinkles, lift depression, boost physical performance and if you eat enough, they can even add up to seven years to your life! Just kidding. Sort of.
Joking aside, what exactly are superfoods? Well, I’m about to rock your world, because, there is actually no official definition of a superfood as recognized by leading food and dietetic associations. Unofficially, a superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being, which is more than a little vague and inclusive.
Superfoods are sort of like Valentine’s Day. Their significance is blown out of proportion by benefitting industries. The Food Industry touts the many benefits of superfoods in order that we might buy into the fact that a single food can zap diseased cells and make us young again. And we, as consumers, want to believe that they can!
But, no single food or nutrient can cure all ailments, or compensate for other unhealthy behaviors. Instead of superfoods, we should think in terms of a super diet. A super diet places emphasis on a healthy, balanced intake; rich in protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruit. All unprocessed foods – free of additives and artificial products – should be considered “super”.
What would a super diet look like, you ask? Well, it would include all three macro-nutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fat – and be rich in vegetables and fruits. A super diet would also emphasize the importance of hydration, vitamin and mineral balance. If you’re looking to incorporate some “super” foods into your diet, pull a wide variety from the following list:
- Lean red meat (preferably grass-fed)
- Salmon (preferably wild caught)
- Eggs (preferably omega-3 and cage free)
- Plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or coconut milk yogurt
- Protein supplements (whey, milk or plan protein sources)
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.)
- Mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
- Mixed beans/peas (black beans, lentils, split peas, etc.)
- Whole oats
- Raw, unsalted mixed nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
- Olive oil (extra virgin)
- Fish oil or algae oil
- Flaxseeds (ground)
Nicole Cascio is a guest writer for Personal HealthConnect. She has her Masters of Science in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health from the University of Bristol, England. She is certified through AFAA as a Personal Trainer. She is also certified in SPINNING and BODYPUMP. Nicole is hugely passionate about all things health and wellness, with a special interest in nutrition. She currently serves as emPower Training System’s Nutritionist, providing nutrition counseling and leading nutrition support groups.