You already know to eat fresh foods, load up on fruits and vegetables, and get lots of fibre. But did you know that you can really ramp up your health with minimal effort by including superfoods in your diet everyday?
Superfoods are natural, whole foods that are superior sources of essential nutrients — the ones our bodies can’t make themselves. They are the most powerful foods on the planet, and are powerhouses for the transformation to a slender, healthier you. If you are what you eat, why not be super?
Which foods are superfoods?
Many of the foods that you eat every day qualify as superfoods. If these five foods aren’t in your diet now, including them is a great way to start powering up your nutrient intake:
- Kale: This leafy green contains calcium and iron, and contains isothiocyanates that may help lower cancer risk.
- Quinoa: Actually a seed, quinoa is one of the few plant-based sources of all the tissue-building amino acids we need to get through our diets.
- Sweet potatoes: These veggies are orange because they contain beta carotene, which our bodies turn into vision-protecting vitamin A.
- Blueberries: The dark skin on these berries is full of healthy phytochemicals, or plant-based chemicals, that help with everything from reducing cholesterol to keeping our brains healthy.
- Raw honey: Honey has antibacterial properties and can help to soothe your liver and stomach.
- Other superfoods are more exotic or unusual, but with a little creativity they can also find a place in your diet:
- Nori seaweed: Sea vegetables like nori contain iodine, which is a key mineral for maintaining thyroid health.
- Cacao: This is chocolate in its purest form, and it’s full of the antioxidants that protect our bodies by fighting off damaging free radicals.
- Goji berries: Also known as wolfberries, these dark pink berries contain essential fatty acids and vitamin C.
Superfoods also include:
- Raw foods: Food not heated above 48 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit
- High-enzyme foods: Foods that easily break themselves down are easier on our digestive system, and that includes mangoes, pineapple, papaya and avocados
- Organic foods: These are foods grown without the use of unnatural pesticides and herbicides
- Fresh, local foods: Visit a local farmers’ market and taste the difference that comes with eating locally
How to choose the best superfoods
Look for foods with a variety of colour, texture, flavour and shapes. This makes your meals and snacks exciting! No one wants a boring meal that doesn’t taste good.
Focus on nutrient-dense foods over low calories. Calories don’t determine how many vitamins, minerals, enzymes or overall nutrients are in a food. Superfoods have concentrated nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and provide so much nutrition in every bite.
It’s also important to get away from focusing on calories all the time as a general rule. It can become obsessive, and you may loose sight of actually consuming good quality food!
Why to choose superfoods
- They make you happy
- They help you to actually lose weight because you will be eating foods that satisfy and satiate instead of increasing cravings
- They give you energy
- They help your body to detoxify
- They give you mental clarity
- They promote activity and weight loss
- They improve immunity
- They clear and brighten your skin
Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy is stemmed around whole foods. She is dedicated to providing balanced lifestyle choices through natural foods. Using passion and experience, she strives to educate individuals on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious.