Ultimate Superfoods List: 30 Foods That Will Make Your Life Super Healthy
Time and again, plenty of people say that health is wealth. And that’s absolutely true! In order for you to be able to achieve optimum health, many health practitioners advice loading up on superfoods.
What are superfoods, you ask? Well, the most basic definition of a superfood is "a food that is rich in compounds, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients considered beneficial to a person's health."
Still a bit confused?
Well, it’s a fact that most fruits and vegetables are definitely nutritious. But then, you have your simple and plain fruits and veggies, and then you have these extraordinarily nutritious ones called superfoods. No joke. You can even find these amazing eatables at the top of the Nutrient Density Chart released by the CDC (Center for Disease Control ).
You see, superfoods don't just make you ten times healthier by keeping diseases away. They can also bring you other wonderful health benefits such as helping you maintain a healthy heart, slow down aging, prevent oxidative stress that could result in cell death, and just basically improving your overall health.
Curious what are these superfoods I'm talking about? Well, here's a list of the most nutrient-dense superfoods you may want to include in your next grocery list.
With a plethora of vitamins and minerals, watercress ranks at the top of the nutrition density chart with an amazingly perfect score of 100.
A pretty common vegetable in Europe and America during the 1800s, the watercress was quite a popular breakfast or snack for busy people. This peppery and mildly bitter superfood was typically sold at markets by children.
Watercress is also a versatile vegetable because it can be served and eaten any way you want---fresh, as a salad, steamed, or in soup.
Moreover, this superfood fights against DNA breakdown and blood cell damage. It can particularly suppress breast cancer cells because of the compound phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), which has significant anticancer properties. FUN FACT: Watercress was popularly called "poor man's bread" and was often sold in bunches by children. They were eaten in a bunch as they are, often placed inside paper cones. For those who can afford it, watercress was placed in between two loaves of bread to make a sandwich. A veritable breakfast-on-the-go.
2. Chinese Cabbage
Yep, this light green scrunched-looking Chinese cabbage is also a super vegetable.
Belonging to the cabbage family, this veggie has low sodium content, which means it can help regulate your blood pressure. It can also fight anemia and fatigue because it has a high iron content, which is responsible for producing hemoglobin in your blood.
On top of all that, the Chinese cabbage is rich in antioxidants, which can boost eye health and provide you with healthy, glowing skin. YOU SHOULD KNOW: Often, people confuse Chinese cabbage with nappa cabbages. But do you know that the nappa cabbage and the bok choy are just types of Chinese cabbage?
Chard is easily one of the best and most popular vegetables around. Why? Because it has a slew of amazing health benefits. It can boost one's brain function, strengthen one's bones, and help regulate blood circulation. It can also help regulate one's blood sugar because of its syringic acid content.
And despite its slightly salty and bitter flavor, chard is a definitely sweet treat for your health. STORING TIP: Never wash your chards before storing them in the fridge because this might cause spoilage. Your chards will stay fresh for about five days if you do this. Simply put them in plastic bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as you can, before putting them in the fridge.
4. Beet Greens
For those who are perpetually concerned about their diet, go eat beet greens.
Beet greens have very low caloric content, only 27 calories per 100 grams. These vibrant veggies are one of the highly recommended greens for many health diets because they have low fat and no cholesterol. However, beet greens do have more than an ample amount of essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, it belongs in the top 5 most nutrient-dense foods in the world, according to a research done at William Paterson University and published in the CDC journal on June 2014.
And for clarification, beet greens are the leafy parts of the beet plant while the fleshy part at the roots are called beetroots. DID YOU KNOW? You can use beet greens interchangeably with spinach for green smoothies. This is because its mild flavor can actually blend well with most fruits.
5. SpinachSpinach is another popular superfood that can be easily found in markets today. Like beet and chard, it is low in fat and cholesterol. However, it is a particularly good source of zinc and niacin (vitamin B3). Together with all the other essential vitamins and minerals, most of which act as antioxidants, spinach can efficiently protect the body from harmful free radicals. These "free radicals" are among the top causes of various health problems today. FUN FACT: Cooked spinach actually has more nutrients than raw ones. Why? Because cooked spinach contains a bit more iron and vitamins A, K, B2, and B6.
I'm sure a lot of you aren't familiar with chicory. It's actually a flowering plant used mainly for its roots. You see, mixing chicory root in coffee was oncevery popular in France during a coffee shortage. And up to now, people still practice this, most especially in New Orleans.
Chicory contains plenty of essential micronutrients such as vitamins A and K. It is also both a digestive and diuretic, although it doesn't actually have caffeine. In fact, you'll get a happy tummy with chicory because it has the ability to support probiotics as it contains inulin, a prebiotic that is vital for your gut health. PRECAUTION: Chicory inudces menstruation in most women. Due to this, pregnant women should not take more than a cup of chicory coffee because it might lead to a miscarriage.
7. Green Leaf Lettuce
Green Leaf lettuce contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, K, and B vitamins, along with a number of essential minerals. And amazingly, it also has protein and calcium.
What are some of its health benefits exactly? Well, it can significantly aid brain function as it is rich in dietary nitrate, which helps prevent deterioration of brain cells.
Also, when you are having insomnia attacks, leaf lettuce can help you get that much-needed shut-eye as it has sleep-inducing properties. It also has analgesic properties, which means it can help relieve pain. WARNING: Green Leaf lettuce may have the tendency to spark food allergies, especially if you already have some known allergies. It would be best to do a skin pricking test before you eat lettuce for the first time.
Although it is best known as a garnish, parsley is certainly more than meets the eye!
Parsley is one superfood that is very rich in vitamins K (with 554%) and A. In addition to that, it also contains dietary fiber and the minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. In fact, it contains more iron than spinach.
Parsley promotes kidney health. It also helps relieve rheumatoid arthritis, prevents diabetes, promotes better digestion, and it is even a natural breath freshener. DID YOU KNOW? In Greek mythology, parsley is often associated with death. It is believed to have originally sprouted from the blood of a baby prince named Opheltes (later became Archemorus), who was bitten by some serpent (snake or dragon) and died. It is also associated with the goddess of the underworld Persephone and Greeks often scatter sprigs of parsley over graves during funeral rites.
Alfalfa sprouts are quite popular in many vegan and vegetarian restaurants dotting the United States. They're usually found in sandwiches, salads, and even soups.
And if you must know, alfalfa is extremely healthy. It's been called the king of all foods because it is high in protein, amino acids, and essential vitamins and minerals.
What are some of its health benefits? Well, it can lower cholesterol levels, ease menopause symptoms, helps with clotting and thus prevent excessive bleeding, helps with kidney issues, and improves digestion, just to name a few. DID YOU KNOW? Alfalfa is the fourth most widely cultivated crop in the United States.
10. Romaine Lettuce
Have you been feeling some aches and pain lately? If you are, then you might want to replace your usual salad greens with some romaine lettuce. Why? Because romaine lettuce, like other lettuces, has analgesic properties, which effectively relieves pain.
Romaine lettuce is also very low in calories, but is high in water content, which makes it perfect for when you're in a diet. In addition to that, it is also rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate, all of which are great for boosting heart health. FAST FACT: The milky extract of all kinds of lettuce is called lactucarium. This is what gives lettuce its bitter taste and gives it its sedative and analgesic properties.
11. Collard Greens
Probably one of the most underrated greens in many kitchens, these veggies are cousins of the broccoli and the recently popular kale. And much like its relatives, it can offer you a ton of health benefits, one of which is its anti-cancer properties.
Aside from that, these Southern faves are also rich in manganese, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, K, and some B vitamins. Not only does it have tons of antioxidants, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties. So it doesn't just detoxify the body of toxins and free radicals but it can also relieve all sorts of inflammation.
In order to get most of its nutrients, the best way to cook collard greens is to steam them up. FUN FACT: Did you know that there is a song entitled "Collard Greens"? In the year 2014, Schoolboy Q sings the song together with Kendrick Lamar. In an interview, Schoolboy Q said collard greens meant "money" in the song.
12. Turnip Greens
Turnip greens is another one of the healthiest superfoods because of its high antioxidant content, particularly glucosinolate. They are also high in vitamins A, B6, C, and E.
With turnip greens, one can expect to not only fight cancer, but also improve eyesight, prevent heart diseases, and help maintain strong bones. HOW TO SERVE TURNIP GREENS: The greens can be steamed (just like spinach), or you can add them raw to a salad.
13. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens offer an extra kick with its peppery flavor.
But more than that, it is rich in antioxidants, which acts as a detoxifier. Mustard greens are just like spinach, but only with a stronger flavor. Unlike other superfoods though, mustard greens are safe for pregnant women. In fact, they are great for pregnancy because they are very rich in vitamin K, which helps blood to clot.
They're also very good for the skin. Why? Because they can cut down excess sebum production, which means they're effective in preventing acne. SERVING TIP: Use mature mustard greens with some stem because it has a stronger taste and contains lesser water.
Here's another superfood that's extremely popular the past few years—wheatgrass.
What is this superfood? Well, wheatgrass is technically tiny first shoots of the wheat plant. But unlike the mature wheat plant, it does not only have fiber but also boasts a ton of other micronutrients that are highly beneficial for the body. It is rich in chlorophyll, along with antioxidants, amino acids, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
same circumference as that of a typical pencIn fact, wheatgrass can help you... lose weight the healthy way, have good digestion, deal with stress and fatigue, have healthier skin, and plenty more. FUN FACT: Even though the word "wheat" is in the name, wheatgrass is totally gluten-free. And it is often available in juice or powder form.
Often confused with spring onions, the chive is an herb that looks a lot like grass with purple flowers. It is often one-foot in height, with each blade having the same circumference as that of a typical pencil. Chives are very low in calories, cholesterol, and sodium, but high in nutrients. They contain high amounts of dietary fiber, thiamine, pantothenic acid, niacin, zinc, phosphorus, riboflavin, folate, calicum, and vitamins A, C, and K.
This superfood can protect you from mouth and lung cancers, prevent neural tube defects in newborns, soothe upset stomachs, and lower blood pressure. FUN FACT: Did you know that Romanian gypsies used chives in fortune-telling? And they even hung garlands of chives in their homes to shoo away evil spirits.
Well, kale is probably the most famous one among all the superfoods listed here. Others consider it as the "King of all greens" because of all its highly beneficial nutrients. But in the nutrient density chart, kale actually only has a score of 49.07.
Despite this, however, just one serving of kale is equivalent already to a week's worth of recommended nutrients. Yep, that's right! It is still a highly nutritious superfood compared to other fruits and vegetables.
On top of all that healthy goodness, kale can effectively fight inflammation, naturally detoxify the body, promote heart health, promote brain development in newborns, improve vision, and help prevent certain cancers. KALE SNACK: You can actually make your own kale chips by baking them. Simply brush each leaf with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some bit of rock salt, and bake for about 10 minutes on each side.
Here's another superfood that I'm sure you must have heard about in passing. Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater algae that boasts a ton of micronutrients. It has plenty of essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, nucleic acids, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals.
This nutritious algae can boost the body's immune system, protect and improve eyesight, help with gastrointestinal issues, relieve the effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and fully detoxify the body. DID YOU KNOW? After World War II, researchers were considering chlorella as a possible food source to remedy shortages due to its high nutrition content.
18. Greek Yogurt
Know what's the best snack for one who wishes to lose weight and gain more nutrients? These creamy yogurts will do.
Yogurts are probiotics, which means that each serving aids your digestion. It can even be a healthy substitute for mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream.
Moreover, yogurt is very rich in calcium, giving women more than their recommended daily need. It also contains more protein than regular yogurts. FAST FACT: There is a difference between Greek and Bulgarian yogurt. Greek yogurt has a thick, rich, and creamy texture while Bulgarian yogurt is not. In Bulgaria, however, they use yogurt as much Americans use ketchup.
This is a favorite fruit of many people. But not only are blueberries a treat to the palate, but they're also quite the health food.
You see, blueberries are a good source of vitamins C and K as well as manganese. They also have good carbs and dietary fiber. And they have the antioxidants such as anthocyanins, quercetin, and myricetin. Collectively, these antioxidants can reduce the risk of heart diseases, helps lower blood pressure, and helps prevent diabetes and certain cancers.
On top of that, these dark berries are very good for skin health and can even prevent urinary tract infections.
No wonder blueberries are part of our superfoods list. WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT? The anthocyanins in blueberries not only guard our bodies against diabetes, they can also speed up our metabolism. This is why eating blueberries can definitely help you lose that excess weight.
20. Acai Berries
This superfood is actually not that common. However, its popularity has been growing exponentially the past few years. The acai berry has numerous medicinal properties and has been used by natives in South America since ancient times.
It improves heart health, stimulates weight loss, helps with digestion, and boosts brain function. FUN FACT: The name "acai" is actually from the name of an Amazon girl, who was the daughter of a tribal chief. Her name was Iaca, and this fruit is that name spelled backwards.
21. Dark Chocolate
Who says chocolates can't be part of our superfoods? That's right, I said chocolate... specifically, dark chocolate.
This cacao bean confection is rich in flavonoids that can help lower blood pressure and regulate blood circulation in the body. On top of that, it also promotes heart health, boosts brain function, and reduces the risk of several types of cancer. FAST FACT: The darker the chocolate, the less sugar and milk it has, thus, the healthier it is.
Salmon is one of the superfoods that can definitely give you a healthy heart!
With its high dose of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Plus, there's no need to constantly apply sunscreen lotions when standing under the heat of the sun. Why? Because salmon has anti-inflammatory properties and it can boost your skin's natural protective shield against the damaging effects of UV rays. SAY WHAT? Centuries ago, the word "salmon" was originally spelled without the letter "L" because it came from the French word saumon. The spelling was later changed to include the letter "l" but the French pronunciation remained, which is why it's still pronounced as "sah-mon".
Flaxseed is a crop originally from the Middle East. It's one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world and has been around as early as 3,000 BC.
It is rich in lignans, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
So what are the flaxseed's health benefits? Well, there are plenty. It can prevent heart diseases, combat cancer, improve skin conditions, and effectively help with gastrointestinal issues. ITS OWN COUNCIL: Plenty of people hold flaxseed in high regard. In fact, in Canada, they have a national organization named the Flax Council of Canada.
24. Chia Seeds
Now, don't let their tiny size fool you. These little seeds pack quite a punch when it comes to health benefits.
Not only do they aid in weight loss by removing excess water from your body, chia seeds can also prevent you from having tartar and bad breath with its calcium and zinc. It is also a good source of protein and fiber.
The word chia in ancient Mayan means "strength." Ancient Mayans believed that anyone who eats chia seeds becomes stronger and will have supernatural powers. SPA TREATMENT WITH CHIA: Want some homemade beauty treatment? Aside from adding chia to your diet, you can use chia to create your own DIY body scrub. It is great for exfoliating the skin.
25. Bee Pollen
Bee pollen, like the other superfoods in this list, has tons of health benefits. In fact, according to the German Federal Board of Health, bee pollen is officially a medicine.
It contains protein, phenolic compounds, good carbohydrates, and a ton of vitamins and minerals.
Bee pollen can increase energy levels, relieve stress, help with infertility troubles, promote faster wound healing, and relieve certain allergies. SUPER POWERFUL: According to studies, bee pollen is the richest natural source of vitamins in a single food.
Eggs, which have been a usual part of many people's breakfast, definitely have a place in our superfoods list.
Given that it takes an average of about four hours to digest an egg, this protein can actually help you lose weight.
This popular protein source can actually help you lose weight. How? Well, it's because it has no carbs and no sugar, but it can actually make you feel satiated. In fact, it has a glycemic index of zero, which means it can't affect your blood sugar levels. And it takes an average of about four hours to digest an entire egg.
You can also use egg whites as a face mask to help tighten your pores and cure acne problems.
In addition to that, they are also rich in nutrients such as amino acids, choline, vitamin D, and a whole lot more. DID YOU KNOW: To tell if an egg is raw or hard-boiled, spin it. If it spins easily, it's hard-boiled. If it wobbles, it's raw.
Apples are known to be the third healthiest fruit in the world. They are a very good source of fiber, and they contain plenty of antioxidants.
Apples can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and asthma attacks, and they can even improve one's memory. WHY APPLE? "Fun and spirited, and not intimidating"—this was what Steve Jobs thought about the word "apple" when he decided on the name for one of the leading tech brands of today.
You probably heard of lemons as one of the best ingredients for detox water. And it's absolutely true.
Yes, lemons are rich in vitamin C. They are best for aiding one's digestion, shedding off pounds, and even boosting one's energy. It can also treat internal bleeding because of its antiseptic and coagulant properties.
Lemon water is best when you add cucumbers and mint leaves to it. It can help you cleanse your bellies as well as achieve that summer bod you've always wanted. FOOT BATH: Lemons can be also be a great foot relaxation treatment. Just squeeze some lemons in warm water and dip your feet in. Et voila, foot spa!
Avocados are known to have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain more potassium than bananas! The potassium in it can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
For those who wish to get rid of extra pounds, avocados can also help because it is very much loaded with fiber. SPEED UP RIPENING: You can ripen up avocados in just 2-4 days by placing them inside a brown paper bag together with a banana or apple.
Made up of about 92% water, watermelons can surely help you be properly hydrated. Plus, this fruit has a good number of electrolytes, which can protect you from heat stroke.
Watermelons also contain more lycopene than tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant that promotes heart and eye health, keeps bones strong, boosts brain function, and prevents various cancers. DID YOU KNOW? During ancient times, Egyptians left watermelons in tombs as a source of water and nourishment for the dead on their long journey to the afterlife.
And there you go... a fine selection of superfoods carefully handpicked for you! These superfoods are sure to have you covered, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. So if you want to achieve overall good health, go ahead and stock up on these amazing eatables today!
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