Carrie Steinweg Times Correspondent
Some foods are healthy. But there are a few that are super healthy. There is no designated nutrition label or approved criteria for what is considered a “superfood”. And there is no fixed definition, but generally, a superfood is a food that contains a nutritional supplement, giving you an optimal dose of components that are good for you.
“Superfoods are not a nutritionally recognized category of food, which is why there are no criteria for a food to be called a superfood. When the term superfood is used, it generally refers to to particularly nutrient-dense foods, which means lots of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, for few calories,” said Kristal Twardy, registered dietitian and health coach with Franciscan WELLCARE “While no single superfood will make you healthy, incorporating these nutritious, nutrient-dense foods into an already healthy diet can help you get the most out of every bite.”
Include superfoods in a regular diet
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Many foods that could be considered “superfoods” are probably already part of your diet if what you usually eat is healthy. Many of these superfoods are rich in color, so if you’re trying to eat a rainbow of colors, you’re probably eating superfoods without even knowing it.
“Healthy eating is eating a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy/vegetable alternatives. Rather than aiming for a specific number of superfoods, aim for your plate to look like the rainbow and incorporate more real, whole foods. Include a variety of deeply colored fruits and vegetables, as this will help ensure you’re getting a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals,” Twardy said. “The important thing to remember about healthy eating is that variety is key, so focusing too much on one specific food may not provide the benefit you’re looking for. Eating a variety of healthy foods helps us get proper nutrition and not get too much or too little of a single nutrient.
Bonnie Kuss, Registered Dietitian with Methodist Hospitals, says to “think of superfoods as extra layers of protection for your health.” Consciously incorporating them into your diet can have beneficial effects on your overall health.
“If you can eat a different superfood at each meal, that’s great, but if you can’t, aiming to eat two to three different superfoods a day is a good place to start before adding more. others. For example, start by choosing one or two meals each day to incorporate two superfoods and you will have achieved your goal,” Kuss said.
A superfood here and there won’t do any magic. No more than choosing a superfood and eating it every day. They must be part of the whole healthy diet. “You have to eat a variety, not just one. Additionally, the benefits of superfoods are best supported in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle of stress reduction, avoidance of smoking, avoidance of excessive alcohol consumption, and moderate physical activity five days a week. said Kuss. “Also, to put it simply, dark red/blue/purple or brightly colored yellow/orange/green foods likely have superfood properties, so choose colorful foods whenever possible.”
“Adding superfoods to your diet promotes major health benefits, now and later. More immediate benefits include better digestion, extra energy, improved mood, better blood sugar control, reduced blood pressure and reduced inflammation or joint pain, and potentially weight loss. Longer-term benefits include disease prevention or delay,” Kuss said.
The nutrients in superfoods have different functions that can help your body in different ways, Kuss said. They include anti-inflammatory properties, immune support, blood sugar control, and support gut health, brain health, and heart health.
It’s worth trying superfoods that you may not have tried before. Trying a variety of new foods can introduce you to new flavors and textures and help improve the nutrition you include in your meals. Some that Kuss suggests trying are celeriac, millet, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, and kefir.
Celeriac is high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin D, making it anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy with immune support. Millet is a heart-healthy cereal with B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and zinc and is a good substitute for quinoa or couscous. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which promotes good brain health. Flaxseeds contain omega 3 fatty acids and fiber and help regulate blood sugar. Kefir has become more widely available in recent years and is similar to yogurt, but has increased probiotics and sometimes less sugar. It is also drinkable.
In the most common superfoods column, you’ll find foods like sardines, which are high in vitamin D, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids. They’re readily available and, when purchased canned, are long lasting conservation. Blueberries, spinach, eggs, beans, salmon, lentils, oats, kale, and collard greens are all additional nutrient-dense foods you may want to incorporate into your diet if you don’t. don’t already eat it regularly.