When it comes to superfoods, blueberries are often at the top of the list. But there are many other foods that deserve the esteemed title of superfood. From green tea to salmon, here are 16 foods that may be worthy of the superfood title. DGLVs, or dark green leafy vegetables, are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
These powerful antioxidants can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes (1). Whether you enjoy them in a salad, as part of breakfast, as a dessert or in a smoothie, the health benefits of DGLVs are as versatile as their culinary applications. Green tea is a lightly caffeinated beverage with a wide range of medicinal properties. It is rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds that have strong anti-inflammatory effects (4).
One of the most prevalent antioxidants in green tea is catechin, epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG (7). EGCG is likely responsible for green tea's potential to protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer (7). Research also suggests that the combination of catechins and caffeine in green tea may make it an effective weight-loss tool for some people (7). Eggs have been a controversial topic in the world of nutrition due to their high cholesterol content.
But they are still one of the healthiest foods. Whole eggs are rich in many nutrients, including B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus. They also contain two powerful antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to protect vision and eye health (10). Despite fears related to egg consumption and high cholesterol, research indicates that there is no measurable increase in the risk of heart disease or diabetes from eating 6 to 12 eggs per week (1).
In fact, eating eggs might increase “good” HDL cholesterol in some people, which could lead to a favorable reduction in the risk of heart disease (1). Legumes or legumes are a class of plant foods made up of beans (including soy), lentils, peas, peanuts and alfalfa. Legumes are a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, proteins and fiber. Eating beans and legumes regularly can help control type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure and cholesterol (1).
They can also promote healthy weight maintenance because of their ability to improve feelings of satiety (1). Nuts and seeds are full of fiber and heart-healthy fats. They contain several plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may protect against oxidative stress (1). Eating nuts and seeds may have a protective effect against heart disease (1).
Interestingly, even though nuts and seeds are calorie-dense, some types of nuts are linked to weight loss when included in a balanced diet (18, 19, 20). Fermented probiotic-rich foods such as kefir have several associated health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, improving digestion and having anti-inflammatory effects (21, 22). Garlic is a plant food closely related to onions, leeks and shallots. It is a good source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and fiber.
Garlic is popular for its distinctive flavor but has also been used for its medicinal benefits for centuries. Research indicates that garlic may be effective in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure as well as supporting immune function (2). The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic may even play a role in preventing certain types of cancer (2). Adding olive oil to your diet may reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes (26, 27).
Ginger may be effective in controlling nausea and reducing pain caused by acute and chronic inflammatory diseases (29, 30). It may also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, dementia and certain types of cancer (32, 33). Studies show that curcumin may be effective in treating and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes (35). It can also help heal wounds and reduce pain (37).
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are known for their variety of health benefits such as reducing inflammation (3). Eating salmon regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes as well as help you maintain a healthy weight (40). However it's important to limit your consumption to two or three servings per week to avoid potential negative effects from common contaminants found in fish and seafood (4). Avocados are rich in many nutrients including fiber vitamins minerals and healthy fats (44).
Eating avocados may reduce the risk of heart disease diabetes metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancer (45). They are also high in monounsaturated fatty acids which can help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels while increasing good HDL cholesterol levels.