Superfoods are packed with nutrients that aid in weight loss and offer countless health benefits. Everyone knows that superfoods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts are healthy, yet many people tend to lean toward foods they feel are more appetizing or convenient, such as fast food, frozen dinners, and other less healthy options. The key to adding superfoods to your diet is to know how to incorporate them into everyday meals so that you can adjust to healthy eating and maintain a nutrient-dense diet for life.
Here’s a list of some top superfoods, along with creative ways to add them to your daily diet.
These tiny seeds are rich in fiber and packed with essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Use chia seeds as a topping on oatmeal, yogurt, and salad, or add them to mixes for baked bread, muffins, and granola bars. Chia seeds can also be added easily to smoothies and juices.Chia seeds expand in liquid and can cause stomach upset if eaten dry, so mix them into foods and give them time to absorb moisture before eating.
Beans are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and fiber to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. Make beans into meals such as chili or burritos, or serve them as a side dish with lunch and dinner. Add beans to salads to make them more filling, or turn them into tasty pasta sauces.
Walnuts are high in protein and omega-3 healthy fats that reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. These nuts are extremely versatile and taste great in many baked goods and nearly all salads. Include walnuts with almonds and cashews in homemade trail mix to make a powerful superfood snack you can eat on the go.
These juicy red fruits are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium, and contain four major antioxidants that fight off illness and cancer. Turn tomatoes into delicious sauces and juices, and use whenever possible on sandwiches and in salads. Slice up a few tomatoes on the vine, and season with pepper and Himalayan rock salt to enjoy as a healthy snack or side dish.
This healthy oil is high in healthy fats and antioxidants, and can be used in place of vegetable and canola oils. Use olive-oil based salad dressing in place of creamy dressing, and drizzle over chicken and whole-wheat pasta for the ultimate pre-workout meal. Avoid heating olive oil beyond its smoke point of 200°C (392°F), since this produces free radicals in the form of toxic smoke.
Yogurt is a natural probiotic that fights off bad gut bacteria to improve digestion and aid in weight loss. Yogurt is also loaded with protein and several B vitamins that boost energy levels. Eat plain yogurt with honey and nuts, and add to smoothies, dressings, and dips. Yogurt can also be used as a healthy alternative to sour cream. Just make sure to avoid yogurt that contains a lot of added sugar.
If you’re not a big fan of salad, there are plenty of ways to add spinach to your diet without having to feel like a rabbit! This dark leafy green contains nearly 200 percent of the daily value of vitamin K, and is high in B vitamins and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Serve sauteed spinach with meat, include in stir-fry recipes, or blend into smoothies.
This dark blue berry is high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants called catechins that activate fat-burning genes to accelerate weight loss. Consume blueberries in fresh or frozen form to reap the most nutritional benefits, and add to baked goods, smoothies, and salsas.
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Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on August 21, 2017