Step into any supermarket and you’ll see thousands of labels shouting good-health claims: Whole grains! No trans fats! Essential vitamins and minerals! But figuring out what really is part of a healthy diet is getting harder and harder in these days of information overload. And it shows in the sobering statistics: 68% of Americans are overweight or obese—which is a big reason more of us are developing diseases such as diabetes, and at younger ages.
There’s no official scientific definition of a superfood, but it’s generally accepted that superfoods contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants, substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent disease.
To fight off disease, fill up on these nutrient-packed foods instead. Feel more energetic and even lose weight!
- Walnuts: Just 14 walnut halves provide more than twice your daily dose of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that’s been shown to improve memory and coordination.
- Brussels sprouts: They have more glucosinolates, compounds that combat cancer and detoxify our bodies, than any other vegetable.
- Acai: A glass or two of this anthocyanin-rich berry juice can boost the amount of antioxidants in your blood.
- Bok choy This calcium-rich veggie can protect your bones and may even ward off PMS symptoms.
- Steel-cut oats: Because they’re less processed than traditionaloats, they’re digested more slowly—keeping you full all morning long.
- Avocados: Their healthy fat keeps you satisfied and helps you absorb other nutrients.
- Spinach: A half-cup provides more than five times your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and builds strong bones.
- Olives: They deliver the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat you get in olive oil, but for just 7 calories per jumbo olive!
- Brown rice: It’s a top source of magnesium, a mineral your body uses for more than 300 chemical reactions such as building bones and converting food to energy.
- Edamame: One cup has a whopping 22 grams of plant protein, as well as lots of fiber, folate and cholesterol-lowering.
- Strawberries: They’re loaded with ellagitannins, phytochemical that may halt the growth of cervical and colon cancers.
- Sunflower seeds: A quarter-cup delivers half your day’s vitamin E, which keeps your heart healthy and fights infection.
- Asparagus: A half-cup supplies 50% of your daily bone-building vitamin K and a third of your day’s folate, it’s a natural diuretic so it banishes bloating, too.
- Bananas: They’re loaded with several kinds of good-for-you fiber, including resistant starch which helps you slim down.
- Sweet potatoes: Half of a large baked sweet potato delivers more than 450% of your daily dose of vitamin A, which protects your vision and your immune system.
- Blueberries & Blackberries: They improve memory by protecting your brain from inflammation and boosting communication between brain cells.
- Oranges: One orange supplies more than 100% of the vitamin C you need in a day. It’s also a good source of calcium and folate.
- Shiitake mushrooms: One serving (about ¼ lb) provides as much vitamin D as you’d get from a glass of milk.
- Salmon: Super fatty fish full of omega-3 which have been show to reduce heart disease and blood pressure.