There is a relatively new and increasingly popular term being used in the food vernacular. We had “foods"; then we had “healthy foods"; and now we have “superfoods.” The question is what exactly makes a food “super"?
Although not all health experts seem to agree on which foods, if any, reach the status of “superfoods", most will say that vividly colored fruits and vegetables, along with nuts, seeds, spices and herbs could fall into this category. Most of these foods contain a category of substances called phyto-nutrients, which appear to have a protective effect on your health and thus, your resistance to disease.
Most nutritionists would agree that you can be perfectly healthy without eating any of these superfoods, but it certainly can’t hurt to include some of them in your diet. Adding a bit of turmeric to your soups or some blueberries to your breakfast cereal can only improve your ability to be healthy and stay well.
Here is a list of super foods that you may want to include in your diet:
--Caveat: Just because a food has been designated, as “super” does not mean that you should consume large amounts. If you decide to include any of these foods in your diet, eat them in moderation, as you would any food. In addition, if you are taking any medications, be sure to consult with your pharmacist or doctor regarding interactions.
The plant foods have it!
One of the areas of nutrition research that has really taken off in the last 40 years is the subject of phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals. The name gives you a clue about what these compounds are and their importance in a healthy diet. "Phyto" means "plant" and phytochemicals are plant nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, grains, spices and herbs, that seem to have a positive effect on your health.
In general, the presence of phytochemicals is indicated by the vibrant colors, flavors and aromas of plant foods. If you are eating a varied and colorful diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and spices, you are probably consuming an abundance of these beneficial compounds.