Fortunately, Americans as a whole are becoming more and more health conscious; many of us are taking steps to improve our quality of life wherever possible, and this is especially true when it comes to the kinds of foods we eat.
The ability to be selective has made eating healthier easier for us. The modern grocery store or outdoor market offers at the very least dozens of types of fruits and vegetables, and a variety of protein sources -- more than enough for even the pickiest of palates to find something tasty. We've come so far in sheer variety, in fact, that we can take pickiness to a whole new level and start being selective about which of the already high-quality foods we want to consume...
This brings us to the idea of superfoods, a term used to describe any food with high nutrient or phytochemical content which may confer health benefits. By definition, superfoods are calorie sparse and nutrient dense, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients -- nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.
Here is a list of common superfoods (and -fruits!), courtesy of superfoodsrx.com:
Apples are a powerful source of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as good source of fiber, and potassium. There are only 47 calories in an average sized apple. The secret behind the super antioxidant capacity of the apple is its skin. The apple skin alone provides two to six times the antioxidant activity of the apple flesh alone. So it is important to eat the skin to obtain the full health benefits of apples.
If avocados were only delicious and versatile, they would still be a treat worth serving frequently. Recent research has demonstrated that avocados also offer some surprising and powerful health benefits. One of the most nutrient-dense foods, avocados are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, top the charts among all fruits for folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium.
It's hard to imagine Italian, French, or Asian cooking without garlic. The big news on garlic isn't its ability to flavor a dish, but rather its considerable role as a health promoter. Indeed, recent findings on the power of garlic to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, give garlic the bona fides to elevate it to superfood status.
Spinach and its green, leafy sidekicks, are among the most nutritious foods on earth. Calorie for calorie, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Along with wild salmon and blueberries, spinach is an all-star superfood that packs an incredible nutritional wallop. Low in calories and jam-packed with nutrients, spinach should be a regular part of your daily menu.
Highly nutritious, low in fat, inexpensive, versatile, and always available, the turkey has finally come into its own. Skinless turkey breast is one of, if not the leanest meat protein sources on the planet. This alone could make it a superfood: but turkey also offers a rich array of nutrients, particularly niacin, selenium, vitamins B6 and B12, and zinc. These nutrients are heart-healthy and are also valuable in helping to lower the risk for cancer.
Salmon is one of the richest, tastiest, readily available sources of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for brain memory and performance, and behavioral function. By including wild salmon in your diet two to four times a week, you should achieve optimal protection against a multitude of diseases that have been associated with low intakes of these critical fats.