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Every couple of years, superfoods dominate conversations everywhere. There’s kale, the trendy alternative to lettuce and spinach. Perhaps you remember when quinoa came on the scene like gangbusters, or the acai berry.

no formal definition or regulation

But, did you know that superfood is not a scientific term, nor is it regulated by any government agency? There’s no specific criteria for what qualifies as a superfood, and no rigorous certification process as mandated by the USDA or FDA, as there is for organic produce.

There’s general consensus, however, that superfoods are dense in nutrients and vitamins and offer an abundance of antioxidants that provide nutritional and health benefits. 

what are some examples of superfoods?

Blueberries, a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and the antioxidant anthocyanin, are linked to improved heart and brain health. Kale is rich in vitamins A, K, and C, and is also a good source of calcium and of course, fiber.

Salmon, among other types of fish, contain those omega-3 fatty acids that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Almonds are a good source of protein, as well as vitamin E and magnesium.

are these foods special in some way?

Certainly, they contain a lot of nutrients, but superfoods aren’t magic bullets for your health. Plus, the danger is that people may fixate on so-called superfoods and either consume them in excess, or ignore other nutritious foods. Blueberries (like all fruit) contain sugar. Almonds are high in calories, so it’s best not to eat tons of them every day. Fish can potentially contain mercury.

It’s also important to get variety in your diet. Plenty of other non-superfoods are worth eating. For example, all berries are great sources of fiber and vitamins. And let’s not forget, any green vegetable is a healthy choice! It’s best to “eat the rainbow,” as they say. Be sure to get the whole range of nutrients and vitamins by eating all the colors, like red peppers, pumpkin, squash, asparagus, and eggplant.

superfoods or not, what’s the best word of advice?

You already know it – sure, incorporate superfoods, but more importantly, eat a balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins; and everything in moderation.

Sources: Healthline, Healthline

 

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