Reading about the latest and greatest health trends means you probably happen upon the term superfood from time to time. But what exactly are superfoods and why are they often touted for their health benefits? I hope to demystify and get to the bottom of all your pressing Superfood questions.

Per the American Heart Association, superfood is kind of a nebulous term. There is no set definition for what it constitutes, Superfoods, but it tends encompass a large group of plant-based foods, seeds, as well as lean meats and fatty fish that are rich in necessary vitamins and nutrients. Here are a few examples of common Superfoods you may already have in your daily life:

background-berries-berry-blackberries-87818.jpgFruits & Veggies:

  • Blueberries, alongside strawberries and raspberries, are a frequently cited superfood, as they contain multiple necessary vitamins and other nutrients alongside soluble fiber. Plus, they been found in some studies to decrease the risk factors for heart disease in women.
  • Spinach, kale, cabbage and Swiss chard are dark leafy green sources of calcium, fiber and iron, as well as a source of antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K.

salmon-dish-food-meal-46239.jpgProtein:

  • Fatty fish like salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to help protect against risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
  • Nuts like almonds and pistachios are excellent sources of protein and potassium, whereas chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and iron.
  • Beans and quinoa also offer excellent sources of protein coupled with fiber and antioxidants, among other nutrients

While these superfoods are packed with nutrients and vitamins, some of their other claims are a little suspect. They often boast health benefits like slowing the aging process and promoting weight loss, but they are not really supported by any testable scientific evidence. Even so, consuming them in moderation shouldn’t have any negative side-effects and can help you vary up your diet. As part of a healthy diet, you can’t go wrong with incorporating superfoods into your life.

To learn more about debunking fact and fiction about the benefits of superfoods, check out this article from the American Heart Association.