In recent years the term “superfood” has become a huge buzzword online and among those in the health- conscious community. While there is a general understanding that these natural foods are packed with important nutrients and therefore must be superior to others, hence the name, there is no real definition as to what warrants a so-called superfood.
Some common super foods are almonds, blueberries and the recently trending avocado. But there are many more, so where is the line drawn? A quick Google search of “super foods” turns up lists of 20, 50 and even 100 super foods that you “need!”
“It can be a problem because people can just put the label on anything,” said consumer sciences teacher Jaime Miller. She said though, that the term generally refers to nutrient dense foods with, “a lot of bang for your buck, basically.”
Miller recommends incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into a healthy diet through snacking.
“Thinking about your snacks is huge. They may not have very much nutritional value at all,” she suggests making one’s trail mix with healthy nuts and seeds.
Perhaps the easiest and most exciting way to incorporate a super food into a diet is through America’s beloved avocado. In recent years they have grown tremendously in popularity throughout the country, according to an article published on The Washington Post’s website. They’re easy to add to toast and sandwiches, but can also be used more creatively.
Food blog Minimally Invasive suggests cutting an avocado in half, grilling it and then stuffing them with herbs, crushed nuts and sliced baby tomatoes or sauted lemons.
Another unexpected way to use avocado is by making a dairy free, low card ice cream out of it, as suggested by buzzfeed.com.
“With the avocado you’re getting a lot of healthy fats, as well as a lot of vitamins,” said Miller. The average avocado has about 160 calories with two grams of protein, nine grams of fiber rich carbs and 15 grams of healthy fats. It is also high in vitamins K, C, and E, and contains more potassium than a banana, according to authoritynutrition.com.
“The key is to really pay attention to fats. You do need some in your diet but they should be healthy fats,” said Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center dietician, Lori Williams.
Another popular and easy to eat super food is the blueberry. Not only do they make great snacks, but they can be also be used in smoothies and popsicles, or to top yogurt.
“Blueberries are great because they pack a lot of nutrients into very few calories,” said Williams. According to authoritynutrition.com, one cup of them contains significant amounts of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K.
While incorporating super foods into a daily diet is great, they alone aren’t going to provide all the nutrients needed.
“Making sure you’re eating a balanced diet is the key to being healthy, and super foods can be a great supplement to that,” said Williams.