What are superfoods?


ExplorerBob via Pixabay

ExplorerBob via Pixabay

Caroline Sharris, Feature Editor

Eating the right foods is an imperative part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and when discussing healthy food choices, superfoods are often referenced. The word “superfoods” may seem ubiquitous, floating around in conversations and appearing in health magazines. But what exactly are these so called “superfoods”, and what makes them so great?

Merriam Webster dictionary defines “superfood” as “a food…that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health”. While the term superfoods may be a marketing term, many of the foods labeled as such have important and relevant health benefits. Four of such foods will be highlighted below.  


A valuable source of protein, the popular tree nuts contain the greatest amount of calcium compared to all other types of nuts— there are approximately 23 milligrams of calcium per serving. Furthermore, almonds contain a high amount of Vitamin E, which helps to protect cells from damage.Sold either raw or roasted, almonds are a healthy snack option.


While cacao is one of the best sources for antioxidants— over 40 times the amount contained in blueberries— it is vital that it is purchased before undergoing a common process called “Dutch processing”, where one study showed between 60-90 percent of the antioxidants were lost. Only adding to its superfood status is the fact that cacao is packed with magnesium, which has heart benefits, and calcium as well. While the taste of cacao is more bitter than chocolate often sold in stores, the health benefits are clear. Cacao powder is can be mixed in to a variety of different foods, including healthy dessert options.


Filled to the brink with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon undoubtedly fits under the category of a superfood. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice every week because of the vital fatty acids. Omega-3 has been studied extensively and found to have a wide range of health benefits. Among them are playing a crucial role in brain development especially in infants, decreasing risk for heart disease and improving mental disorders.

Flax seeds:

These small seeds have huge health benefits, as they are high in omega-3. In addition to being low in carbs, flax seeds are high in fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels and normalizes bowel movements. Flax seeds are conveniently easy to sprinkle into a variety of different foods, only adding to their appeal.