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The term “superfood” is bandied around a lot these days, but what actually is a superfood? Unfortunately, they are not foods that wear capes and fight crime, although it’s not far off. What they are fighting are many of the health issues we face today, by maximising nutritional benefits whilst also being low in calories. Getting more superfoods into our diets can result in a wide range of benefits including fighting chronic diseases (including some of our biggest killers), healthier immune systems, encouraging weight loss, having more energy and more.
One of the key elements of so many superfoods, is the presence of antioxidants. You can read up on these amazing compounds here, but they protect our body from cell damage from toxins such as free radicals. In short, we need them, and these superfoods have got ‘em in abundance!
So, by knowing what foods are ‘super’ and incorporating them into our diet, we are giving ourselves an excellent shot at good health.
What Is The #1 Healthiest Food In The World?
The competition is extremely tough here. There are so many healthy foods out there, and all do good things for our health. But which food can be crowned number one healthiest food to eat? Really, there is no true number one, the diversity of benefits is just too wide and individual, but where’s the fun in that?
So, having scoured the full list of applicants, we have crowned kale as the number 1 healthiest food out there.
Kale has the widest range of benefits, with the fewest drawbacks when stacked up against its competitors. For us, kale is truly king. Read on to find out exactly why.
What Is The Healthiest Drink In The World?
Simple answer: water. Aside from keeping us alive, drinking plenty of water is by far the healthiest drinking habit we can have. It prevents the ill effects of dehydration, which can be devastating for our health – whilst having no calories, meaning it is great for weight loss.
‘How boring!’ we hear you crying, and that’s understandable. Whilst water on its own isn’t the most exciting, don’t forget that water is the basis for pretty much every drink in the world! So, it is versatile. Why not try adding some of your favorite natural flavors? Doing this can not only create a taste sensation but also adds further health benefits . Why not try:
- Fresh citrus fruits (full of antioxidants and can be a great fat burner)
- Fresh or frozen berries
- Fresh mint leaves
The 10 Healthiest Fruits and Vegetables
So, kale might top the list, but that doesn’t mean we should be eating plates full of kale and nothing but kale from now on. There are plenty of other delicious and versatile superfoods out there that we can add to our diet.
Kale’s closest relative is arguably a very close second in the Healthiest Food in the World competition. We all know the power of this leafy green from a famous, muscle-popping cartoon character, but spinach’s range of benefits is much wider than just making Popeye’s biceps bulge. This delicious green vegetable is high in beneficial antioxidants, and can lead to a significant reduction in cardiovascular risks. The list of essential nutrients it packs in is too long to list here! It is also versatile, affordable and widely available in many forms, meaning it is easy to add in to our daily diet.
Try these amazing recipes for new and exciting ways to get your spinach in.
Popular in East & South Asian cuisines, mustard greens are a lesser known superfood, but are by no means any less healthy. They are one of the best sources of vitamin K, which plays a vital role preventing blood clotting as well as improving heart and bone health. Other possible benefits of piling on the mustard greens are improved immunity and eye health.
All of that in a delicious green that can be thrown into stir fries, curries and soups for a delicious tangy hit.
We’ve already covered kale’s prowess as a superfood, but it’s so healthy, we are going again. And good thing too, as the list of health benefits is too long for just one mention.
Kale has an abundance of fiber, antioxidants, calcium vitamins C and K, iron and more. All of these are known to help prevent various health issues. Diabetes sufferers can benefit greatly from increasing their kale consumption, as it has been shown to reduce the production of toxins associated with high blood sugar issues.
Kale is also recommended for increasing your fiber and potassium intake, both of which can reduce your cardiovascular risks.
The list goes on. Kale contains chlorophyll, which can bind carcinogens and prevent the human body from absorbing them. Whilst we recommend reducing your exposure to carcinogens as much as possible, by not smoking and avoiding animal foods, some exposure is unavoidable. So kale for lunch can help reduce your cancer risk!
Finally, kale can even contribute to healthy skin and hair. Its healthy helping of beta carotene, means it contributes to maintenance of our body tissues.
Although we are writing about superfoods, watercress is so good for you it has even been given its own category of ‘Powerhouse’ vegetable, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A distant cousin of kale, watercress has been associated with lower cancer risk, as well as helping to lower blood pressure, both of which are major killers in the US. It is also set apart from other plant-based superfoods by it’s omega-3 content. These heart healthy fats are essential for preventing heart disease, another of our most prominent killers!
Watercress also allows us to take our healthy additions everywhere with us, as it can be added to our quick, on-the-go meals such as sandwiches and salads!
This version of the wonderful tomato is perhaps the most delicious and healthy of all. They are full of essential antioxidants that contribute to immune system health, healthy eyes, and lowering inflammation all over the body.
Perhaps most importantly, sun-dried tomatoes are absolutely delicious and go well in salads, sandwiches and on pizzas. Try this healthy vegan pizza recipe for a delicious and nutritious treat.
Artichokes rank as some of the most antioxidant-rich vegetables out there. They are delicious, low in fat and piled high with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, phosphorus and magnesium.
This impressive profile can help lower bad cholesterol, and increase good cholesterol, which is essential for reducing our risk of heart disease. Other possible benefits include lower blood pressure, improved digestion, anticancer effects and treatment of IBS.
These small but mighty green vegetables are a vitamin and protein powerhouse. A three-quarter cup serving of peas actually packs more protein than a one-quarter cup of almonds or a tablespoon of peanut butter, so be sure to add these little protein bombs into your after-workout meal. They are also a mighty serving of essential vitamin K, great for combating osteoporosis.
So, if you were one of those kids who squashed your peas under your knife to hide them from your parents, it may be time to reconsider this versatile little superfood!
Peppers truly are the versatile superfood. They come in all kinds of shapes and colors, all of which have their own flavors and uses. Color is so often nature’s way of telling us there is goodness inside, and peppers are the perfect example.
If you are cutting calories, peppers are a low calorie, delicious food that can be thrown into stir fries, curries and sauces or even just snacked on! They are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and potassium, with a healthy dose of fiber and iron.
Broccoli is part of the cruciferous group, alongside kale and other leafy green superfoods. So, it is part of an elite group, but luckily it lives up to that reputation!
For bone health, broccoli contains the dynamite combination of calcium and vitamin C, which work together to produce bone-strengthening collagen.
It’s also surprisingly high in protein, containing 4.3 grams per 100g. This may seem small but its extremely low calorie content means it can be piled high on the plate to maximize that protein content.
Broccoli is arguably one of the most delicious superfoods out there too. Try these nine super easy and nutritious broccoli recipes.
We were all told once in our childhood, that if we ate our carrots we would be able to see in the dark. Whilst this may have been a clever ploy to get us to eat our veg, it may not be as far from the truth as we think. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A which is essential for good vision, as it helps convert light into brain signals. So, maybe your parents were superfood experts after all!
As well as night vision, carrots also provide all the benefits that come with eating more carotenoids. These wonderful compounds not only give them their bright orange color but are also linked with improved immune function and reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative diseases.
So, we have covered 10 of the healthiest superfoods out there. In our view, kale comes in on top but really, all superfoods were made equal, so start piling your plate high with everything on this list. Particularly, be on the lookout for those, like kale, that are in the cruciferous group (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, bok choy, arugula), as this group leads the way when it comes to healthiest superfoods.
Another good tip is to always look for bright and strong colors when choosing your veg – this is almost always an indicator that they are full of healthful antioxidants, vitamins and plant compounds that will contribute to overall good health.
So, if before this you had a dull view of leafy greens and root vegetables, we hope this has changed your mind. Healthy foods can be truly versatile, delicious and exciting whilst providing all the essential nutrients and vitamins we need for good health, as well as being low in calories. We can’t ask for much more than that from nature’s bounty!Try Vegan