If you look up the definition of a superfood, you’ll likely find something along the lines of “a nutrient-rich food considered especially beneficial for health and well-being.” This definition may sound vague. That’s because it is. There’s no official or regulated definition of a superfood. Even so, there are foods that rise to the top when it comes to the nutrients they offer.
Superfoods can help you get the most nutrition bang per bite. They provide more fiber, vitamins, minerals and/or phytonutrients compared to other foods. Though you may initially think of exotic foods like açai, moringa, maca or goji berries, there are plenty of everyday superfoods in the produce section. Since it’s winter and the start of a brand new year, I thought I’d highlight a few of the season’s hottest superfoods
This cruciferous vegetable has grown in popularity over the past few years. It’s packed with cancer-fighting compounds and is an excellent source of vitamin C. Enjoy cauliflower raw, simply roasted, in a stir-fry or puréed into soup. Jump on the “cauliflower rice” trend with ease by picking up a package of Sprouts Cauliflower Crumbles in the produce section next time you shop.
Haven’t heard of this one? Chicories are those bitter winter greens like endive and escarole or purple radicchio. They are a good source of vitamin C and may also help boost heart health. Use endive to scoop and serve a bread-free tuna or chickpea salad. Grill or sauté radicchio for a warm winter salad or toss it into vegetable soup.
Pomegranates are one of the few foods that aren’t always easy to find. That’s not the case in the winter. They thrive in cooler temperatures from October to January. Pomegranates are known for their antioxidants. A beautiful, sweet-tart addition to greens, smoothies and winter fruit salads, pomegranates are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins C and K.
Though pumpkin gets all of the attention in the fall, it’s not the only gourd in the patch. Roast or purée an acorn, delicata, kabocha or butternut squash for some variety. Enjoy the different winter squashes prepared sweet, savory, curried or spicy. With a deep orange to yellow flesh, winter squash is bursting with vitamin A (as beta-carotene), vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Bonus: Roast or dry the seeds and enjoy a protein- and magnesium-rich snack or salad topper.
Though matcha is available anytime you want it, this green gold is a warm and comforting answer to cold temperatures. Regular green tea is a popular healthy brew. Matcha (a green tea powder) takes it to another level. Because you drink or eat the entire leaf, you get more. Chock full of polyphenols, matcha is lauded for its anti-aging properties. Importantly, it may help lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Also, if you’re trying to stay focused on your goals this year, sip on this. Matcha is known to boost mental alertness too without the jitters you might get from other caffeinated drinks.
This list is not at all comprehensive. It’s just a sampling of the many superfoods available at this time of year. Put one or all in the rotation for a super new year.
About Marisa Moore
Helping People Eat Better One Morsel at a Time
Marisa Moore is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and owner of Marisa Moore Nutrition. Using a food first, mostly plant-based approach, Marisa helps people eat better one morsel at a time through group classes, writing and developing healthy recipes. She enjoys working as a consultant for small and large businesses including food and nutrition startups and being an ambassador for delicious food and a healthy lifestyle.
A past spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, Marisa is a trusted food and nutrition expert and has appeared in most major media outlets including the Today Show, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and has had regular appearances on CNN.
Marisa is a contributing editor for Food & Nutrition Magazine and U.S. News & World Report blogger. Before launching her consultancy, Marisa worked as an outpatient dietitian, the corporate nutritionist for a national bakery café restaurant and she managed the employee worksite nutrition program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Always ready for new passport stamps, Marisa loves to explore new countries but in her spare time you might find her cooking, dancing salsa or on a walk with her dog Biscuit. Learn more at marisamoore.com