(NaturalNews) There is no specific technical definition for the term “superfood,” a word you’ve no doubt encountered when it comes to health trends. Generally speaking, superfoods are foods considered to have unusually high nutritional value or health benefits; many fruits, vegetables and seeds fit that definition because they are packed with nutrients and health-boosting compounds.
Linda Milo Ohr, who is involved with the Institute of Food Technologists, has developed a list of nine superfruits and super seeds you can use to add extra nutrition to your diet to improve overall health. She explains that these foods provide “health benefits that go beyond their nutritional profiles,” making them items worth enjoying on a regular basis.
9 superfruits and super seeds to add to your diet
1. Chia seeds
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are also a good source of calcium, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Milled chia seeds have been shown to provide more nutritional benefits than whole seed, and can be found in many ready-to-drink mixes.
Another well-known super seed is flaxseed, which provides omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber.
Flaxseed also contains phytoestrogens which may improve cardiovascular function. Studies have also suggested that flaxseed can reduce cholesterol levels.
3. Sunflower seeds
The ever-popular sunflower seed is not only filled with flavorful snack appeal, but also delivers plenty of health benefits.
They’re loaded monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants. They also contain phytochemicals which are compounds that have been shown to boost the immune system and can even fight cancer.
4. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are also a tasty snack as well as a nice addition to salads. You can roast or toast your own or buy them already prepared. However, to get the most benefits, it’s healthiest to eat them raw. Yes, you can eat raw seeds right out of the pumpkin.
This super seed contains protein, fiber and lots of minerals, including magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Thought to have anti-aging and cancer-fighting properties, blueberries have become one of the most popular superfruits. They have also been shown to reduce blood pressure and relieve arterial stiffness.
According to Tom Payne, industry specialist for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) in Folsom, California, “Consumers see blueberries as a value-added ingredient linked to heart
health, anti-aging properties, cancer prevention, improved eyesight, and better memory.”
6. Acai berries
These super berries are becoming increasingly popular, and for many good reasons.
Acai berries are similar to olive oil in terms of fatty acid ratio and are a very good source of anthocyanins, which provide benefits ranging from fighting inflammation and improving memory to regulating blood sugar levels and inhibiting cancer cell growth.
7. Tart cherries
Aside from their high antioxidant and anthocyanin content, tart cherries have also been found to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
When tested on a group of cyclists, tart cherry concentrate proved to be beneficial after strenuous cycling by reducing inflammation that was caused by the exercise. It was also shown to quicken their recovery time.
Aside from their well-known urinary tract health benefits, cranberries also display antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also a good source of antioxidants, and have been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular and oral health.
Avocados are a fantastically versatile food with a lot of flavor and many health benefits.
This superfruit (yes, it’s a fruit) contains a high amount of “good” fats (monounsaturated fats) which can help lower blood cholesterol and maintain good heart health.
These are just a few of the fruits and seeds that qualify as superfoods. Eating a wide range of fruits, seeds, nuts and vegetables is important for overall balance, whether or not they’ve all been classified as “super.”
It is a good idea, however, to include at least a few of the above-listed nutrient-packed superfoods in your diet and to take the time to learn about other highly-nutritious foods that can put you on the fast track to better health.
Written by Daniel Barker
Learn more: Natural News