Garlic, broccoli, soy, peanuts and salmon: These were the top five super foods a decade ago. After 10 years of new scientific discoveries, which food stays on the list and which foods are the rising stars?
Top 5 Super Foods – picked by Dietitians
Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Nuts in general are also high in plant sterols and omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts. In March 2004, the FDA endorsed the health benefits of walnuts by approving its heart health claim.
- For more details, read Health Benefits of Walnuts
2. Flax Seed
Derived from the plant source, flax seed offers a vegetarian alternative to provide omega 3 fatty acid. Flax seed has been shown in many studies to offer heart-healthy benefits. In addition, flax seed also contain other beneficial ingredients such as fiber and lignan, a type of antioxidant phytoestrogen. Research revealed that lignan in flax seed shows promising results in fighting disease, particularly cancer. Studies show that lignan possesses anti-cancer properties. Results were most promising in breast cancer prevention.
- For more details, read Flaxseed vs. Flaxseed Oil
Pomegranate has quickly become one of the most talked about super foods in the past two years. Pomegranate fruits contain polyphenols, tannins and anthocyanins, which are all beneficial antioxidants. On the other hand, pomegranate juice contains high levels of antioxidants – higher than most other fruit juices, red wine or tea. Preliminary evidence suggested that drinking concentrated pomegranate juice may reduce cholesterol. It was further suggested that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice a day for one year reduced blood pressure (particularly systolic pressure) and slowed down low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) oxidation.
Many studies so far were small, thus more research is needed to fully evaluate the possible health benefits of pomegranate. Pomegranate juice is generally safe to drink. Most studies have administered a daily helping of 1.5 ounces (45 milliliters) of pomegranate juice with no significant side effects.
For more details, read Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
Salmon is a perfect food to substitute meats. It is a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. With more than a decade of solid supporting scientific evidence, no wonder salmon stays on the top five super food list! In 2002, the American Heart Association recommended eating at least two servings of fish a week, particularly fatty fish such as salmon. With increasing public concerns over farmed salmon, choose wild salmon. Most canned salmon are wild.
super foodsFor more details, read Salmon: Health Benefits and How-To
5. Dark Greens
Dark green vegetables such as kale, chard, collard greens, bok choy, broccoli, asparagus, green beans etc are packed with vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and phytonutrients. They are very filling, high in fiber and low in calories, making them perfect foods to keep your heart healthy and your waistline slim. The new diet recommendation made by the American Heart Association recommends eating at least 4 servings of vegetables a day from a variety source.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.