Quantcast
Food

Top 10 Superfoods of 2014

Superfoods were big news this year as part of the growing awareness that what you eat has a major impact on your health. We've written a lot about superfoods this past year. Here are 10 of the top ones you should keep in mind when you go shopping. Remember, this list is just the start. There are dozens more you can add to your diet, and we'll keep writing about them!

Superfoods come in a wide variety of types for all tastes.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. Kale as a superfood isn't exactly news. It's on every restaurant menu and ideas on how to use it in new and creative ways abound. But this oldie-but-goodie remains the most nutrient-dense veggie around. Raw in a salad or cooked in a casserole, it provides protein, iron, calcium and more vitamins and minerals than virtually anything you can pick up in the produce section.

2. Garlic has had a reputation for centuries as a food that can ward off disease as well as vampires. We don't know about the vampires, but it's been shown that garlic is indeed an immune system supercharger, an antibacterial that can help protect you from colds, flu and other winter bugs. As an added benefit, it offers lots of nutrients and few calories.

3. Tomatoes contain a constellation of nutrients, including the carotenoid lycopene, that are believed to be important in reducing the risk of cancer. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements in tomatoes provide a whole host of other benefits as well from reducing heart disease to improving the tone of your skin and the health of your teeth and gums.

4. There's good reason to make sweet potatoes a more than once-a-year-on-Thanksgiving part of your diet. They're packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant than can help repair cell damage, boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. And they store well so you can eat them for another few months.

5. So-called "ancient grains" are a disparate collection of traditional grains that have be too widely replaced in the contemporary diet by processed white flour. You've probably been hearing more about spelt, quinoa, millet and farro among others—and for good reason. They're a rich source of fiber, as well as nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B and even protein. And many are gluten-free.

6. You probably don't think of coffee as a food, let alone a superfood. And you may have heard that too much caffeine has negative effects, which is true. But it's also an excellent source of those essential antioxidants, outranking fruits and vegetables. Studies have suggested that drinking coffee can lower your risk of dying prematurely.

7. Tea is a healthy beverage too, with hundreds of healthy compounds including antioxidant flavonoids. They're essential for staving off the effects of aging, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's. And each type of tea—black, green, white and oolong—has its own set of health benefits, so mix them up.

8. Honey has traces of multiple vitamins and minerals that can be useful in boosting your immune system. It's believed that unrefined honey produced in your own region can help inoculate you against some bacteria and allergens. It's known as a soothing ingredient for coughs and sore throats.

9. Apples are such a staple, especially in the fall and winter, that they seem almost boring and passe. Lose that thought! There's reason for that old saw about "an apple a day ..." They're one of the most antioxidant-laden fruits out there, especially if you eat the peel. Be sure to buy organic though, because apples are often treated with pesticides.

10. Even some favorite indulgences are superfoods. At the top of the list is dark chocolate. Surprisingly, it's packed with antioxidants, minerals like iron and magnesium, and even fiber. Just don't buy the junk candy bars you see at the checkout counter.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

6 Superfoods to Keep You Healthy All Winter Long

9 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

7 Surprisingly Affordable Superfoods

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Global warming in Iceland. Getty Images

Arctic Warming Amplifies Extreme Weather Events Globally: Wildfires, Flooding Likely to Be More Severe

Warming in the Arctic is causing the jet stream, a belt of air held "up" around the Arctic by the temperature difference between the Arctic and warmer climates, to weaken and slow.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
DWalker44 / Getty Images

Tons of Plastic Trash Enter the Great Lakes Every Year – Where Does It Go?

By Matthew J. Hoffman

Awareness is rising worldwide about the scourge of ocean plastic pollution, from Earth Day 2018 events to the cover of National Geographic magazine. But few people realize that similar concentrations of plastic pollution are accumulating in lakes and rivers. One recent study found microplastic particles—fragments measuring less then five millimeters—in globally sourced tap water and beer brewed with water from the Great Lakes.

Keep reading... Show less
Science
Gorancakmazovic / Getty Images

Blotting Out the Sun to Save the Earth? Seriously?

By Jeff Turrentine

Science fiction doesn't always stay fictional. Space exploration, robots and self-driving cars are just a few of the modern-day wonders that once existed only as plot devices or fantastical theories. Our capacity for turning science-fictional notions into the stuff of everyday life has grown with each new generation of scientists and microchips, such that more and more ideas previously deemed too far "out there" are now actually here, or at least technologically plausible.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Flames of the Simi Valley fire ravage a Southern California mountain side on Oct. 29, 2012. U.S. Air Force / Senior Master Sgt. Dennis W. Goff

'Hothouse Earth' Co-Author Says 'People Will Look Back on 2018 as the Year When Climate Reality Hit'

By Jessica Corbett

Amid a flurry of "breathless headlines" about warnings in a new study that outlines a possible "Hothouse Earth" scenario, one co-author optimistically expressed his belief that "people will look back on 2018 as the year when climate reality hit."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Kodachrome25 / Getty Images

Roof-to-Garden: How to Irrigate with Rainwater

By Brian Barth

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day, a third for irrigation and other outdoor uses. Collecting the water flowing down your downspouts in rainstorms so you can use it to irrigate in dry periods is often touted as a simple way to cut back. But setting up a functional rainwater irrigation system—beyond the ubiquitous 55-gallon barrels under the downspout, which won't irrigate much more than a flower bed or two—is a fairly complicated DIY project.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
A family wears face masks as they walk through the smoke filled streets after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. MARK RALSTON / AFP / Getty Images

How to Protect Your Children From Wildfire Smoke

By Cecilia Sierra-Heredia

We're very careful about what our kids eat, but what about the air they breathe?

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Hero Images / Getty Images

Study: Children Have Better Nutrition When They Live Near Forests

Spending time in nature is known to boost mental and emotional health. Now, a new global study has found that children in 27 developing nations tend to have more diverse diets and better nutrition when they live near forests.

The paper, published Wednesday in Science Advances, provides evidence that forest conservation can be an important tool in promoting better nutrition in developing countries, rather than clear-cutting forests for more farmland.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Navy torpedo bomber spraying DDT just above the trees in Goldendale, WA in 1962. USDA Forest Service

Maternal DDT Exposure Linked to Increased Autism Risk

A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry Thursday found that mothers exposed to the banned pesticide DDT were nearly one-third more likely to have children who developed autism, Environmental Health News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!