There’s a reason your Instagram feed is full of kale salads and smoothie bowls — and it’s not just that they’re pretty. Those colorful fruits and veggies, sprinkled with nuts and seeds, are rich in nutrients that give you more energy and help keep your body in top shape.
There are plenty of nutritious foods out there — but some of them pack an extra punch. We call them “superfoods” because they offer so many health benefits with each bite. Here are a few of our favorites that deserve some love.
Pomegranates have a long and lofty history as a superfood and folk medicine, dating back to some of the earliest cultures. They make an appearance in ancient Greek, Hebrew, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian writings and mythology.
What makes this fruit so special? For one thing, pomegranates are loaded with nutrients, including vitamins C, E and K, as well as folate and potassium. But where they really stand out is their antioxidant profile, which outshines such antioxidant superstars as red wine, green tea, and acai.
Antioxidants protect against cellular damage from oxidative stress, helping to slow down signs of aging and ward off degenerative diseases. This makes pomegranate one of the best superfoods for healthy aging.
Pomegranates have also been linked to reduced inflammation in the gut, which can improve digestive health, particularly in individuals suffering from inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis.
Try pouring yourself a glass of pomegranate juice with breakfast — or, if you’re really ambitious, cut one open and enjoy the seeds, sprinkled on your salad or just by the handful.
This warm and sweet spice is most popular around the holidays, but it deserves attention all year round. A natural immune-booster, cinnamon is antimicrobial and antiviral, and has been used in many cultures to protect against viruses and infections.
Cinnamon is a fantastic source of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acid. It has also been shown to help balance blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, and is being studied as a potential therapy for diabetes.
So sprinkle a little cinnamon on your oatmeal in the morning, or spice up your daily cup of coffee or tea. You won’t regret it.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The buzz around apple cider vinegar has been growing over the last few years. Hop onto Instagram, and you’ll likely see your favorite health inspiration starting their morning with a shot of the stuff. They may be onto something!
Apple cider vinegar is probably most popular for its purported weight-loss benefits, which some studies have confirmed, although the effects are still being researched. Made from fermented apple juice, apple cider vinegar contains both fruit pectin and acetic acid, which have both been shown to decrease appetite.
Acetic acid from vinegar is also thought to change the way the body metabolizes starches, helping to even out the blood sugar spikes that normally occur when you eat. Blood sugar regulation is associated with weight management, while high blood sugar is associated with health problems and premature aging.
Now, you don’t have to go and pour yourself a glass of apple cider vinegar. Try topping your salad with an oil and vinegar mix, or make some homemade ketchup that incorporates the stuff.
So try incorporating these three nutritional powerhouses into your diet. They may not be as trendy as kale or goji berries, but they should definitely be on your radar.