10 Healthy Superfoods to Eat Every Day
Superfoods have a lot of hype around them, but they happen to be some of the healthiest foods to eat every day. While there's no real, quantifiable definition for superfoods, at EatingWell we think of them as multitasking foods brimming with disease-fighting nutrients that are delivered in a delicious form (think: antioxidant-packed blueberries).
But some super-healthy foods are a little too expensive or hard to find to fit into our everyday diets (ahem, goji berry) or something you'd likely only have once in a while (sardines, we're looking at you). We're all for trying new foods—and variety is important for a healthy diet—but we wanted to find superfoods that will be easiest to incorporate into your diet. After all, it doesn't matter how healthy a food is if you're not eating it.
The healthiest foods and diets out there focus on real, whole foods: lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins and fats, and limited added sugar and sodium. While there are plenty of other good-for-you foods that didn't make this particular list—like lentils, bananas and beets—it's a great place to start if you're looking to add more healthy foods to your diet.
So, here is a list of 10 easy-to-eat, easy-to-find, everyday superfoods that make eating healthy simple and delicious.
Pictured Recipe: Berry-Almond Smoothie Bowl
All berries are great sources of fiber—a nutrient that most Americans don't get enough of. Fiber helps keep your digestive system healthy and working properly, keeps you feeling full, and it's good for your heart. All berries are good for you, so be sure to mix it up. In the winter, when berries aren't in season, grab frozen berries (without sweeteners) and use them in smoothies, oatmeal or even thawed in yogurt. Raspberries (one of the best breakfast foods for weight loss) boast the most fiber at 8 grams per cup and also contain ellagic acid, a compound with anti-cancer properties. The same amount of blueberries has half the fiber (4 grams), but is packed with anthocyanins, antioxidants that may help keep memory sharp as you age. A cup of strawberries contains 3 grams of fiber, but more than a full day's recommended dose of skin-firming vitamin C.
Pictured Recipe: Spinach & Egg Scramble with Raspberries
A source of high-quality vegetarian protein, eggs might give your meal more staying power. One egg has about 70 calories and 6 grams of protein. Plus, egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin—two antioxidants that help keep eyes healthy. In fact, research published in 2019 in PLOS One links lutein and zeaxanthin with reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in people over 65. Lutein may also help shield your skin from UV damage.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Pictured Recipe: Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain Bowls
Sweet potatoes are so brilliantly orange thanks to their alpha and beta carotene. The body converts these compounds into the active form of vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy. These phytochemicals also operate as antioxidants, sweeping up disease-promoting free radicals. One medium sweet potato (about 1/2 cup) provides nearly four times the recommended daily value of vitamin A, plus some vitamin C and B6, potassium, manganese, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Pictured Recipe: Balsamic & Parmesan Broccoli
This green powerhouse packs vitamins A, C and K (which helps with bone health), as well as folate. There is another reason broccoli frequently earns a top spot on "superfoods" lists: it delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane, a type of isothiocyanate that is thought to thwart cancer by helping to stimulate the body's detoxifying enzymes.
Pictured Recipe: Creamy Blueberry-Pecan Oatmeal
Oats are a breakfast staple and quite the superfood. Eating more oats is an easy way to up your fiber intake and makes for a filling breakfast. Plus, oats are a whole grain and plain oats don't have any added sugar. For a superfood meal or snack, start with plain oats and turn them into things like blueberry oat cakes, homemade granola to enjoy with fruit and yogurt or DIY energy bites with peanut butter.
Pictured Recipe: Spinach Salad with Ginger-Soy Dressing
Dark leafy greens do a body good. Spinach is teeming with important nutrients: vitamins A, C and K as well as some fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. Studies have found that eating more greens, like spinach, can help you lose weight, reduce your risk of diabetes, keep your brain young and help fight off cancer.
Pictured Recipe: Soothing Ginger-Lemon Tea
Studies show if you drink tea regularly, you may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's, diabetes and some cancers, and have healthier teeth and gums and stronger bones. Tea is rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids. Regardless of the variety of tea you choose, you can maximize the power of its flavonoids by drinking it freshly brewed. If you want to keep a batch of cold tea in your refrigerator, add a little lemon juice: the citric acid and vitamin C in that squeeze of lemon, lime or orange help preserve the flavonoids.
Pictured Recipe: Everything-Seasoned Almonds
What can't nuts do? They're packed with healthy polyunsaturated fats and magnesium, two important nutrients for heart health. These nutrients may also offer protection against insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. Antioxidant compounds found in nuts, including ellagic acid and resveratrol, can reduce the wear and tear on your body from free radicals.This lowers inflammation, which may reduce cancer risk. Plus, nuts provide insoluble fiber, which studies suggest may help you stay healthy by feeding beneficial gut bacteria. Spread nut butter on toast, grab a handful of nuts for a snack or make your own simple trail mix.
Pictured Recipe: Carrot-Orange Juice
Oranges are an underrated fruit. The humble orange is an excellent source of vitamin C; just one large orange (or a cup of OJ) contains a full day's dose. Vitamin C is critical for producing white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infections; it's also a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from free-radical damage and plays a key role in producing skin-firming collagen. Oranges are also high in fiber and folate.
Pictured Recipe: Greek Yogurt with Fruit & Nuts
Yogurt contains probiotics or "good bacteria" that help keep our guts healthy. It's also rich in calcium. Just 1 cup of yogurt provides nearly half the recommended daily value of calcium and delivers phosphorus, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and protein. Choose Greek-style yogurt for an even bigger protein boost and whenever possible reach for plain. Flavored yogurts tend to have lots of added sugar which add calories without nutrition.
The Bottom Line
While superfoods may not have a quantifiable definition, foods labeled as such are healthy enough to eat every day. Superfoods are not only delicious; they're packed with health-boosting nutrients and antioxidants. So top your oatmeal with berries, add sweet potatoes to a grain bowl, snack on some nuts, and reap the benefits of superfoods every day.
Related: 7-Day Superfood Meal Plan