Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods thought to be particularly good for your health. While many superfoods are plant-based, animal products, like salmon and other fatty fish, can also be considered superfoods for their high concentration of important nutrients. A diet rich in superfoods can help give you the nutrients you need to stave off cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, among other chronic illnesses.
So, when it comes to snacking, superfood snacks are a great alternative to traditional junk foods, which tend to be full of salt, fat, and sugar. And superfood snacks may be healthy, but they don’t have to taste bad. Incorporate a variety of superfoods into your diet for balanced nutrition and better health.
Nuts are very high in fat, so can they actually be good for you? Yes — many high-fat foods, like cheese and avocado, are very good for you, as long as they’re eaten in moderation. Nuts contain monounsaturated fat, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, all of which can be good for your heart. They can control levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood, stabilize your heart rhythms to prevent heart attack, support arterial health, reduce inflammation in the heart and circulatory system, and lower your risk of developing blood clots.
The vitamin E in nuts can stop plaque from developing in your arteries, and the L-arginine they contain can help keep your arterial walls supple and healthy. The fat, protein, and fiber in nuts can help you feel full longer, stabilize your blood sugar levels, and even help you lose weight. Almonds are a particularly good choice because they’re rich in antioxidants. Eat them with dried fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
You’ve always heard that you should eat more leafy greens, and kale chips are a tasty way to squeeze more greens into your diet. Kale chips offer the satisfying, salty crunch of potato chips, and their low-calorie count means you can eat them even if you’re trying to lose weight. Kale chips are rich in antioxidants, like beta-carotene and lutein, which support arterial health, prevent cataracts, and protect against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. You can make them yourself, or you can buy tasty kale chips and other veggie-based crispy snacks.
If you have a sweet tooth, berries are the way to go for healthy snacking. Mix different types of berries together to reach the goal of eating a more colorful diet and get all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy and strong. Berries are low in calories — a single cup of blueberries, for example, contains just 84 calories — but high in dietary fiber. Eat them with yogurt, cottage cheese, or nuts to control blood sugar, improve your heart health, and prevent cancer. Freeze them to use as an ice substitute in drinks, or to eat as a cool treat on hot summer days.
Because of its high-fat content, dark chocolate is another superfood that should be eaten in moderation, but its low sugar content and high levels of antioxidants and minerals make it a powerhouse food that can lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, eye disease, and diabetes. Beneficial nutrients in dark chocolate include manganese, iron, copper, and magnesium. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids that support brain function and arterial health, lower LDL cholesterol levels, prevent insulin resistance, and heal inflammation in the body. To maximize its health benefits, eat dark chocolate that is at least 70 to 85 percent cocoa.
Like nuts and dark chocolate, avocados are high in healthy fats, which can support heart health by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while boosting “good” HDL cholesterol levels. They’re also a great source of vitamins C, K, and E, as well as B vitamins and minerals like copper and potassium. They’re high in fiber, very filling, and delicious when eaten on their own with salt and pepper, mashed and spread on toast, or sliced into a salad.
There’s no reason snacking has to blow your diet. Healthy snacks can keep you feeling full between meals, and can be a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Put more superfoods into your diet, and enjoy better health, and guilt-free snacking.