8 Superfoods for Super Health

The best diet is one that includes a wide variety of whole foods. However, some foods deliver extra bang for the nutritional buck. These so-called superfoods can help reduce your risk of serious and chronic health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Superfoods are generally low in calories, sugar, and salt, and high in fiber, nutrients, and phytochemicals (compounds in plants that can have a positive affect on your health).

Best of all, there are many superfoods. Here are eight you might want to add to your diet:

  1. Leafy greens. Calorie for calorie, leafy greens deliver more nutrients than most other foods, according to Frank Lipman, MD, founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale, for instance, help guard against heart disease and cancer.
  2. Wild salmon. Wild salmon is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which offer a host of health benefits. It is best to opt for wild-caught salmon; Alaskan or sockeye salmon are good choices.
  3. Eggs. Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline, which keeps cell membranes functioning properly, reduces chronic inflammation, and helps prevent birth defects during pregnancy.
  4. Cruciferous veggies. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy all help lower cancer risk.
  5. Berries. All berries are good for you, but a few are standouts: Blueberries are good for the brain and may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Goji berries (wolf berries) provide 18 of the 20 amino acids (building blocks of protein), and camu berry, which hails from South America and is rich in vitamin c, enhances the immune system.
  6. Mushrooms. Shitake mushrooms in particular boost immunity and can help prevent cancer. They are also full of iron and minerals, and are often found in Asian dishes.
  7. Sea vegetables. Arame (an edible seaweed) and other sea vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  8. Cacao. No list of superfoods would be complete without dark chocolate and raw cacao. Cacao is high in antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage, as well as magnesium, iron, and chromium, according to David Wolfe, nutrition expert and author of Longevity Now. According to Wolfe, cacao balances brain chemicals, builds strong bones, and (as any chocolate lover can attest) elevates mood and energy.

It’s easy to incorporate superfoods into your diet: Chop vegetables and mix them into salads, add them to soups and stews, sauté them to make stir fries, or use them as filling in lasagna or omelets. Blend berries, cacao nibs—even leafy greens—into healthy smoothies or add them as toppings to salads and desserts.

Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, reviewed this article.


Mark Hyman, MD. "Dinner is a Date with the Doctor: 5 Asian Superfoods." Accessed May 29, 2014. 

Joseph Mercola, DO. "Foods That Power Up Your Spring." May 06, 2013. Accessed May 29, 2014. 

Frank Lipman, MD. "The Top 9 Superfoods." Accessed May 29, 2014. 

David Wolfe. "Top 10 Superfoods and Tonic Herbs." March 1, 2011, accessed May 29, 2014. 

"PCBs in Farmed Salmon: Wild Versus Farmed." Environmental Working Group. Posted July 31, 2003.