Kale, quinoa, Greek yogurt. All are super-healthy foods you should be eating—and chances are you already are. Looking for a new über-healthy food to add to your repertoire? Check out this list! Whether your diet could use a health tune-up or already is the epitome of health, we think you’ll find at least one food on this list to add to your diet.
Health-conscious eaters are getting serious about—and going crazy for—chia seeds (yes, like the “pets”). It’s no wonder: they deliver as much protein as some nuts as well as heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fat. Per tablespoon, chia delivers 2 grams protein, 4 grams fiber and 1.75 grams ALA. Chia seeds may have celebrity status as the newest superfood fad, but they’ve been around for centuries (they were prized by the Aztecs). The seeds absorb liquid easily, gelling and making a creamy addition to oats and pancakes. That property also makes them easy on sensitive stomachs, says David C. Nieman, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., of Appalachian State University. “Some other seeds, like flax, are harder to digest because they have more lignan, a tough fiber,” says Nieman.
The popularity of coconut doesn’t end with hot-right-now coconut water and coconut oil. Coconut flour
is a healthy way to add decadent coconut flavor to baked goods (as we used in the Coconut Dark-Chocolate Truffles, pictured left). As for health benefits of coconut flour: it packs a whopping 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons (with only 2 grams of total and saturated fat) and it’s gluten-free. Coconut flour has health benefits for people with diabetes, too: adding coconut flour to baked goods lowers the glycemic index (a measure of the rate that a food increases blood sugar). In your market, look for coconut flour near other gluten-free flours.
Skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland and is comparable in texture and nutrition to Greek yogurt—delivering just as much protein, but for slightly fewer calories (perhaps because it’s always made with skim milk).
Dulse (say it like “pulse”) is one example of a growing infatuation with eating seaweed. This family of nutrient-packed sea vegetables has been turning up everywhere from school lunches (where savvy parents swap it for potato chips) to gourmet restaurant fare. Why all the love? Dulse is a good source of potassium and iron—and boasts loads of iodine, necessary in the regulation of the thyroid gland and usually found only in seafood or iodized salt. It has a salty, of-the-sea flavor. You can enjoy dulse in many forms. Look for it in natural-foods markets, where you’ll find it either in flakes or in bags of dried strips, and crumble it over soups or salads.
Chia isn’t the only super-healthy seed gaining popularity. Though hemp plants (aka Cannabis sativa) are illegal to grow in the U.S. because of their association with the mood-altering cultivars of the plant, eating hemp seeds is increasingly popular. Hemp-seed sales grew 156 percent between 2008 and 2010. As versatile as, and similar in taste to, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds can be eaten raw, toasted, sprinkled on yogurt or salads or ground into seed butter. Per tablespoon, hemp seeds boast 16 percent of your daily value for phosphorus and magnesium, 1 gram of ALA and a little under 1 gram of fiber.
Checkout 5 more superfoods that you should try | Eating Well