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Superfoods are becoming more and more popular every year. From fruits and vegetables to seeds and spices, these antioxidant and mineral-rich ingredients are believed to contribute to both emotional and physical wellbeing. Holistic remedies like broths and mushrooms take a page from traditional cures, while probiotic and immune-boosting foods are shaping the way we think about modern wellness.
And the good news is, you probably have more superfoods in your current diet than you think. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at so-called wellness foods, spotlighting recipes that allow you to easily incorporate them into your everyday routine.
What are functional foods? Essentially, the term refers to ingredients said to have a positive impact on health besides basic nutrition – whether it’s reducing risk for disease, repairing muscle, boosting energy levels or improving overall cell function. Functional food examples include oatmeal, which contains fiber thought to lower cholesterol, fatty types of fish, which are high in omega 3’s, nuts to promote heart health, beans to supply non-red meat protein, and berries, whose vibrant colors are associated with actual health benefits (red, blue and purple contain certain antioxidants).
Believed to be good for your gut, this category is meant to help balance friendly bacteria in your digestive system. So what whole foods are high in probiotics? Anything with live active cultures, such as tangy yogurt and buttermilk, as well as preserved or fermented items like sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kimchi and kombucha are all considered probiotic rich foods.
Are there foods that calm anxiety? Some studies indicate that you can actually eat your way to a more relaxed state. It’s no surprise that dark chocolate finds itself on the list. (Who doesn’t feel a bit better, after nibbling a decadent candy bar?). And the flavonoids in cocoa that lower blood pressure may have something to do with it. Chamomile tea is another popular go-to. But there are a few less obvious ways to edibly achieve zen. Leafy greens like spinach contain magnesium, and oysters have zinc, two minerals that help our bodies relieve stress. And then there’s turmeric, which ticks so many boxes as a superfood. No wonder “golden milk” has been giving coffee and tea a run for its money, at wellness-minded café’s.
Immune system booster foods are believed to help ward off all manner of illnesses and colds. And when it comes to the best foods for immune system activation, think citrus. There’s a reason vitamin C is included in many cold remedies. Bell peppers contain loads of it too, as does broccoli (which also brings fiber and various antioxidants to the table). And packed with supposed infection-fighting ingredients like ginger, garlic, cayenne and yes, turmeric, wellness shots are regularly turned to as a surefire way for providing a sippable power-up.
Save your favorite superfood recipes and organize your ingredients with our online meal planner. You can also make meal prep simple by creating a Flavor Profile, so you can store your favorite recipes and create grocery lists for easy shopping.