Need a Hero? Eat SUPER Foods!

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The past year of pandemic problems has thrown many of us for a loop. Among other things, COVID-19 brought stress, frustration and worry, which are all likely to contribute to possible weight fluctuations. But instead of falling prey to the latest diet trend or cleanse, it’s important to understand what continually works for getting healthy and losing weight: nutrition. Our bodies deserve some love on a regular basis and eating healthy, consistently, will help us have a healthier body and mind.

We often hear about super foods. They’re generally the healthy foods that you’ve known for years, but sometimes certain ones attract more of the spotlight than others. The term “super food” is largely a marketing term, but super foods typically have higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and healthy fats, so they’re a good thing!

Let’s break down what super foods do for us and how to get more of them into our diet.

Super Boosting
It’s no secret we need more immunity-boosting foods in our diet. With a worldwide pandemic still lingering, many consumers are looking to boost their immune system. Food companies are adding all sorts of vitamins, specifically vitamins C and D, to all sorts of foods. Probiotics and probiotic-containing foods are also flying off the shelves as people work to improve their immune system through their gut.

When it comes to overall health, the gut is receiving lots of attention too. That’s because our digestive tract plays a huge role in absorbing nutrients and getting rid of waste. Plus, the digestive tract is related directly to gut health, which effects everything from the immune system to stress response, sleep patterns, energy levels and more. If we have an unhealthy gut, we could experience constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues. Fortunately, digestive superfoods can help. There are many that are particularly beneficial, those that help keep things moving, provide probiotics, and alleviate blockages so everything can run smoothly.

Some of these super foods are getting a little more hype this year than others, but they can all contribute to feeling better. Here are some standouts.

Yippee for Chickpeas!
Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber and good source of protein, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Chickpeas aid in digestion and help protect against colon issues.

Can’t Beet That!
High in nitrate, beets help boost exercise performance and brain function while also helping to lower cholesterol.

Yes, algae, not so much for eating, but for using as an oil. Algae oil is low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated/monounsaturated fats, which can help control cholesterol.

Fermented Foods
If you crave pickles, kimchi or kombucha, then you’re already hip to fermented foods. These super eats contain beneficial bacteria and yeasts which support that good gut health!
Topping out the fantastic food list are the good old standbys of berries, whole grains, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds and, of course, leafy greens.

Adding Super Foods
There are many ways to get more super foods into our diet. These days, super foods have some hype in marketing so they may be easier to find in grocery stores and on menus in restaurants. The easiest way to add these nutritious little nuggets to our diet is by throwing fresh ones into salads, stir fries or sautéing with a super oil. Adding some beans and vegetables into stews, soups or chili is also super smart.

Remember these ways to nosh nutrition. Frozen berries, fish and some veggies are a perfect option. Canned fish has all the added benefits of fresh fish. When you’re eating out, restaurants know that super foods are hip, so they want to make sure they get a piece of the pie. Some chains have ventured beyond the basic salads and soups to entrees and desserts. Even fast-food restaurants are adding a wider variety of super foods to their menus using whole grains, nuts and seeds for those of us on the go.

One thing we should remember is that eating one single food isn’t super. Not even a super food can give us all the nutrition, health benefits and energy we need on a daily basis. Maintaining a healthy diet from all the food groups is the way to be our own superhero! ■

Sources:,, and


Rainbow Super Food Salad
½ cup quinoa
2 cups bunch shredded kale
½ cup red kidney beans
3 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
Handful of walnuts
3 tbsp. dried cranberries
1 pint blueberries
3 oranges, juiced
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp honey

Cook quinoa according to packet instructions. Once cooked, place into a large bowl. Add kale, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, cranberries, beans and walnuts. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, mix orange juice, olive oil, garlic and honey. Pour over salad. Enjoy! Makes 2 servings / Adapted from