By Kait Spong
Superfoods. Open any magazine, peruse any online blog, or talk to any of your trend-savvy friends, and you’ll likely hear this term mentioned more than once – especially now that the coronavirus pandemic is in full swing, and everyone is concerned about their health. But, what exactly is a superfood, and what makes these certain edible items more “super” than others?
Simply put, superfoods contain a dense amount of nutritional value. These foods may be extremely high in a certain vitamin, antioxidant, or the like, and as a result, are deemed “superfoods” for their ability to provide a super-intense dose of vital nutrients. Health bloggers and Instagram influencers have taken the superfood trend one step further by creating entire meal plans around these foods and showing them off in their smoothies. Thus, the obsession with superfoods was born.
In fact, superfoods have become so popular, it’s now common for nutritionists to hype up certain foods as the “superfood of the year” – and 2020 is no exception. So, check out uCribs’ list of 2020 superfoods, along with a short overview of what makes each item so super and a suggested way to get some of each food’s nutritional benefits for yourself.
Chances are, you’ve already got a bottle of powdered turmeric in your kitchen pantry – and, chances are even higher that you regularly forget about its existence unless you’re preparing a big pot of chicken curry. However, this humble spice is worth a second look. Turmeric’s main active ingredient is curcumin, which is a type of chemical compound packed with medicinal properties. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory, which means that it helps your body fight foreign bacteria and viruses, while also helping speed up cell restoration.
These days, you’re just as likely to find turmeric in your specialty latte as you are in veggie-based sides, like roasted Brussel sprouts. Here are a few other popular ways to ingest this superfood in 2020:
Beets are easy to overlook. Think about it: unless you live for Eastern European cuisine – where you’ll find Borscht and pickled beets – it’s probably been a while since you knowingly ingested this root. That’s about to change, though, now that beets have reached 2020’s superfoods lists. Beets are low in calories and fat but rich in many of the vitamins and minerals you need daily, like folate, potassium, manganese, and even vitamin C. They also contain nitrates, which can keep your blood pressure under control, enhance energy, and support brain health – the latter of which is crucial to any college student!
No doubt about it, beets are the thing to eat for a healthy 2020. If the mention of pickled beets made your stomach turn, don’t worry – here are a few other options:
They’re delicious in pasta, pizza, and even the sad salad you regularly eat for lunch – but, hey, no judgment! Yes, we’re talking about mushrooms; the superfood that puts the “fun” in “fungus.” Mushrooms are great sources of protein, B vitamins, fiber, and immunity-enhancing sugars called beta-glucans. In fact, the key nutrients found in mushrooms are so powerful, they are believed to reduce oxidative stress, which is largely viewed as the main culprit behind cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
So, load up your plate with mushrooms for a meal that tastes great and provides an insane amount of nutritional value! Need some inspiration? Try adding mushrooms to…
You’ve heard the tired jokes about avocados being Millennials’ favorite food – but now, they’re catching on with Generation Z, too. And, really, when has avocado not been popular? The green, creamy fruit has been known to contain a wealth of nutritional value for years. Just one serving contains tons of heart-healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and potassium – even more than a banana. Avocados are also known to provide you with folate, vitamin E, and magnesium.
Clearly, the avocado has earned its reputation as a perennial superfood in spades – and it’s also super-easy to cook with, too! Here are three ways to absorb the insane nutritional value of avocados:
Unfortunately, chocolate isn’t a superfood – but its distant cousin, cacao, sure is! Before you get too excited, though, remember that cacao is only one ingredient found in chocolate, and for that reason, it tastes pretty different from your standard Hershey’s bar. Nevertheless, raw cacao contains tons of brain- and heart-healthy nutrients, like iron, magnesium, zinc and antioxidants. As a bonus, raw cacao also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes relaxation, better sleep, and an elevated mood. If that doesn’t persuade you to try raw cacao, we don’t know what will!
As raw cacao is similar in texture to chocolate powder, you’ll probably find it easiest to ingest this superfood like you would its sweeter iteration. uCribs’ suggestions are as follows:
As a college student, it’s already vital that you stay on top of your health – and, now that the novel coronavirus has hit the U.S., this is even more important. Luckily, taking control of your healthy diet can be easy, if you add these superfoods to your meal plan. Try one or more of these expert-approved foods, and you’ll not only be able to say that you’ve sampled the year’s hottest superfoods, but you’ll also your risk for a serious illness, like the novel coronavirus, and save you tons of money otherwise spent on costly co-pays and over-the-counter medications