Superfood is a term that gets used in various contexts, but what does it really mean? Aaron Moss was the first known reference, when he wrote “the benefits of some [food] options are so nutritious that they might be labeled as superfoods.” It is now regularly used to refer to foods with high nutrient content that may confer health benefits, without any negative properties like high saturated fats. Many lists of superfoods now contain common food choices whose nutritional values have long been recognized, like leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish.
If you’re like me, and believe in incorporating as much whole, fresh produce into your diet as possible, you’re likely already getting a good share of superfoods. But now that summer is almost here, why not turn your focus to foods that are coming into season? Root vegetables are all well and good, but leave them behind for the season, and dive into these vibrantly colored fresh foods available at grocery stores and farm markets.
- Cherries: Packed full of antioxidants, these low-calorie fruits are a tasty treat in a fruit salad or juiced into lemonade. According to the Huffington Post, one serving of cherries is a great source of both fiber and vitamin C!
- Cucumbers: Crisp and delicious, these water-packed veggies are great in salads, sandwiches, or as chip substitutes for your favorite dip. If you’re feeling adventurous, put a few slices in your water for a cool afternoon drink.
- Okra: Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio famously hated okra until a contestant cooked it to perfection. Tip: avoid frying it! This nutritious vegetable is a great source of fiber, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K.
- Papaya: Mix up your fruit salad with some seasonal summer fruits. Chock full of fiber and potassium, one serving of papaya can contain nearly 70% of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin A! You can try it whole, or combine with avocado and spices for a slightly sweet summer salsa.
- Plums: Grab and go with this nutritious peach relative. The plum is rich in fiber, along with vitamins A, C, and K, and is great for your brain and heart!
If you’re curious about seasonal superfoods, take a look at The Huffington Post’s series on the topic.