In the realm of natural health and lifestyle, the term ‘superfood’ has morphed into a buzzword, spiking public interest and generating volumes of content in social media and news outlets.
A superfood is currently defined as an organic food product that’s usually plant-based and contains a wealth of nutrition, including essential vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, phytochemicals and probiotics that are optimal for digestive health and detoxification. Opinions vary on which foods belong in the superfood family, but there are some that rank highly every time, such as green superfoods.
Green superfoods come in all different forms, from fruits and vegetables to nuts and legumes, or even super greens powders. Green superfoods are just that: all-natural, highly nutritious and some variation of the color green. Green generally brings to mind vegetables, such as lettuce and celery. These certainly qualify, but there are other foods that have earned a place in this category and aren’t necessarily vegetables. Read on to find out which foods are considered by health gurus and industry experts to be some of the best green superfoods, and to learn about greens powders that can elevate your diet.
Green superfood families and types
- Leafy vegetables
This is a large family of ‘athletic greens,’ and there’s plenty of competition between certain members. Kale and spinach are at the center of a long debate, over which one is the more substantial and nutritious superfood. Both pack a healthy punch, with high levels of fiber, vitamin C, folate, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and carotenoids, which are anti-inflammatory compounds. This rich nutritional profile makes dark leafy greens an excellent choice for helping to reduce the risk of chronic illness, such as heart disease and diabetes. Other contenders in this category are swiss chard, collard and turnip greens. (1)
- Cruciferous vegetables
This large and diverse vegetable clan is known for its anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer) and anti-inflammatory properties; it includes cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and turnips. These vegetables are commonly low in calories yet filling, and contain a rainbow of vitamins and nutrients, including fiber, folate, and vitamins C, E and K. The current scientific studies regarding the correlation between these vegetables and a reduced risk of cancer are limited, and as such, these theories need to be substantiated with more conclusive evidence; however, there’s no arguing with how beneficial they are to general health and well–being. (2)
- AvocadoThis green superfood represents the fruit family, but is in a league of its own when compared to other wonder greens. Avocado is a deliciously versatile and highly nutritious food that provides an abundance of vitamin E and B, omega 3, other antioxidants, and a mass of dietary fiber. (3)
- Sea vegetablesNutritional super powers also come from the sea, in the form of marine plants and algae such as seaweed, kelp, spirulina and chlorella. These are most commonly used in Japanese cuisine, but have become increasingly popular in other parts of the world. Seaweed is the most popular of all, and delivers a range of vitamins and healthy minerals, including iodine, tyrosine, thiamin, iron, riboflavin and copper. (4)
How to get more green superfoods in your daily diet
The most logical and straightforward way to incorporate more green nutrition into your diet is by simply eating more of it. However, depending on where you live and how much access you have to fresh and local produce, it can be challenging to find green superfoods on a consistent and sustainable basis year-round.
In response to this problem, the health food market has expanded to offer greens powders, which are essentially green superfoods in powdered form—similar to protein powders. These greens powders can be easily added to beverages such as smoothies and shakes, and typically contain nutrient-dense foods that aren’t normally consumed in the average human diet, such as digestible grasses like wheatgrass, barley grass, and alfalfa grass; herbal extracts like gingko biloba and echinacea; and other superfood supplements. (5)
Some scientists and skeptics have argued that the superfood trend is a marketing tool rather than a science-based theory. Nonetheless, the frenzy over these amazing green superfoods has taken root and spread among nutritionists and health advocates all over the world.
While key influencers and experts may differ in opinion on which superfood supplements and greens powders are the best, the thread most commonly woven into these conversations is that plant-based nutrition and variety in natural foods are essential to a healthy diet and way of life.
Disclaimer: This article is based on our independent research. While our team does everything in their power to provide accurate and current information from credible state-run websites and resources, we are not lawyers or legal experts. As such, none of the following information should be interpreted as legal advice. Content on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and those with legal concerns should consult experts within their state, such as the FDA.
- “10 Superfoods That Are Worthy of the Title”, Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/true-superfoods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
- “Cruciferous Vegetables: Health Benefits and Recipes”, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/crucifeous-vegetables
- “11 Green Foods (and One Drink) that are Good for You”, Source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/12-amazingly-good-for-you-green-foods.aspx
- “7 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed”, Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-seaweed#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
- “Super Greens: Are Green Powders Healthy?”, Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/super-greens#greens-powders