What Makes a Food a Superfood?

In the world of nutrition, the term superfood is commonly seen, used to describe foods with health benefits. Of the thousands of items to choose from, what exactly qualifies a food to be ‘super’? Below discusses some of the most well-known superfoods and the reasons as to why these foods get to claim the title.

  • Blueberries: These fruits have the ability to lower blood pressure, reduce risk for cancer and heart disease, and have anti-inflammatory effects. They are full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. When picking some up at the grocery store, go for the ones that are darker in color – they have more antioxidants! Get your daily dose of them on campus in smoothies at Wired in West End Market, Jamba Juice in Turner Place, or Freshens in Owens!
  • Fish: This form of protein has the ability to lower heart disease risk, as well as help with arthritis and memory loss. Salmon is a great option as it is full of Omega-3s which help with heart health. It is recommended to have fish 2-3 times a week. On campus J.P.’s Chop House in West End Market has a salmon sandwich every day. Check daily menus at www.dining.vt.edu to see when salmon is being offered at The Carvery in Owens and at Fire Grill in Turner Place. Soup Garden in Turner Place also has the option of grilled salmon as an addition to salads, and salmon is also available at Turner Place in sushi at Origami or as a protein option at the tableside hibachi.
  • Avocado: Some people can be wary of avocadoes because they are full of fat – but its healthy fat! This fruit is filled with oleic acid, lutein, folate, Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione which protect from heart disease, certain cancers, as well as degenerative eye and brain diseases. Add slices of avocado to sandwiches and burgers at Burger `37 and ABP in Squires. Include it in burritos and bowls at Qdoba in Turner Place and La Cantina in Owens as well!
  • More Veggies: Vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli have been shown to have cancer fighting abilities. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and folate and also help fight off heart disease and cancer. Check out the menu for J.P.’s Chop House in West End Market to see when veggies like cauliflower and broccoli are being offered. Find kale in the Power Green Salad at Leaf & Ladle in West End Market or in smoothies at Freshens in Owens and Jamba Juice in Turner Place. Get your daily dose of spinach in the salad bars at Owens, Hokie Grill, and ask for it in your salads at Soup Garden in Turner Place and Leaf & Ladle in West End Market!

For best success, find options for these foods that fit your lifestyle and taste preferences. The more you tailor healthy eating to you, the less it feels like a chore or something you have to do. Branch out and try foods you haven’t tried before – you might be surprised at the results! A diet packed full of these superfoods will leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the day.

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