A Registered Dietitian Explains What a ‘Superfood’ Actually Is

Superfoods are an easy way to give your body an extra boost of nutrients. Unsplash/Brenda Godinez

Ever find yourself aimlessly wandering the aisles of Whole Foods or the stalls at your local farmer’s market, unsure of what to put in your cart? Navigating a healthy diet can be daunting, and understanding what constitutes a healthy plate while ducking confusing food-industry trends and terminology can be even more difficult. Organic? Gluten-Free? Farm to table? Dairy-Free? Non-GMO? Superfoods? What does it all mean, and does it even matter? Mary Ellen Phipps, registered dietitian nutritionist of Milk & Honey Nutrition, explains “superfoods” that can easily and cost-efficiently nourish your body and improve your diet.

The term “superfood” has long been associated with expensive health food stores and unrealistic, complicated diets. In truth, it’s a lot simpler than that. Rhythm Superfoods has dubbed this Tuesday, January 16, the first-ever National Superfoods Day in partnership with Milk & Honey Nutrition—dedicated to educating the public on the bountiful nutritional benefits of superfoods. The goal of National Superfoods Day is to cut through all the clutter and create one succinct definition of what a superfoods really are: nutrient-dense foods that provide positive nutrition to our diets. Contrary to what all the mixed messaging of the food industry may tell you, it’s really that easy.

“One of the goals of National Superfoods Day is to create this definition,” Phipps explained, “and to help people realize it isn’t just ingredients they’ve never heard of, but everyday fruits and vegetables— things like kale, beets, carrots, and tomatoes.” While many superfoods come in supplement form, filling your medicine cabinet with pills isn’t the most cost-efficient way to live healthier. “I would encourage people to first look in their produce department—a lot of the superfoods we talk about on the website are actually just common fruits and vegetables.”

So, what qualifies as a superfood? “Superfoods need to provide a quality source of at least two nutrients,” Phipps continued. “They’re more nutrient-dense than other types of produce, providing rich sources of fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-3 Fatty Acids.” According to Phipps, superfoods can help “reduce your risk of diabetes, aid heart health, help with blood sugar stabilization and reduce the risk of cancer.”

As part of a balanced diet, superfoods are an easy way to give your body an extra boost of nutrients. To reap the benefits of superfoods, try adding salmon, kale, pumpkin, carrots, berries, beets, turmeric, mango, sunflower seeds, or red peppers to your shopping cart, to name a few.

A Registered Dietitian Explains What a ‘Superfood’ Actually Is