Instead of looking to the rainforests of South America or the mountains of Tibet for the next superfood, why not look to your backyard — or your local farmers market and grocery store? The superfoods you’ll find there aren’t new or the beneficiaries of a major marketing campaign, but they’re no less healthful.
Here are a few examples:
Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America, and they are the second most popular berry (after strawberries) in the United States. Blueberries contain more antioxidant nutrients than most fruits and vegetables and are particularly rich in a family of phytonutrients called flavonoids. One group of flavonoids, anthocyanins, provides much of the beneficial health effects, along with blueberries’ color. Strawberries also have high levels of flavonoids.
The cruciferous vegetable family — including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy — is an excellent source of essential vitamins, like folate, and is also rich in an array of phytochemicals. Many of these phytochemicals have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and may also help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Kale (pictured) is the trendiest member of this family, but while kale can be considered a superfood, there’s currently no evidence suggesting that it provides more health benefits than other cruciferous vegetables.
The entire allium family of vegetables — including onions, leeks, shallots and scallions — are rich in phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Garlic (pictured) is far more than a seasoning.
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