Superfoods like avocados and dark leafy greens have incredible health benefits such as weight regulation and preventing disease. Incorporating them into your daily diet can improve your mental and physical health.

Let’s take a look at five superfoods and the health benefits they offer.

What defines a superfood?

Superfoods are a category of foods that are rich with nutrients such as antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. They are often also packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats.

“Superfoods help promote health by increasing your immune function and decreasing your chance of disease prevention or progression,” registered dietitian Beth Czerwony told the Cleveland Health Clinic.

1. Berries are full of antioxidants

Summer and early fall are the perfect time to incorporate fresh berries into your diet. Some of the most common or popular berries include: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and cranberries.

Berries are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. They also offer several health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions, reports Healthline.

“On average, people who eat more berries seem to live a little bit longer,” Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The Washington Post.

2. Leafy greens are rich with vitamins

Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard and collard greens are rich with vitamins A, C, E and K, and many B vitamins, according to Medical News Today.

These fiber-packed greens can help fight the risk of colorectal cancer as well as obesity and weight gain, the American Institute of Cancer Research reports.

Additionally, these dark leafy greens contain carotenoids, anti-inflammatory compounds known to inhibit the action of carcinogens, cancer-causing compounds, per Harvard Health.

3. Nuts and seeds can help regulate weight

Nuts and seeds boast several health benefits such as aiding in weight loss. Despite being a calorically-dense food, research suggests nuts and seeds can actually help regulate weight and lead to weight loss.

A 2014 study found that long-term consumption of nuts was associated with lower body weight. Nuts and seeds are full of protein and healthy fats so they help keep you full for longer, reports Everyday Health.

Common and popular nuts and seeds with great health benefits include:

  • Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts and pecans.
  • Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds.

4. Avocados are good for your heart and eyes

Keep making avocado toast! Avocados are packed with health benefits. With high levels of nutrients such as vitamins, niacin, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, eating avocados can benefit your heart, eyesight and may even help prevent cancer, reports Medical News Today.

Avocados are rich with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals in eye tissue, so eating them on the regular can provide antioxidant protection from damage and aging, a 2017 study found.

Additionally, avocados have high amounts of beta sitosterol, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and leads to a healthy heart, per Medical News Today.

5. Legumes are a great source of fiber

Legumes are part of the Fabaceae family, which includes beans, lentils and peas. Some of the healthiest, most protein- and fiber-dense kinds include: kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, green peas and lentils, per Healthline.

“Beans have some health benefits that animal sources (of protein) don’t,” writes the American Heart Association. “Eating beans as part of a heart healthy diet and lifestyle may help improve your blood cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease.”

When legumes are incorporated into your diet, they can help prevent the development of various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, reports Harvard Health.

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