Gluten-free, grass-fed, organic. You’ve heard these and countless other nutrition terms and health fads championed by celebrities and dissected on the news in recent years. You know you should eat “healthy”—but how exactly is that accomplished? We sat down with Emily Wert Brainerd and Kris Roach, two experienced health and wellness professionals, to gather their best tips for incorporating those elite foods known as superfoods into our diets. Our first question: How would you define the term “superfoods”? Brainerd calls them “foods that are nutrient-dense and give you the most bang for your buck.” Check out our experts’ superfood picks below.
“Lemon helps cleanse and jump-start your liver function, which in turn supports your overall immune system.” —E.B.
Brainerd suggests putting a slice of lemon in all of the water you drink. Set a goal to start each day with a full glass of lemon water before drinking any other beverage. Coffee drinkers can try swapping out their first cup of joe for a glass of hot water with a slice of lemon.
“A small handful of raw nuts is packed with protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals” —K.R.
Try “a yummy recipe for banana nut porridge—the perfect way to start your day.”
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- 1 very ripe banana
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- Dash of sea salt
Nuts are soaked in water overnight, then drained and blended along with all other ingredients. The porridge can be microwaved for 40 seconds or put on the stove over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Find the full recipe at againstallgrain.com.
Flax Seed and Flax Seed Oil
“Flax is a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help all the cells in your body function better, lower your cholesterol and risk for heart disease, improve your skin and aid the growth of healthy nails and hair.” —E.B.
Sprinkle the seeds on your morning cereal or as a topping on any salad.
“They really have it all: vitamins, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals. There are so many varieties of food in this category and it is crucial to add them to your diet.” —K.R.
“Most [cruciferous veggies] blend up and hide very well in a green smoothie. Using the right blender, you won’t even know they are there.” —K.R.
Now that the term has lost some of its mystery, eating superfoods as a part of your daily routine doesn’t seem so daunting, and clearly has long-term health benefits. Roach uses an analogy of cheap gasoline to explain the importance, “If I told you I found 99-cent gas just around the corner but on my way home the paint on my car started to peel off and I stalled a couple of times, you wouldn’t think the cheaper gas was a smart choice.” Since you wouldn’t compromise the overall “health” of your car with cheaper, more convenient fuel, give your body the same respect and fuel it with foods that are, well, super.
Meet the experts
Emily Wert Brainerd is a wellness consultant with Arthur J. Gallagher. She spends her days working with business owners to develop worksite cultures that support the health and total well-being of their employees.
Favorite superfood: “Foods that have beautiful, deep colors like blueberries, yams, spinach and kale.”
Kris Roach is a certified holistic health coach who empowers others with tips and tricks in the areas of nutrition, stress management, exercise and mindfulness to feel great and live their best lives.
Favorite superfood: “I love avocados! They are full of monounsaturated fats that your body can easily burn for energy. I add them to my green smoothie every morning to make it smooth and creamy.”