Legend has it the Aztecs ate these little seeds before going into battle. And after reading the host of benefits from chia seeds, it's not too hard to believe. "This tiny seed can absorb 10 times its weight in water when added to drinks and food," says Diaz. "This makes you feel fuller, increases muscle hydration, and controls your blood sugar by slowing down how fast you burn carbohydrates, giving you longer lasting energy." Fiber-filled chia seeds also contain more omega-3s in one serving then a serving of salmon. The powers of this super food translate into big beauty benefits. "Chia seeds are more than 60 percent essential fatty acids, which strengthen skin, hair, and nails," says Vicario. "And the high protein content is essential for growth."
Turns out, Pooh Bear was on to something: bee products. "The pollen that collects on bees' bodies is 40 percent protein and contains all of the essential amino acids, trace minerals, enzymes, and folic acid," says Vicario. This makes bee products an ideal supplement for vegetarians, who can't get such benefits from meat. Bee pollen also contains nearly all B vitamins, making this super food a great energy booster come the midday slump.
Fellow bee product honey is rich in antioxidants and minerals when in its organic, raw and unfiltered state, but bee pollen outshines it as a super food. Add bee pollen to your diet by stirring it into your morning smoothie or juice.
Not all miracle foods have the title of "super" in front of them. Check out these common foods that can ease chronic pain
Ah, super foods. You know the deal: Trendy foods with hard to pronounce names (see, "acai") from far off places, that always seem to be especially far from your local grocery store. The coming and going food fads seem like an episode of "Project Runway": One day goji berries are in, the next day, they're out. It's enough to make you pine for simpler times, when all you really needed was an apple a day. A plain, easily spelled, highly accessible, apple.
But before you roll your eyes at the latest foods that are en vogue, bear with us! Super foods are more than just trendy and exotic; they're actually deserving of that luxe label. "Super foods are quality, polynutrient foods that deliver nutritional value far beyond what you'd get from average foods," says Elena Kulakovska, AADP. We're talking foods that are jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, all of which help the body return to a state of balance. So, sorry apples, you may be good for us, but these "it" ingredients are great for us.
Super foods are also known to boost the immune system, lower inflammation and cholesterol, and reduce the risk of cancer. If that laundry list of benefits isn't enough to convince you to believe the hype, then maybe good old fashioned curiosity will get you to expand what goes in your shopping cart.
To give you a nudge in the right direction, we talked to health experts to get the inside scoop on the newest super foods you should be eating. So go ahead, keep sipping on that acai and popping pomegranate seeds, but make room in your daily diet for these new super foods in town.