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Antioxidants, Phytochemicals and SuperFoods - Oh My!

Updated on November 1, 2013

SuperFoods to Include in Your Daily Meals and Snacks

Superfoods are colorful, nutrient-rich foods and are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are one food source that are recommended to consume daily.

There are many health benefits to consuming super foods that include anti-aging, promoting heart health and helping protect against cancers.

After giving the vitamin and mineral lecture that included antioxidants, phytochemicals and superfoods to my college nutrition students for the umpteenth time, I decided it was finally time to translate some of that nutrition information into health information that readers could understand and use, to improve their own health.

Some examples of Superfoods include: Asparagus, Avocados, Basil, Blueberries, Coffee, Garlic, Greek Yogurt, Green Tea, Kale, Olive Oil, Nuts, Pomegranates, Pumpkin, Seeds, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes and Walnuts. Many of these foods can be easily incorporated into meals and snacks.

Eating an abundance of healthy foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps supply the body with the materials needed to promote health and prevent disease.

Take a look at the different antioxidant-rich Super foods and see which ones you are already eating and which ones you could included in your meals.

Super foods Photo Collage by Kirsti A. Dyer. (For full credits see the bottom of the page)

Do you know why eating a rainbow of foods is healthy?

Colorful, Health-Promoting Foods

Superfoods Collage by Kirsti A. Dyer
Superfoods Collage by Kirsti A. Dyer

Superfoods Collage by Kirsti A. Dyer (See full credits at the end of the page)

Superfoods to Include in Your Meals and Snacks

This list is by no way inclusive, but it is a list of generally common super foods, many of which can be incorporated into meals and snacks.

  1. Avocado
  2. Basil
  3. Berries
  4. Coffee
  5. Dark Chocolate (85 %)
  6. Garlic
  7. Greek Yogurt
  8. Green Leafy Vegetables
  9. Olive Oil
  10. Pomegranates
  11. Sweet Potatoes
  12. Walnuts

The Longevity Kitchen on Amazon

The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods [120 Recipes for Vitality and Optimal Health]
The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods [120 Recipes for Vitality and Optimal Health]

Discover tasty and tantalizing ways to prepare foods so your taste buds will say "Yum!" from Chef and food-lover Rebecca Katz.

 
Roasted Asparagus by Candyb
Roasted Asparagus by Candyb

Asparagus is an outstanding source of vitamin K containing nearly 70% of one's daily value in a cup serving. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C, B1 (thiamin), B6, folate and minerals iron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, potassium and phosphorus.

In addition to all of the vitamins and minerals asparagus is a good source of protein and fiber with approx. 3 grams of each in a one cup serving. Asparagus also contains the nutrient inulin, a probiotic, which becomes a good food source for the happy bacteria that live in your intestines, especially the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli varieties.

The super foods used in this recipe include asparagus, olive oil, the nuts (especially if you use walnuts) and arugula or spinach if you serve as a salad.

This antioxidant-rich recipe for roasted asparagus with nuts has been adapted from Rebecca Katz's recipe for Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts found in The Longevity Kitchen recipe book above.

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 25 min
  • Yields: 4

Ingredients

  • Roasted Asparagus:
  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hazelnuts (Walnuts or Pistachio nuts)
  • Optional Salad:
  • 2 to 4 cups Arugula, Spinach or Mixed Greens
  • Additional 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from fresh lemon (or lime)
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line baking sheets with foil.
  3. Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the tougher ends.
  4. Place asparagus on the baking sheets and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil of oil
  5. Roll the asparagus in the oil to cover, then sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes until tender.
  7. To serve the asparagus as a salad make a dressing by whisking together the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon (or lime) juice, pepper and salt.
  8. Toss the arugula with the half of the olive oil dressing mixture.
  9. Place arugula on a plate.
  10. Add the roasted asparagus.
  11. Drizzle with remaining oil dressing.
  12. Sprinkle with nuts of your choice (hazelnuts, walnuts, pinenuts, sliced almonds or pistachio nuts).
5 stars from 1 rating of Recipe: Roasted Asparagus with Nuts

Why do I need to worry about antioxidants?

Understanding Antioxidants - Video

HealthSpanUK offers this helpful video that makes it easier to understand antioxidants.

Definitions - Antioxidants, Phytochemicals and Superfoods

  • Antioxidants

    Antioxidant is often defined as "chemical compounds that can inhibit oxidation." They often work by neutralizing or blocking damaging free radicals that lead to cell damage and aging. Examples of antioxidants include: vitamins E, C, beta carotene and the mineral selenium.


  • Phytochemicals

    Phytochemicals (also known as Phytonutrients) are health-promoting organic components found in plants. Examples of phytochemicals include: beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, flavonoids, reservatrol and ellagic acid


  • Superfoods

    Super foods simply are foods considered to be beneficial to health. Examples of super foods include the ones listed on this page.

Eat Antioxidant-Rich Superfoods Daily

Superfoods Collage by Kirsti A. Dyer
Superfoods Collage by Kirsti A. Dyer

Which of these healthful foods do you (or could you) include in what you eat weekly?

See results

Articles on Antioxidants, Phytochemicals and Superfoods

To find out more information on antioxidants, phytochemicals (phytonutrients) and super foods take a look at some of these articles.

Books on Superfoods

If you are interested in learning more about Super foods and cooking with health-promoting foods see these hand-selected books.

Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet
Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet

A useful resource for learning all about 200 superfoods. Includes a page of health benefits and how to make the most out of each food featured.

 
SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life
SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life

Get a copy of the NYTimes best selling book on 14 Super Foods that will enhance your health and change your life. Many of the foods are the ones featured on this page.

 
Superfood Kitchen: Cooking with Nature's Most Amazing Foods (Julie Morris's Superfoods)
Superfood Kitchen: Cooking with Nature's Most Amazing Foods (Julie Morris's Superfoods)

Natural Chef Julie Morris shows how to cook with her favorite healthy foods.

 
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating

Find out how to eat healthier and the scientific reasons for including an abundance of antioxidants in your foods.

 
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why

Learn about the health benefits and nutrients of 150 of the healthiest foods.

 

Superfoods Collage Photo Credits

The Superfoods Photo Collage was created in Fotor using Creative Commons and Royalty Free Use photos from the following photographers:

  • Blueberries by
  • sateda
  • . Royalty Free Use.
  • Pomegranate Seeds by
  • yasha000
  • . Royalty Free Use.
  • Coffee (Kaffee) by
  • noreg
  • . Royalty Free Use.
  • Kale Chips by
  • Joyosity
  • . Creative Commons License.

The Colorful Health Promoting foods collage was created in Fotor using Creative Commons and Royalty Free Use photos from the additional following photos:

  • Asparagus by
  • Candyb
  • . Creative Commons License.
  • Avocado by
  • Brybs
  • . Royalty Free Use.
  • Basil by
  • topfer
  • . Royalty Free Use.
  • Pomegranates by
  • konikaori
  • . Royalty Free Use.
  • Wild Salmon by
  • Woodley Wonder Works
  • . Creative Commons License.
  • Greek Yogurt by
  • Janine
  • . Creative Commons License.

The Superfoods Poll Collage was created in Fotor using Creative Commons and Royalty Free Use photos from the additional following photographs.

  • Walnuts by
  • Egahen
  • . Royalty Free Use.
  • Chocolate Squares by
  • Violator06
  • . Royalty Free Use.

Do you think you will be adding any of these superfoods to your daily meals?

Comment on Healthful Superfoods to Add to Your Meals

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    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @OrganicHealthAn: Keeping them handy makes it easier to keep them in mind.

    • OrganicHealthAn profile image

      OrganicHealthAn 4 years ago

      My partner and I already eat a few of the foods that you talk about but it was really handy to have so much extra info on menus, recipes and that sort of thing. as you say its all very well to just write a list of foods but actually making it easy for people to use them daily is much better.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @TapIn2U: Good luck!

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @getmoreinfo: You'll feel healthier for it.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      This is a great list of superfoods, I will have to try them.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      Wow! I'm going to include these on my diet. Sundae ;-)

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @JoleneBelmain: Figured if there was a list, it might be easier for people to add some to their diets.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 4 years ago

      There are several Superfoods on your list that I already eat or drink on a daily basis. That's a great list if super good ingredients to start living healthier today :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes of course.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @tonyleather: Thank you. I hope you learned something.

    • profile image

      tonyleather 4 years ago

      Wonderfully informative and well presented lens!

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @Merrci: Good!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Yes!