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The top 15 superfoods everyone should be eating

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Healthy BreakfastAfter ringing in the new year, everyone is working hard to stick to their resolutions — many of which include staying healthy. In health and fitness circles, “superfoods” are often lauded as keys to optimum wellness. You’ve probably seen the term on magazine covers and heard about it on the news.

Magical claims about superfoods have spread far and wide throughout the media since the term was introduced in the early 2000s. From reversing diabetes to preventing cancer, many have extrapolated the health benefits of these foods to the extreme. This has led others to claim the term is “just a marketing tool.” However, recently people have come to the agreement that the term “superfood” simply refers to foods with very high nutrient content.

Vitamins and minerals, also referred to as micronutrients, are necessary for the body to perform its essential functions. They help build strong bones, heal wounds, replenish your blood supply and bolster your immune system, to name a few. Foods containing high densities of vitamins and minerals theoretically optimize these functions in your body.

With this in mind, the experts at HealthGrove looked at five categories of food — vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes and fish — and used data from ESHA to determine the most nutrient-dense foods in each of these categories. The nutrient score of these foods was calculated by looking at the ratio of “good” nutrients (vitamins and minerals) to “bad” nutrients (fat, sodium, sugar, etc.). The top five healthiest, readily available foods in each category made the list.

#15. Blackberries

High In: Vitamin C and Vitamin K
Nutrient Score: A
Calories Per Serving: 31
Serving Size: 0.5 cup

The nutrient-dense quality of blackberries helps improve the immune system. Vitamin C maintains tissue and speeds wound healing while vitamin K regulates normal blood clotting.

#14. Cranberries

High In: Vitamin C and Vitamin K
Nutrient Score: A
Calories Per Serving: 25
Serving Size: 0.5 cup

As with blackberries, the vitamin C and vitamin K in cranberries are essential for a strong immune system. The unique phytonutrients (chemical compounds found in plants) also posses many antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

#13. Lime

High In: Vitamin C
Nutrient Score: A
Calories Per Serving: 20
Serving Size: 1.0 each

The unique flavanoids in limes provide many antioxidant and anti-cancer benefits. Additionally, vitamin C is highly beneficial to the body, since vitamin C is particularly effective at combating free radicals.

#12. Raspberries

High In: Vitamin C
Nutrient Score: A
Calories Per Serving: 32
Serving Size: 0.5 cup

Raspberries are not only high in vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant, but they also contain ellagic acid, which has also been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

#11. Rhubarb

High In: Vitamin C and Vitamin K
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 11
Serving Size: 1.0 each

Vitamin K is the most prominent vitamin in rhubarb, and it plays a vital role in brain and neuronal health.

#10. Black Beans

High In: Vitamin B1, Iron, and Phosphorus
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 156
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

The phosphorus in black beans helps bone structure, while iron plays a crucial role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones. Vitamin B1 helps the body break down fat and protein and keeps mucous membranes healthy.

#9. Edamame

High In: Folic Acid and Vitamin K
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 65
Serving Size: 0.5 cup

Folic Acid is found in many beans and lentils and it helps your body produce and maintain new cells. It also helps prevent DNA mutations that may cause cancer. Vitamin K assists with brain and nervous system health.

#8. Kidney Beans

High In: Folic Acid and Phosphorus
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 112
Serving Size: 0.5 cup

Folic Acid assists with cellular health and may help prevent DNA mutations that could cause cancer. Phosphorus is vital to cellular regulation.

#7. Lentils

High In: Vitamin B1 and Folic Acid
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 169
Serving Size: 0.25 cup

Not only do lentils provide a good source of lean protein, but the B1 helps your body convert blood sugar into energy and the folic acid promotes healthy cellular regeneration.

#6. Navy Beans

High In: Vitamin B1 and Folic Acid
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 127
Serving Size: 0.5 cup

The Vitamin B1 in navy beans not only helps your body convert blood sugar into energy, but it keeps your mucous membranes healthy and is essential for nervous system function.

#5. Asparagus Spears

High In: Vitamin K and Folic Acid
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 13
Serving Size: 4.0 each

In addition to being packed with vitamin K and folic acid, asparagus is also a very good source of fiber and a trace mineral, chromium, that enhances insulin’s ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.

#4. Borecole (Kale)

High In: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 8
Serving Size: 1.0 cup

Vitamin A assists bone growth, reproduction and immune system health, while vitamin C is an effective antioxidant and vitamin K helps with responding to injuries and regulating bone loss.

#3. Brussels Sprouts

High In: Vitamin C and Vitamin K
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 8
Serving Size: 1.0 each

Though they have high levels of vitamins C and K, brussels sprouts also provide fiber that is particularly good at aiding elimination and lowering cholesterol levels.

#2. Collard Greens

High In: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K
Nutrient Score: A+
Calories Per Serving: 12
Serving Size: 1.0 cup

Vitamin A is vital to bone growth, reproduction and immune system health. Vitamin C has fantastic antioxidant qualities and vitamin K assists your body’s immune system. Additionally, collard greens have cholesterol-lowering abilities that outshine many other vegetables.

#1. Ladies’ Fingers (Okra)

High In: Vitamin C and Vitamin K
Health Grade: A+
Calories Per Serving: 31
Serving Size: 8.0 pods

Okra is a rich source of fiber, minerals and vitamins. In addition to vitamins C and K, okra pods also contain important minerals such as iron, calcium and manganese.