The Benefits of Adding Super Foods to Your Diet

Friday, 26 June 2009 12:22 Written by  Shameka V. Robinson

In a time of economical challenges, eating healthy and/or attempting to maintain a healthy lifestyle can seem difficult for some. Many American families are forced to purchase their daily meals on a cost-efficient budget. On top of that, we are bombarded with information on a daily basis telling us what and how much we should eat. 

 For some people, eating healthy means going on a diet to lose weight or eliminating the foods they enjoy.

According to a 2009 Food and Nutrition survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans report making changes to improve the healthfulness of their diet. In this same study, 79 percent agreed to change the types of food and/or food components they eat, and 80 percent agreed that exercise/physical activity was one of the top three things that people can do to maintain good health.

Experts suggest individuals eat a variety of foods instead of a large amount of one specific food. A super food is a food that provides a high content of vitamins and minerals to the body.

“When I’m educating individuals, I talk about the super diet as opposed to super foods,” said Constance Brown-Riggs, a registered dietitian/nutritionist and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

“Individuals are better if they think in terms of a super diet and that diet allows them to manage their weight, prevent heart disease and chronic illnesses, high blood pressure and diabetes.”

Riggs said a healthy, balanced diet consists of eating foods in moderation. She continued to stress that it’s important for a person to think of their whole diet and not to focus on one or two particular foods. “Each food has a major nutrient or a major health benefit; that’s why it’s important to eat a variety, because not all super foods will prevent the same illnesses,” she said.

Riggs also encourages consumers to read nutrition facts and the ingredient list while shopping for food items. “The buzz about super foods and how it benefits a consumer lifestyle has caused many consumer companies to make money off certain super foods containing things that aren’t good for the body,” said Riggs.

She then stated people tend to believe eating healthy requires spending a lot of money. “It’s not as difficult as people think it is, she said. It does require cooking more at home, but you can maintain good health on a budget.”

With healthcare being the main concern of many people, Riggs advises people to make small, gradual changes especially if this lifestyle is new to you. “Find out which illnesses are common in the family, exercise, keep weight under control and follow the super diet,” she said. “Small changes do make a difference.”

Many of the major causes of diseases and diabetes in the United States are related to poor diet and lack of activity. “The key message with the super foods is choosing foods that are nutrient dense, not calorie dense,” said Breanna Oberlin, dietetic intern at Rush University Medical Center.

Oberlin said a poor diet with no physical activity, which is taking in more calories than you’re actually burning, is what leads to obesity and being overweight. Eating healthy requires sacrifice and determination. “The important thing to keep in mind with special diets is there is no quick fix; you have to be dedicated to making lifestyle choices that are helpful,” she said.

Oberlin said there is a tremendous benefit to living a healthy lifestyle. “As we age, many people experience an increase in health problems: that’s why it’s important to improve your dietary intake,” she said.

Oberlin suggests individuals should include these super foods in their diet:

Berries: a lot of antioxidants, low in calories and high in fiber
Kiwi: one kiwi supplies your daily requirement for Vitamin C, and its high in fiber
Avocado: (technically a fruit) high in fiber with several vitamins and minerals, rich in mono- saturated fat (which is in olive oil)

Vegetables (Choose dark green leafy vegetables and dark orange vegetables)
Kale and Spinach: high in calcium and Vitamin K

Grains (Whole Grains)
(Q)Ouinioa (a grain that can be cooked just like rice and pretty inexpensive) high in protein, the grain with the most protein, high in fiber, and it’s naturally a good source of iron
Oats: a good source of fiber that helps lower cholesterol and prevents heart disease and improve the regulatory system

Dairy (select low-fat or fat-free options)
A good source of calcium, protein and potassium

Lean Meats and Beans
Beans are high in protein and fiber, no saturated fat, a good source of iron
Lean meats include chicken and turkey, contains the good fat which is mono-saturated fat
(If beef is an option for you, choose the meat that is loin or round)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Salmon: eat the fatty fish twice a week, (grilled or boiled) which can reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and improve your good cholesterol

Dark Chocolate (High in Antioxidants)
Has to be 70 percent cocoa or more

For more information on how to live a healthy lifestyle, visit, and


*Photography by GMO Photographer, Billy Montgomery.

Shameka V. Robinson

Shameka V. Robinson

Shameka V. Robinson is an aspiring lifestyle writer and television host who graduated from Columbia College Chicago earning a Bachelor’s of Arts in Magazine Writing and Editing. As a staff writer for GlossMagazineOnline, she’s also written articles for Urban Influence Magazine and Currently, she’s a contributing writer for the online version of the Chicago Defender.

Contact her at

Follow her on twitter: @thechicwriter


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