Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
You’ve probably heard the word “superfood” many times, but what exactly does it mean? Generally, superfoods go above and beyond the nutritional impact of other healthy foods.
Here are a few superfoods you need to know about:
This golden spice has skyrocketed in popularity. It packs a punch in terms of health benefits. Turmeric is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. It can also sooth your stomach and may protect against diseases like cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Just don’t pull a Daisy Ridley and put it on your face.
HG tip: Add a couple of shakes to your eggs, or sprinkle some onto cooked veggies. (Don’t use too much, or your food may taste bitter.)
Fermentation is for more than booze, people! I’m talking sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, kombucha — all great for you. Fermented foods contain natural probiotics; they’re good for your gut and help you absorb nutrients better. Studies have even found them to be good for weight maintenance.
HG tip: Pair sauerkraut with turkey and whole grain bread for an open-faced sandwich, or stir some chopped kimchi into your cauliflower fried rice.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The unfiltered version delivers big benefits. For example, it’s been found to help lower blood sugar levels, which is especially good for diabetics. Studies have found it helps satiety and weight loss; one study even found it may help the body break down fats. Add in potential protection against heart disease and cancer, and ACV is a winner.
HG tip: Use it to dress your salad along with a splash of olive oil. Or mix it with water and sip a la Kourtney Kardashian.
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This spicy root is well known for its ability to calm nausea. It’s also just plain good for digestion. It has anti-inflammatory properties which have been found to help ease post-workout soreness. (Score!) Ginger is also said to be good for boosting your immune system, helping to protect against small stuff like colds and big stuff like cancer.
This superfood is everywhere! It’s full of nutrients (amino acids, protein, potassium, and more), contains antioxidants, and is an anti-inflammatory. Additionally, it can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol. And it’s good for your brain, liver, hair, and skin. You’re most likely to encounter the leaves in their dried and powdered form.
HG tip: Mix the powder into a smoothie. It’ll barely impact the taste, and you’ll get those nutritional benefits!
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!