When it comes to healthy eating, we often hear about the latest and greatest superfoods. With the constant influx of new research, we are always learning about new nutritional powerhouses, so it's good to stay on top of all the unique superfoods you should be eating. You may already know about quinoa and kale, but there are many other, less well-known foods that are filled with important antioxidants and nutrients and should be incorporated into your daily diet.
Although there is no scientific guideline for what makes something a superfood, it is usually defined as a nutrient-dense food with vitamins and minerals that provide health benefits far greater than other foods.
"When you choose a superfood over a less beneficial ingredient, you give your body the best tools to take on each day from one source," says Daniel Magoon, RD of Snap Kitchen. "Imagine if you include a variety of nutrient-dense superfoods regularly in your diet — your body works hard to keep you healthy through our busy schedules, and this is just one way you can make its job a little easier."
If you're looking to kick your diet up a notch this year, try incorporating these seven unique superfoods into your diet.
1. Kabocha Squash
"Like all winter squash, kabocha is packed with carotenoids and vitamin A for eye health, plus vitamin C, fiber, and many other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants," says Claire Siegel, RD at Snap Kitchen. "This little green pumpkin is unique in that you can eat the skin that covers the sweet orange flesh."
This herb is filled with an abundance of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, and it has also been show to help fight inflammation, according to LIVESTRONG. "With the flavor of licorice and the texture of celery, fennel makes a lovely and unique addition to many salads and side dishes," says Siegel.
"This African fruit is naturally dehydrated inside the pod, so it is particularly high in vitamin C, potassium, and calcium as well as fiber, magnesium, and other antioxidants," says Magoon. "For those on the go, you can easily add [baobab] powder into shakes or yogurt for a delicious and nutritious health boost."
This strong, yellow spice can do wonders for your immune system. It's an anti-inflammatory, can help fight off infections, and it can even protect against cancer, according to numerous studies. Sprinkle the spice on your eggs, in soups, or even in smoothies for an immune-system boost.
"Packed with folate, manganese, potassium, and antioxidants, the jewel-colored veggie is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying," says Siegel. "Their buttery texture and slightly sweet flavor makes them the perfect addition to any main course or salad when served steamed or roasted."
Hailing from Ethiopia, teff is a grain often used as a gluten-free flour alternative. It is filled with protein, fiber, calcium and iron, and it can be eaten whole, steamed, boiled or baked, making it a versatile option for meals.
7. Black Raspberries
Most of us know that red raspberries are an incredible source of antioxidants, but black raspberries are filled with the good stuff as well. In fact, a study published in the journal Open Chemistry found that black raspberries contain three times the amount of antioxidants as their red counterpart.Incorporating different superfoods into your meals can switch up your diet and ensure that you're getting a proper balance of vitamins and other nutrients.