Acorn Squash is high in a variety of nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. It’s rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids, antioxidants that protect eye health and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Plus it’s high in fiber, with 6 grams in one cup of cooked acorn squash.
More A superfoods: almonds, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, arugula, apricots
Blackberries are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese, and they’re very high in fiber—one cup has 8 grams, almost a third of the daily recommendation. Their deep purple-black color comes from anthocyanins and other antioxidants that support brain health and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
More B superfoods: broccoli, beets, bok choy, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, Brazil nuts
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that’s rich in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, antioxidants that protect against cancer, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Cauliflower is also low in calories and high in fiber, and contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants.
More C superfoods: carrots, cabbage, chia seeds, cherries, cashews, cranberries, cantaloupe
Daikon is a spicy, pungent radish used in Asian cuisine and Chinese medicine. Like cauliflower, it’s a cruciferous vegetable that’s rich in cancer-protective compounds, as well as folate, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Raw daikon is traditionally used to enhance digestion, especially after a fatty meal.
More D superfoods: dandelion greens, dates, dragon fruit
Escarole, a bitter leafy green in the chicory family, is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Its bitter flavor comes from kaempferol, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive benefits. Escarole is rich in beta-carotene and folate, and it’s an excellent source of vitamin K—crucial for bone, heart, and cognitive health.
More E superfoods: edamame, endive, eggplant, elderberries
Fava beans, also called broad beans, have a nutty, earthy flavor and, like escarole, they’re commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. Fava beans are high in protein, folate, magnesium, and other nutrients. And they’re one of the best sources of resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine and acts as a prebiotic to nourish beneficial bacteria in the gut.
More F superfoods: figs, flax, fennel, finger limes
Garlic is rich in allicin and other sulfur compounds that lower blood pressure, protect heart health, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Garlic also has potent antiviral and antibacterial properties, and its sulfur compounds may protect the liver and other organs from heavy metals.
More G superfoods: goji, grapes, grapefruit, green tea, guava
Hemp seeds are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, with a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats to protect heart health, reduce inflammation, and support healthy skin. Other compounds in hemp seeds have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and immune-supportive benefits.
More H superfoods: hazelnuts, honeydew melon, horseradish, huckleberries, habanero peppers
Related: Supercharge Your Nutrition
Indian gooseberry, also known as amalaki, is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its immune-enhancing and anti-aging benefits. Indian gooseberries are high in vitamin C, manganese, and copper, and they’re also an excellent source of flavonols, anthocyanins, and other potent antioxidants that are important for healthy aging.
More I superfoods: Italian peppers, Italian plums, Inca berries
Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, are high in potassium and iron, and loaded with fiber. They’re also an excellent source of inulin, an indigestible fiber that acts as a prebiotic to nourish beneficial bacteria in the gut and support digestive health.
More J superfoods: jalapenos, jicama, jackfruit, Japanese eggplant
Kiwi fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a versatile antioxidant that supports immune health, reduces inflammation, and supports the production of collagen, important for healthy joints and skin. Kiwis are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that protect the eyes from macular degeneration and vision loss.
More K superfoods: kale, kohlrabi, kumquats, kelp, kidney beans
Lentils are loaded with fiber and protein—one cup contains 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber, more than half of the daily recommendation. They’re also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins, and they’re rich in polyphenols like procyanidin and flavanols that reduce inflammation and protect the brain.
More L superfoods: lima beans, limes, lettuce, leeks, lemons, lychee
Mushrooms are high in beta glucans, compounds that support the immune response and have potent antiviral activities. Shiitakes and medicinal mushrooms have the highest amounts, but even “everyday” mushrooms like creminis, portobellos, and white buttons contain decent amounts. And mushrooms are good sources of selenium, a powerful antioxidant that supports immune health and protects against heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.
More M superfoods: mangoes, mulberries, mangosteen, mustard greens, Mandarin oranges
Natto, a traditional Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans, is rich in vitamins and minerals, and the fermentation process yields a variety of probiotics that improve gut, bone, and heart health and support immune function.
More N superfoods: nectarine, nopal, Napa cabbage
Olives are high in monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid, linked with heart health and decreased inflammation. They also contain a variety of antioxidants, including oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleanolic acid, and quercetin, that protect against free radicals and reduce inflammation.
More O superfoods: okra, oatmeal, onions, oranges
Papaya is exceptionally high in vitamin C, and it’s rich in carotenoid antioxidants that protect cognitive health and reduce the risk of cancer. Papayas also contain papain, an enzyme that helps break down protein and improve digestion.
More P superfoods: pumpkin, parsnips, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, peaches, plums, pistachios, prunes, pomegranate
Related: Superfood Superstars
Quinoa features fiber, protein, and a variety of amino acids. It also contains quercetin and kaempferol, flavonoid antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-enhancing effects.
More Q superfoods: quince, quandong (Australian fruit called “native peach”), quenepa (native to South America, also called “Spanish lime”)
Radicchio, also known as red endive, is a member of the chicory family that’s common in Mediterranean cuisine. Its reddish-purple hue comes from anthocyanins, antioxidants that protect the eyes and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline. Radicchio is also high in vitamin K, to support heart and bone health.
More R superfoods: rutabaga, radishes, red bell peppers, raspberries, rhubarb
Swiss chard is packed with nutrients, especially vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, and beta-carotene, to protect against cancer and support heart health. It’s also high in antioxidants, including kaempferol, quercetin, and vitexin, a type of flavonoid that lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and inhibits blood clotting.
More S superfoods: sesame seeds, spinach, seaweed, strawberries, sweet potatoes
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against sun damage, supports heart health, and reduces the risk of certain cancers, especially prostate, breast, and lung cancer It’s also an excellent source of potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
More T superfoods: turnips, turnip greens, tangerines, tamarind, turmeric
Ugli Fruit, a lumpy, bumpy cross between an orange and a grapefruit, is a type of tangelo that hails from Jamaica. It’s rich in vitamin C and flavonoid antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect against free radicals. Ugli fruit is also high in potassium, an electrolyte mineral that’s important for proper muscle contractions, nerve signals, and heart function.
More U superfoods: ugni (a small berry native to South America)
Vidalia onions are grown in a specific region of Georgia that has lower levels of sulfur in the soil, which yields onions with a mild, sweet flavor rather than the characteristic pungent bite. They’re higher in folate than other onions, and they’re a rich source of chromium, a trace mineral that helps regulate blood sugar. Vidalias also contain quercetin for immune support and anti-inflammatory benefits.
More V superfoods: velvet tamarind, voavanga fruit (aka Spanish-tamarind), Valencia oranges
Walnuts are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and they’re significantly higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats than any other nut. Walnuts also have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including vitamin E and polyphenols, to protect cells against free radical damage.
More W superfoods: watermelon, wheatgrass, wolfberries (goji berries), watercress
Xocolatl is the original Mayan term for chocolate (because no superfood list is complete without chocolate). “Xocolatl” roughly translates to “bitter water” and typically refers to a beverage made from crushed cacao beans, chili peppers, and water. Whatever the origin of the name, chocolate is rich in magnesium and antioxidants that protect the heart and improve brain function.
More X superfoods: xoconostle(a type of prickly pear cactus), ximenia fruit (a tropical plum), xigua (the Chinese word for watermelon)
Yuca, also known as cassava, is a root vegetable native to South America and Africa. The powdered root is used to make tapioca flour. Yuca is rich in potassium, choline, and antioxidants, and it’s an excellent source of resistant starch to nourish beneficial bacteria in the intestines and improve gut health.
More Y superfoods: yuzu, yams, yacon, yardlong beans
Zucchini is low in calories and contains both soluble and insoluble fiber to support digestion and gut health. The skin is rich in carotenoids, especially lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, that support vision, protect the heart, and reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer.
More Z superfoods: Zinfandel grapes