The glory days for the humble grapefruit hit a high in 1976. The average American ate nearly 25 pounds of the fruit that year, NPRreports. Sure, they’re pretty hefty, but 25 pounds is a lot of grapefruit to consume in 365 days. Now, how many pounds of the bitter fruit do you think you’ve consumed this year? If you’re like the average American, it’s only about five pounds. The likely reason? Grapefruit’s being outshined by newer, more-difficult-to-pronounce foods like amaranth and sorghum, kimchi and quinoa.
And it's not the only superfood in decline. The tried-and-true superstars that are probably sitting forlorn in your pantry and wasting away on grocery store shelves shouldn’t be pushed to the side. Aside from grapefruit, we bring you nine other forgotten superfoods that still deserve your affection and consumption. Plus, odds are you already love these foods—you just need a little reminder. It's like when you find that shirt you used to love crumbled up in the bottom of your dresser drawer.
Sometimes fruits get a bad rap because they pack a decent amount of sugar, but unless you’re on a specific diet or extreme fitness enthusiast looking to cut weight, fruits should have a place in your diet. Strawberries, blueberries, and the like are some of the best, most nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrates among fruits. They’re vitamin- and mineral-rich, and research even found berries capable of turning white fat into calorie-burning beige fat. Blueberries have incredibly high antioxidant levels, which help fight free radicals, slow down aging, and reduce your cancer risk; and berries are high in fiber, so they’re naturally filling. Add both to your morning cereal, yogurt, or pre- or post-workout smoothie.
Bananas are incredible versatile, portable, and palatable—but that’s not the only reason you should eat them on the regular. The potassium in one medium banana equals about 400mg, which helps lower high blood pressure and your risk for stroke; they’re loaded with digestible carbs, which helps fuel your body in everyday life and difficult workouts; plus they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that’s known to boost your mood and provide a better night’s sleep.
All the buzz around almonds has simmered down, but these nuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamin E, and unsaturated fats. Some guys avoid them because they’re high in calories, but they’re an excellent superfood for protecting your heart, digestive system, and skin. Keep them in your car or in your office so you’ll always have a smart snack on hand. What's more, almond butter is a super satisfying alternative to peanut butter; they have the same amount of calories per tablespoon, but almond butter has more calcium and fiber. Use it as a spread on whole grain bread, as a dip for fruits, even a creamy add-in on roasted vegetables.
The verdict on the health benefits of coffee and how many cups you should throw back changes seemingly daily, but that doesn’t ring true for green tea. Hot or cold, a little or a lot, green tea is an exceptional addition to your everyday diet. It comes in at just two calories per cup, but boasts cancer-fighting compounds that can kill oral cancer cells, and can significantly increase the amount of weight you lose if you pair consumption with daily exercise, according to two Penn State University studies. A bevy of other research has found green tea to aid in many more illnesses, so break out the mugs and get drinking.
Black beans, though small, offer tremendous health benefits. Fiber and complex carbs keep you energized and full throughout the day, while Omega-3 fatty acids, copper, Vitamin B-1, manganese, iron, phosphorous and magnesium offer a range of health-promoting nutrients. A 2011 study found black beans help improve insulin resistance, lowering your risk for obesity. What’s more, black beans have 15g of protein per cooked cup; that’s an impressive amount for a plant. They’re great for substituting meat in the diets of vegetarians and vegans; plus, unlike meat, they don’t have any saturated fats.
Dandelion greens, sprouts, and kale may have overshadowed spinach, but the green superfood has been a staple in diets for decades for a reason (more than one, actually.) Spinach is virtually free of cholesterol, sugar, fat, and is loaded with fiber, calcium, and beta carotene—a nutrient vital for immune-system health and good vision. One cup has just seven calories, and a bevy of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Note: It’s more nutritious raw, but if you prefer the taste of it cooked, that’s okay too.
It’s underrated and under-consumed, but the cruciferous veggie should be at the top of your produce list. It supplies your body with a healthy amount of iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin C (even more than an orange), all of which fight to keep your immune system, bones, and circulatory system functioning properly. Broccoli also has antioxidants that help repair your muscles after a heavy lifting session and phytochemicals that help keep your testosterone up and your body fat storage low.
Researchers have found men who consume a high amount of tomatoes and tomato-based products are less likely to develop prostate problems than men who rarely eat them. And unlike broccoli, tomatoes are most nutritious cooked (compared to when they're eaten raw), so you can quite literally treat them like any other fruit and munch on the go. If that’s not your style, work them in any other way you can—in juices, soups, omelets, salads, entrees… the options are pretty much endless.
At 72 calories per 3oz serving, turkey breast is a low-calorie source of protein that’s often overshadowed by chicken and fish. But you shouldn’t reserve turkey for holiday dinners alone; it’s high in B vitamins, zinc (said to boost sperm production), selenium (a known cancer fighter), and amino acids, too. What’s really appealing, though, is turkey has little to no saturated fats. If you’re looking for a lean, versatile cut—turkey is your man, er, meat.
You're probably overlooking these tiny seeds, but they're the perfect add-on to salads, yogurts, oatmeal, and more. High in dietary fiber (which helps you feel fuller longer), omega-3s (excellent for your skin and hair), and antioxidents (which benefit your cellular health), flax seeds are a small but mighty superfood.
When it comes to rice, always go for brown over white. Brown rice is loaded with whole grains, fiber, B-vitamins, and tons of minerals like selenium, manganese, and phosphorous. The milling process, which converts brown rice to white, destroys over 50 percent of all the minerals, and over 70 percent of all the B-vitamins! The choice is pretty obvious here.
Honey has been called "liquid gold" by health professionals and its benefits have been praised for years. When eaten raw, it naturally fights against allergy symptoms that plague people during the spring and summer months. It's also filled with flavonoids and antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk for certain cancers and heart disease.