Over 1,300 registered dietitians weighed in for the annual survey of “What’s Trending in Nutrition” taken by Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian to create this list of what they think will be the top 10 superfoods of 2019. Read on to learn what they say will bump past favorites kale, green tea, and salmon off the list.
The term superfood is a point of frustration among many dietitians. There’s no regulation or scientific definition of the term, which means it is used to overhype some foods or to present some as miracle foods. Surprise, there’s really no one food that’ll help you live forever! But foods given superfood designation do always have some reason for it, whether the food is high in omega-3 fatty acids, is a source of healthy bacteria to encourage gut health, is high in heart-healthy soluble fiber, or contains any number of nutrients or phytochemicals that promote good health. A list of so-called superfoods could be virtually endless, depending on who you ask. But according to nutrition experts, these are the 10 foods we’ll be seeing rise to the top in 2019:
10. Nondairy Milks
An addition to the 2019 list of superfoods that we’re not surprised to see is nondairy milk. Look at the milk section of your grocery store. You don’t even need to go to the health food department or special nutrition stores to find dozens of nut milks, trendy oat milk, soy milk, hemp milk, and more.
Related: Dairy-free milk alternatives
9. Coconut Products
It seems we may be past the peak of the coconut craze due to things like a Harvard professor referring to coconut oil “pure poison” and new saturated fat guidelines from the World Health Organization. In case you didn’t know, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil has about 13.5 grams of fat, and about 11 grams of that is saturated! Many dietitians were surprised to see the surge in its popularity a few years back for precisely this reason, but that doesn’t mean it’s going away yet. It still stands at the No. 9 position it took last year.
A regular on this survey's list of superfoods, nuts are a source of nonanimal protein, good fats, fiber, and a variety of good-for-you minerals. The growth of plant-based eating and the impressive nutrition profile means this is one superfood we can all agree on.
Beets are another newcomer to the superfood list. We know, as an ingredient beets are controversial. Some think they’re purely delicious, some only taste dirt. But there’s no arguing their growth in popularity in beet and goat cheese salads or packaged beet noodles. No arguing nutrition either. One cup cooked is full of fat-soluble vitamins A and K, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, and fiber. So if you’re on team “they taste like dirt,” it’s time to try beets pickled, roasted, or other new ways so you can reap the benefits.
Surprisingly, blueberries are new to the list in 2019. They’ve long been on other lists of superfoods due to their high antioxidant and fiber levels and anti-inflammatory abilities. Plus, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like eating them.
Related: Healthy blueberry recipes
5. Exotic Fruits
Although exotic fruits may not spring to mind when someone asks you to name a superfood, they’re a regular on this list. The trend is due, at least in part, to the popularity of smoothie bowls and acai bowls. Prepare to start seeing more recipes and foods with acai, goji berries, and golden berries this year.
4. Ancient Grains
Surely by now you’ve heard this term to identify farro, teff, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, and more. Another food with no strict definition, the Whole Grains Council generally defines ancient grains as ones that remain mostly unchanged over the last several hundred years. So today’s wheat would not fit the definition, but spelt (part of the wheat family) is.
Related: Our best whole grain recipes
Back in the No. 3 position, seeds may not be the most glamourous of foods. But if you haven’t been adding chia, flax, pepitas, hemp, sesame, and all the other seeds to your foods, you’re missing out on fun flavors, fiber, loads of different minerals, and healthy fats.
Also back in the No. 2 spot is everyone’s favorite reptilian-looking food—the avocado! Loaded with nearly 20 minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients, such as monounsaturated fat, fiber, magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, and vitamin E, avocados are nutritional powerhouses. (When you don’t eat them by the case!) And you can put them in just about everything! See our avocado recipes to see what we mean.
1. Fermented Foods
Reclaiming its throne for the second consecutive year is fermented foods. This includes foods like yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut. Why No. 1? Because we want healthy guts! New science is emerging daily on the benefits of a healthy gut and how it impacts so much of our overall health.
Related: Our 2019 food trend predictions