Top 10 South Beach Diet Superfoods

On the South Beach Diet we recommend eating plenty of fresh, nutrient-dense whole foods in a rainbow of colors to improve your overall health and weight loss. Here are 10 delicious superfoods to incorporate regularly into your diet:


  1. Wild salmon (and other omega-3-rich fish) Fatty cold-water fish such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel (except king mackerel), anchovies, and sardines can be enjoyed on all Phases of the South Beach Diet. All are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and inflammation, and play a role in improving mood and preventing memory loss.


  2. Broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale are antioxidant powerhouses that can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promote normal eyesight, improve gastrointestinal function, and reduce age-related memory loss. A sulfur compound called suforaphane found in broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables may increase the activity of cancer-fighting enzymes in the body. Enjoy them on all Phases.


  3. Sweet potatoes (and other bright orange vegetables) An outstanding source of carotenoids (including beta carotene), as well as vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron, sweet potatoes (and other orange vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, and butternut squash) can help reduce high blood pressure, fight cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, and boost your resistance to colds and infections. Enjoy them beginning on Phase 2.


  4. Blueberries Ranked as one of the healthiest fruits for its antioxidant capacity, blueberries are packed with pectin (a form of soluble fiber) as well as vitamin C. Blueberries have been shown to help improve cholesterol levels and protect against stroke, and also may help prevent the short-term memory loss associated with aging. You can introduce blueberries and other whole fruits on Phase 2.


  5. Beans and other legumes Whether you choose black, navy, kidney, white, pinto, garbanzos, or lentils, for example, legumes are loading with filling protein and soluble and insoluble fiber. They can help lower LDL cholesterol and improve digestion. The fiber in beans also helps reduce blood-sugar levels, making them a good choice for people with diabetes. Start with a 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving and enjoy on all Phases.


  6. Whole grains Recent studies have shown that eating high-fiber whole grains (brown and wild rice, barley, quinoa, oats, millet, barley, and whole-wheat, for example) can actually lower the risk of diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar and insulin production. Whole grains also help prevent artery-clogging atherosclerosis by decreasing cholesterol absorption. Whole grains can be introduced on Phase 2.


  7. Nuts and seeds Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds are all excellent sources of protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. When substituted for saturated fat in the diet, nuts and seeds can help lower total cholesterol as well as bad LDL cholesterol without affecting levels of good HDL cholesterol. Since nuts and seeds are calorie-dense, limit your total intake to about 1 ounce (1/4 cup) per day on all Phases.


  8. Extra-virgin olive oil Monounsaturated olive oil contains a potent mix of antioxidants (polyphenols in particular) that can help lower LDL cholesterol when substituted for saturated fats in the diet. Some research suggests that the cholesterol-lowering effects of olive oil are even greater if you use extra-virgin olive oil, which is less processed and therefore contains more polyphenols. Enjoy 2 tablespoons of this oil on all Phases.


  9. Reduced fat and fat-free dairy products There is mounting evidence that something in dairy foods (milk, yogurt, and cheeses), perhaps the calcium, not only strengthens bones but also helps to protect the heart, reduce high blood pressure, and fight breast cancer. The jury is still out about whether dairy can help improve weight loss. Always choose fat-free or reduced-fat products on all Phases.


  10. Dark chocolate Several studies have shown that eating dark chocolate in moderation (about 1 ounce a day beginning on Phase 2) can lower blood pressure (probably due to the beneficial effects of its polyphenols on blood flow) and reduce levels of CRP, a substance (when high) that's indicative of inflammation in the body. Select brands of dark chocolate that contain at least 70% cacao and thus the least amount of sugar.

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Jennifer K.

Jennifer K. Lost 110 lbs with The South Beach Diet!

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