There has been a lot of talk about superfoods lately, so much so that you might be wondering if they are just a trend or something that you need to take a closer look at.
These superfoods come with super claims, and with some backed by scientific evidence assure us that eating these foods will help keep our bodies healthy and fight aging and disease.
From keeping skin clear to fighting cancer, superfoods are praised highly for their effects on health and well-being. In fact, a recent study conducted showed that 61% of people have bought a product just because it was labeled as a superfood.
What Are Superfoods?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, superfoods are “a super nutrient-dense food, loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and/or phytonutrients.”
Basically, superfoods are any food, but are typically fruits and vegetables, that offers more health benefits above other foods. Many of these foods have been around for years, such as quinoa, which was a primary food source of the Incans.
On the other side, some superfoods were once deemed unhealthy, but new research has brought their true nature into the health spotlight, such as with coconut oil.
What Can Superfoods Do For Your Health?
Superfoods are labeled as such because of the incredible amount of nutrients they provide.
With vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and more, these foods not only boost your health but can also help to protect the body from serious disease and illness.
High in Nutrients
Superfoods are incredibly high in the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to continue running optimally. Spirulina, for example, contains every nutrient that our body needs to function.
It is incredibly high in protein, B-vitamins, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. Superfoods such as spirulina aid in overall health by supplying the body with numerous essential nutrients in quantities you can’t find in other foods.
Antioxidants are compounds that help to fight off free radicals in the body. These free radicals scour the body, damaging cells and causing oxidation and inflammation.
If not protected against them, the body can eventually succumb to their damage and fall prey to age-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease and even diabetes.
Superfoods, such as chia seeds and flaxseeds, are incredibly beneficial to heart health due to their outstanding omega-3 content.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for preventing inflammation in the body, thus protecting the heart as well as aiding optimal brain function.
Flaxseeds are the highest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, with chia seeds coming in second. Flaxseeds also contain lignans, a type of antioxidant, that has been linked with reducing bad cholesterol levels in the body.
Current Popular Superfoods
New superfoods are gaining popularity daily, however the following superfoods are the most popular currently:
Kale – Kale has recently been touted as “the new beef” due to its incredible iron content. Per calorie, kale contains more iron than beef. Kale is also high in antioxidants as well as vitamin K, the vitamin that helps blood clot and increase bone health.
Quinoa – The “mother of all grains” as deemed by the Incans is actually not a grain at all but a seed. Considered a complete protein, quinoa is high in magnesium, manganese and vitamin B2 as well as iron. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, which makes it a terrific option for those who battle gluten intolerance.
Spirulina – Spirulina is incredibly nutritious, containing every nutrient necessary for our body’s organs and function. With antioxidants that help to lower oxidative damage from free radicals, spirulina can lower bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides, protecting the heart from disease. It is also extremely rich in chlorophyll, which aids in detoxying the blood of harmful toxins.
Goji Berries – Goji berries are incredibly rich in antioxidants. They contain an immense amount of vitamin C to boost immune health, provide beta-carotene for eye health, and contain natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds – Chia seeds and flax seeds are both good sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for heart and brain health. They are loaded with fiber, protein and nutrients for overall health.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil was once avoided due to its saturated fat content, but recent research has shed new light on coconut oil and its benefits.
Coconut oil’s saturated fats aren’t the same as those found in butter or beef, but rather are medium chain fatty acids, or MCTs. These fatty acids are metabolized differently by the body, becoming a quick source of energy for the body and the brain.
Are Superfoods For Me?
The truth is, almost every fruit and vegetable can be considered a superfood. Produce is the cheapest superfood out there and it comes naturally from the earth, so you don’t have to worry about artifical ingredients being added.
There is no denying however, that superfoods truly are beneficial for health and well-being. The nutrients that these foods supply the body with can’t be beaten by other foods, and while some of them can be on the pricey side, their nutrient content makes them worth it.
Who superfoods are for:
- those who are looking to increase their overall health and well-being
- those who need more vitamins and minerals in their diet
- those who suffer from diabetes, arthritis and other inflammation-related diseases
- those who struggle with eating fruits and vegetables
If you have been on the fence about whether or not to add superfoods to your diet, you should take the time to research them and their benefits.
Not all claims of these superfoods have been well researched, but more and more studies are being done as the popularity of these foods rises.
While superfoods don’t need to take up your entire diet, including a few into your daily routine will boost your health immensely.