What are Superfoods?
Nutrient dense foods of vegetarian origin are referred to as ‘green superfoods.’ These have several advantages over traditional food.
The major advantage is that one serving can give a daily recommended allowance for most of the constituents of foods. In addition, a lot of alleged health benefits, including slimming and preventive, as well as curative powers in a number of metabolic conditions, have made green superfoods quite popular.
Constituents of Superfoods
Amino acids: Most superfoods contain all essential and non-essential
amino acids, thus making for top quality protein. Furthermore, weight
to weight, they contain more protein than any other food including
meat, fish, and eggs.
Vitamins: superfoods are rich in vitamins, especially vitamin B
complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Beta carotene and
Pantothenic acid are also present in ample amounts.
Essential fatty acids: are also an important constituent of green
superfoods, thus help to maintain cholesterol metabolism.
Minerals and trace elements: like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium,
zinc, etc. are found in great quantities in these superfoods as well.
Phytochemicals: like Beta carotene and Lycopene; these have been
claimed to be effective against prostate cancer and cardiovascular
Strong consumption of fiber helps in decreased fat absorption; this
may help in a number of metabolic diseases, viz., obesity, diabetes,
cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Advantages of Green Superfoods
Energy metabolism: green superfoods help in proper calorific expenditure, thus improving metabolism. This gives a renewed sense of
vigor and an increase in vitality and productivity. Some have even claimed that superfoods lead to longevity of human life.
Green Superfoods also decrease absorption of fats in the small intestines. Also, it reduces cravings for food. The overall effects
are better weight management.
Diabetes: researchers have claimed that green superfoods cause a
better control of blood sugar levels. In addition, weight management
with the use of green superfoods also adds to potential beneficial
effects seen in diabetes.
Cardiovascular diseases: decreased absorption of cholesterol and
triglycerides have been seen with green superfood consumption. Its
anti-atherogenic properties, (preventing formation of blood clots),
may prove to be beneficial in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Arthritis: flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, micro element selenium,
etc. found in superfoods may benefit arthritis through their antiinflammatory
Immune function: superfoods, by providing an alkaline environment,
combat the acidic properties of modern day foods. Also, detoxification
and cleansing of the internal environment by provision of antioxidants
like vitamin C and superoxide dismutase add to this function.
Other conditions: allergies, asthma, cancer, thyroid disorders, etc.
may also benefit from consumption of superfoods.
Spirulina is a microscopic plant, (green algae), which grows in fresh water ponds. It is a rich source of proteins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Some may include a boost in immunity and could help to maintain vigor and vitality.
Chlorella is another microscopic plant, similar to Spirulina. It is a
rich source of high quality protein, containing 7g protein per 10g of
serving. It may be effective in combating heart disease, high blood
pressure, diabetes, and depression.
Wheat grass is a young grass of the wheat plant can be used as a food
supplement. Similar to the other superfoods, it is nutrient-rich and
contains amino acids, vitamins, and trace elements. It may help fight
cancer and has a role in energy metabolism and immunity.
Barley grass is a very rich source of calcium and vitamins B complex
and C. It also contains high quality proteins and trace elements
like potassium, manganese, and zinc. Trace elements like zinc are
considered important for immunity and sexual functions.
Alfalfa is a legume with dietary and medicinal uses. Advantages
on daily consumption may include; lowering of blood sugar and
cholesterol, thus is considered beneficial in diabetes and
cardiovascular diseases. One word of caution: alfalfa is generally
very well tolerated, however, it can sometimes cause lupus flares due
to the presence of amino acid L-canavanine. Also, rarely, it can cause
pancytopenia (low counts for all types of blood cells), skin eruptions
and stomach upsets.
Other green superfoods available in the market; bee pollen, coconut
oil, flaxseed oil, ginseng, guarana, hemp seeds, psyllium, and stevia.
Availability and consumption of superfoods
Most superfoods are available in the market in the form of tablets,
capsules, or powders. Tablets and capsules can be consumed as such
with a glass of water or juice. Powders can be sprinkled on food such
as salad dressing, blended in a glass of juice, or as a topping on any
For the modern man, consumption of green superfoods is the need of the
hour. Not only do they provide most of the nutrients in one serving,
but also have a number of potential health benefits. Most of them have
alleged preventive and curative powers in a number of disease states.
This makes them an effective part of a strategy to maintain a healthy
food intake, reduce stress, and combat diseases.
About the Author
Tom Hines, co-owner of Nutritiongeeks.com, (Minnesota’s #1 Now Foods
retailer), has been working in the nutrition industry since 1997
and is a retired power lifter. He has a true passion for creatively
helping others to learn about health and nutrition, which enhances
their lives and well-being. He also believes in supplements as part of
his daily routine, taking Spirulina everyday has been essential to his
health. He lives on the prairie in West Central Minnesota, and spends
his leisure time coaching youth wrestling, working with his horses,
and being play toy #1 for his 3 boys; TJ, Grady, and Brock.
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