In the current scenario, the vitality of superfoods is hitting an all-time momentum. But what really are superfoods and why is it important to include them in our daily diet?
Superfood is a term used to describe nutrient dense food with an overflowing amount of antioxidants. These foods are low in calories making it a great way to lose or control weight and contains high amount of fiber, which helps in the digestion process while its calcium content promotes healthy bones. The omega-3 fatty acids is essential to promote hearth’s health and its antioxidant properties aids in combating the harmful free radicals that damages the healthy cells in the body.
There are many superfoods that are easily available in the retail stores near you. They are generally derived from fruits and vegetables as well as other foods like yogurt, salmon, grains and other food additives like soybeans, flax seeds, and quinoa.
Since various fruits and vegetables differs from their nutrient content, it is best to consume a variety of them. Some of the healthiest superfoods found on earth are the following:
The humble beans are full of calcium, iron, potassium, b-vitamins, protein, and fiber that are all essential for the human body. Beans are considered as both vegetable and a protein, occupying two slots in the food pyramid. Whether it is dried or canned beans, it has become a staple ingredient in many traditional dishes. You can simply incorporate beans in dishes; add them to soups and stews or as a concoction to your favorite snacks and appetizers.
Blueberries are well-known for their antioxidant properties. The anthocyanins, a naturally occurring pigment that gives fruit and vegetables their purple, blue and dark red colors is an important antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of heart disease, prevents cancers, and prevents age-related memory loss.
This cruciferous vegetable is a great source of the anti-cancer compound called sulforaphane. According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE “the incubating sulforaphane fights with cells of acute lymphobastic leukemia and causes the cancer cells to die without having negative effects on healthy cells.
Oatmeal is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber which helps lower bad cholesterol. Incorporating oatmeal to your diet helps in cases of diabetes, obesity and cancer.
Oranges has more to offer than just the known Vitamin C. It has about 60 flavonoids and 170 phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Hesperidin is a flavonoid found in oranges which helps in regulating high blood pressure. The Liminoid in oranges reduces the risk of cancers.
This widely grown vegetables is packed full with essential vitamins and minerals that our body needs. For instance, a 100 grams of pumpkin contains 7,384 mg of Vitamin A, about 246% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin A. Poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds is also found in pumpkins. Some of these compounds are cryptoxanthin, lutein, zea-xanthin and beta carotenes.
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which works wonders by lowering bad cholesterols and triglyceride levels while increasing the levels of good cholesterols, protect the nervous system from the deteriorating effects of aging, repairs heart damage and strengthen the heart muscles.
It is a member of the soy family and has been a dietary staple in many Asian countries. It is an excellent source of dietary protein and various essential amino acids. It is also a good source of isoflavones and fiber which aids in numerous health conditions.
Spinach is naturally low in calories yet rich in vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients. This leafy green vegetable is packed full of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B2, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. It also contains flavonoids which act as an antioxidant which protects the body from harmful free radicals.
Aside from it’s a good alternative to coffee, tea whether black or green, offers a high concentration of EGCG, a potent antioxidant that have therapeutic claims in many health conditions. It also boosts brain cell production which aids in preventing memory loss.
Lycopene is a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables their red color. It belongs to the carotenoid family which includes beta-carotene, lutein, and zeathin. A study has shown that patients with prostate cancer who are taking 15 mg of supplemental lycopene had shown improvements in cancerous lesions and decreases in the PSA score. Lycopene significantly showed protection against the development of breast tumors.
Turkey is not just the main course for thanksgiving; it is also the perfect choice for many health enthusiasts. It is a good source of protein, selenium, vitamin B3 and B6. Its protein provides 65% of your recommended daily intake of protein and selenium is essential for the healthy function of the thyroid and immune system.
Munching on walnuts does not only make you feel full but also gives you the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Its polyunsaturated fatty acids improve blood lipids and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Walnuts contain an adequate amount of fiber which helps regulate movement through the gastrointestinal tract.
When we hear yogurt, we usually think about probiotics, but how does it help our body? Yogurts are made using naturally-balanced living good bacteria. These good bacteria help in various digestive problems including irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal illnesses, delay the development of allergies in children and for treating vaginal and urinary infections in women.