Nowadays, many foods are being referred to as superfoods and are becoming essential elements of a healthy diet; people consume them as preventive or curative resources. The term “superfood” offers an idea about its benefits and positive effects.
Many of these foods are often recognized as foods that help to burn fat, help to fight infections, even help to prevent cancer. They are seen to have components that make them highly desirable to improve overall health, which is why many people include them in their daily diet.
What makes food a superfood is its nutrients. Nutrients produced by fruits, plants and seeds such as stevia, algae, garcinia cambogia, spirulina, chia seeds, coconut, and others, make them superfoods. So there is a wide variety of foods classified as super that provide nutrient-rich and varied dishes with excellent properties that help to improve and maintain health.
People use superfoods to help prevent disease and to strengthen the body. However, their consumption must be measured and mixed with care; for example, when preparing juices, jams and smoothies, the recommendation is to use a minimum of sugar to obtain the greatest possible advantage from the food. Also, superfoods are great sources of vitamins and minerals, so consuming them in excess when looking for a quick improvement could lead to very high levels of these components, generating ailments and discomforts.
What are Superfoods Good for?
Superfoods are a significant source of nutrients that people have long used to heal mind and body. These foods have extra doses of vitamins and minerals that allow prevention of disease, better maintenance of general health and the extension of life. The concept of superfoods does not come from a medical or scientific point of view, and the extra dose of nutrients is the only reason why superfoods are called superfoods.
They are ideal to include in one’s daily diet because they can improve physical performance, increasing vitality and providing a feeling of rejuvenation. Much of humanity has become accustomed to the consumption of industrialized foods, and its processing leads to loss of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that are fundamental to people’s daily diet. This opens a window for superfoods to provide for the body’s nutrient needs.
Most of these foods must be eaten raw in order to preserve as much as possible of their properties, which begin to be lost when processed at high temperatures. Among the features that get lost faster when cooking are the antioxidants composed of phytonutrients and phytochemicals, which have therapeutic potential and antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Superfoods are a favorite of vegans. Similarly, a balanced diet should include foods that complement other nutrients necessary for good health.
Types of Superfoods
In general, the types of superfoods you find are:
- Greens. Most provide benefits to the digestive system, respiratory system and offer high concentrations of antioxidants. Among them are wheat grass, barley, germinated wheat, green leaves such as kale, lettuce, broccoli, parsley and chlorophyll, the green pigment itself.
- Fruits and seeds. These are high in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that protect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems and health in general. Examples are cocoa, acai, walnuts, almonds, coconut, goji berries, canary seed, linseed and chia.
- Honey and derived products. Foods with high concentrations of antioxidants that provide energy to fight tiredness and fatigue and improve the quality of sleep. Among these products are honey, royal jelly, propolis and pollen.
- Seaweed. This superfood provides significant amounts of antioxidants, calcium, iron and iodine. They are special for adults since recent studies indicate the importance of the adequate calcium (1.200 milligrams) for good health in people over 50s; also highly recommended for women. The most significant algae in this group are kelp, nori, wakame and spirulina.
- Roots and other plants. These superfoods have been used since antiquity in different cultures to protect from diseases, improve the immune system, the digestive system and to cure burns and skin diseases. Examples include nettle, echinacea, aloe vera, ginseng and other roots such as maca, turmeric and ginger.
Do you Know which Foods are Superfoods?
Superfoods are those foods that provide extraordinary or much higher amounts of nutrients, such as omega-3, vitamins A, B and D, calcium, phosphorus and antioxidants, compared with other foods.
Know what superfoods do for you:
- They help prevent premature aging by keeping cells protected and can help to prevent the development of cancer cells.
- They offer anti-inflammatory properties that are ideal for runners or athletes because they help the muscles recover much faster.
- High omega-3 contents offer healthy fats to promote mental health and improve and maintain heart health.
- Some superfoods are probiotics; these bacteria help to improve digestion and mood, fight infections and increase body resistance when training.
- The detoxifying qualities help to eliminate harmful toxins stored over time in the body.
- They provide a lot of energy, while maintaining low blood sugar levels.
- Superfoods help to promote a healthy body weight thanks to their high fiber content.
The Best Superfoods
The following are the most highly recommended superfoods for health:
- Tomato: High lycopene content helps prevent prostate cancer and slows the development of cataracts.
- Beetroot: Recommended for pregnant women and very effective as an aging retardant.
- Apple: Helps to maintain good cardiac health and keeps cholesterol levels stable.
- Acai: A fruit from a palm tree with a high content of antioxidants; used by athletes and people suffering from stress and cardiovascular diseases.
- Avocado: Fruit high in healthy fats that help reduce cholesterol, making it a useful ally for the heart.
- Coconut: A fruit that is an excellent source of minerals – its water is nutritious and helps fight dehydration.
- Pineapple: This fruit has a delicious flavor and helps with weight since it can be eaten as an only food.
- Chia: These seeds provide large amounts of omega-3, antioxidants, calcium, fiber and proteins.
- Linseeds: This seed contains significant amounts of omega-3, may help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, helps fight diabetes and can be consumed naturally or as an oil.
Roots and plants
- Ginger: Besides having anti-inflammatory, slimming and aphrodisiac properties, this powerful root is high in antioxidants and can be used as an analgesic. It is also considered a remedy for nausea and vomiting.
- Moringa: This plant contains vitamins, potassium and proteins. You can take advantage of the roots, stem, leaves and flowers.
- Stevia: Known as a natural sweetener, it serves as a replacement for sugar for people who have diabetes, and may help to improve cholesterol levels, and fight allergies and cancer.
- Olive oil: This product in its extra virgin form is a protector of mental aging, is anticarcinogenic, helps to alleviate pain and aids weight loss.
- Water kefir: Considered one of the best prebiotics, this superfood helps improve digestion, mood and the body’s defense system. This superfood can be consumed as a refreshing drink
- Spirulina: Rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that provides chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals. Spirulina has antioxidant properties, helps fight constipation and Alzheimer’s disease.