Superfoods are food items that are considered to be highly nutritious and hence beneficial to one’s health. They are primarily plant-based, however some include fish and dairy. Blueberries, salmon, kale, and acai are some of the few foods that have earned the “superfood” moniker. Nevertheless, there are no hard and fast rules for defining what is or isn’t a superfood.
Superfoods include a wide range of nutrients, including antioxidants, that are considered to protect against cancer. They also include good fats, that are considered to protect one against heart disease; fibre, that is believed to reduce diabetes and digestive issues; and phytochemicals, that are the compounds in plants that give plants their vivid colours and aromas and have various health advantages.
Consuming nutrient-dense foods (such as several so-called superfoods) is unquestionably beneficial. The best approach to a balanced diet, however, is to eat a variety of healthy foods in the appropriate proportions.
Some of the most common superfoods are:
Berries’ greater flavonoid content have been found to reduce the chances of a heart attack. Acai berries, blueberries, raspberries, tart cherries, cranberries, and goji berries are some of the most well-known superfood berries.
Acai berries are tiny, dark purple berries native to South America. They include 19 amino acids as well as several antioxidants. Blueberries have a high fibre, manganese, and vitamin K content. Cranberries include a flavonoid which helps reduce the incidence of urinary tract infection. Goji berries are a tiny red fruit originating from Asia that is strong in vitamin C and E, as well as a variety of flavonoids. These are commonly used in Eastern medicine for treating diabetes and hypertension as well as to promote the health of the eyes, liver, and kidneys.
Soybeans contain a high amount of isoflavones, a kind of phytochemical. Phytochemicals are substances which are naturally found in plants. According to some studies, isoflavones in soy assist in lowering the quantity of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Soy has been demonstrated in a few trials to help reduce age-related dementia. Soy isoflavones may help decrease bone degeneration and enhance bone mineral density following menopause, in addition to alleviating menstrual pain.
Tea has minimal calories, aids in water absorption, and is high in antioxidants. Catechins, which are powerful antioxidants found predominantly in green tea, have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. According to one study, both green and white tea decreased stress levels, with white tea having an even larger effect. Green tea could possibly possess anti-arthritic properties due to its ability to reduce general inflammation.
Superfood leafy greens include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, and collard greens. These foods tend to be high in vitamin A, C, E, and K, as well as several B vitamins. Carotenoids, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are also abundant in leafy greens.
Kale and other leafy greens are rich in fibre and water content, which aid in constipation prevention and encourage regularity as well as a healthier intestinal system.
Salmon and other fatty fish, such as trout and herring, have high omega-3 fatty acid content, which can reduce the risk of irregular heartbeats, lower cholesterol, and prevent the formation of arterial plaque.
Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of flavonoids, according to research. Flavonoids have antioxidant properties, can actually reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and some forms of cancer, and therefore can enhance the immune system. Cacao powder is the ingredient in chocolate that is mainly responsible for these properties.
WINE AND GRAPES
Resveratrol, a polyphenol contained in wines which has earned itself the moniker “heart healthy,” is found in the skins of red grapes. Several studies have suggested that resveratrol can help prevent diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. Resveratrol has also been proven to be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, the alleviation of menopausal symptoms, and the improvement of blood sugar regulation. Nevertheless, large-scale human-subject research is still needed to validate these conclusions.
Although wine contains antioxidants, remember that munching on grapes provides the very same benefits as well as added fibre.