You’ve probably heard the word “superfood” thrown around the last few years as a focus on health has increased amongst mainstream. Maybe you’ve heard benefits of eating a particular food with superpowers. Perhaps you are questioning why other foods aren’t as super in comparison. The biggest questions on your mind from all this media frenzy: what is a superfood and why eat a superfood?
What are superfoods?
Superfoods are foods that have an extraordinarily high nutritional density. They are packed with nutrients that deliver exceptional benefits to the body, thus creating a healthy dose of food for a healthy body. They contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are superior to some foods. Sounds a bit similar to other foods right?
The term superfood was created for marketing purposes to help sell products and get people excited about specific foods. It worked wonders for increasing hype around exotic fruits, seeds and mystical powders to add to smoothies.
Many foods can be labelled as super, however it is important to remember that there isn’t one particular food that is special for optimal health and wellbeing. The most important factor for creating a healthy body is eating a well balanced, nutritional dense diet packed full of a variety of fresh wholesome foods. When adding an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, the body will thrive.
That being said, there are some foods that have a higher dose of nutrition making them excellent additions to daily eating. Whether you want to label them as a “superfood” or simply a health food is your choice.
For the sake of the media hype, let’s take a look at 7 foods that are worthy of the superfood status and their benefits.
7 Superfoods & Benefits
These are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, manganese, fibre and copper. They have a unique combination of phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. The impressive antioxidant profile of blueberries can help reduce heart disease, the risk of cancer, and inflammatory conditions, as shown here and here.
A well-known “superfood”, kale has become very popular over the years. It is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese, copper, iron and calcium. Surprisingly, has a good dose of omega-3 fats.
“Kale’s cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale.” – WH Foods
Quinoa is such an impressive nutritional grain for good reason. It has an excellent dose of manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, fibre, folate, zinc and protein. Manganese benefits the body with strong bones, producing healthy collagen for the skin and protection against free radical damage.
This root, which is well known for buying in powder form and adding to smoothies, is a nutritious food worth noting. It is high in fibre, Vitamin C, copper, iron and potassium. It is known to help with energy, stamina, libido, fertility, balancing hormones, and relieving symptoms of menopause.
5. Raw Cacao
Cacao is a popular superfood alongside dark chocolate, and being in raw form boosts the nutritional profile. Cacao seeds have been deemed a “super fruit” as shown in this study compared to other fruit powders. Raw cacao has a higher profile of nutrition compared to standard cacao or cocoa because it has not been processed yet. Raw cacao has a good dose of healthy fat, protein, iron, fibre, magnesium, selenium and manganese.
This blue-green algae is considered a phenomenally nutritious superfood. It is high in protein, contains essential fatty acids and has a high dose of antioxidants. The best way to consume this is in powder form with a small glass of water or added to a smoothie, as it has a strong taste.
This golden root is a powerhouse and has become very popular over the years because of its powerful punch of nutrition. It is packed with manganese, iron, Vitamin B6, fibre and copper. It is a popular spice that has been used for centuries in Indian cooking and has become increasingly popular in Western society for its health benefits. Curcumin, an active component of turmeric, is the part of the food that is known to help with anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant benefits to the body. Check this study for more on turmeric.