You would have probably heard the term superfood thrown around quite frequently these days about all the benefits provided by this nutrient-rich addition to the diet. It is getting more and more popular these days as people have become more conscious about their health and a healthier lifestyle. You might still be wondering what superfoods are?
Superfoods do a lot more than just meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs while helping to shed a few extra kilograms in time for the swimsuit for the summer. These foods will not only help you to achieve better health but also aid in the prevention of some chronic diseases while improving the way you feel every day. Some of these superfoods also have anti-aging properties.
A combination of regular exercise, a balanced diet with the addition of these superfoods to your daily lifestyle can benefit various aspects of your health.
What Are Superfoods?
More and more people are aware that eating healthy has a significant impact on the way we feel. You are highly likely to feel lethargic, weighed down and sluggish if you fill up on processed junk or fast food. Fill up with load s of fruits and vegetables that are nutrient-rich, and you will most likely feel good and be full of energy.
Superfoods takes you to the next level by helping to optimize your bodily functions by providing abundant nutrients.
There are no benchmarks to the definition of a superfood. Generally, these are foods that are loaded with nutrients which provides your body with vitamins and minerals you need to feel great and thrive.
You are bound to feel much better than ever if you include a few servings of these foods in your daily diet paired with regular workouts.
The benefits of top 15 Superfoods
1. Acai Berries
The acai berry is an essential player in defining what superfoods are. They contain a high content of healthy fats, phosphorus, potassium, fiber, an assortment of vitamin Bs and magnesium. Studies have shown that the compounds in the acai berries can help improve to maintain a healthy blood sugar levers, enhance cognitive function and enhance lipid profiles. Due to its increasing popularity, acai powder is more commonly available at health food stores which can be used to make a nourishing bowl or mixed into smoothies.
Almonds are one of the nuts that are rich in nutrients that is available,
They are among the best non-diary source that is high in protein, vitamin E and calcium. Almond provides more milligrams of calcium per serving than any other nut.
You can enjoy these nuts by soaking or roasting them or even raw as a tasty snack. You will have to keep in mind that almonds are high in calorie which means you will have control the consumption to avoid putting on unwanted weight.
An avocado is a perfect example to the question - What are superfoods? It is near impossible not to include this super nutritious fruit into the superfoods group. Although avocado is mostly enjoyed and used in cooking as a vegetable, it is a fruit.
The avocado is rich in good cholesterol which is good for the heart, vitamins C and K along with folate. It is also one of the best sources of potassium; it contains more of it bananas. There are numerous ways to enjoy this creamy fruit. You can add it to a salad or just sprinkling some seasoning and eating or even spreading it over a slice of bread.
Despite its tiny size, blueberries are packed with nutrients and is another example of a great superfood. Blueberries are packed with manganese, phytochemicals, vitamin C, vitamin K, and disease-fighting antioxidants.
It can be used as a natural sweetener in salads, enjoy them on their own as a healthy snack, add them to baked goods and the best of it all; these are not only healthy but has an added bonus of being delicious.
5. Broccoli Rabe
It is also known as rapini. Broccoli rabe is a green vegetable that is in the list of top 10 superfoods without question. It is brimming with bone-strengthening vitamin K, along with folate, calcium, manganese and vitamins A and C. The compounds found in this vegetable are believed to help in reduction of inflammation, protect against eye disease, improve the health of the heart, keep the skeletal structure strong and even helps to prevent the advancement of cancer.
This delicious bark does more than add flavor to sweet treats and seasonal drinks. In fact, it is not only high in antioxidants; it has been associated with improvements in nausea, PMS symptoms, decreases inflammation, and lowering blood sugar level.
Sprinkle some cinnamon over your smoothie, porridge or yogurt to increase the nutritional value of a healthy breakfast and enjoy the numerous benefits from this priceless spice.
Coconut and coconut oil are high in triglycerides of the medium chain which is a healthy fatty acid that helps support the improvement of your intestines with its bacteria-fighting antioxidant properties. These easily digestible fatty acids are quickly burned up to provide immediate energy as fuel rather than being stored as fat. Coconut oil has been associated with not just weight loss but also preventing bone loss. Make sure to use it with unrefined extra virgin olive oil for your cooking and baking to add a dose of healthy fats.
Flaxseed is full of omega three fatty acids that are great for your heart, improve the functions of the brain, reduce inflammation and even prevent diabetes and cancer.
These seeds are not only high in phosphorus, manganese thiamin but also contain a good dose of fiber and protein in every helping. You can acquire the benefits of flaxseeds by using it in everything from hummus, cereals, salad or by the consumption of flaxseed oil in either capsule or liquid form.
9. Goji Berries
Goji berries have up to 12 times the antioxidant levels than blueberries. It's not surprising that these berries top the charts as one of the most nutrient-packed superfoods that benefit both the women and men. Goji berries have been fundamental in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, and it has been credited with the improvement of vitality, energy, and longevity. These berries are also full of nutrients that can prevent eye disease, stop the growth of cancer cells and protect against from skin damage. Goji berries are available in dried or superfood powder form at health food outlets. You can add them to your pancakes, waffles or cereals and even salads for an added nutritional value.
Kale is known as one of the best superfoods which can supplement your diet with tonnes of vitamins A, C, K, manganese for little calories and also helps with weight loss. You can eat Kale as stir-fried vegetables, in a salad, or even make kale chips.
11. Raw Milk
Raw milk has a high content of many vitamins and minerals that include vitamins A, D, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
Kefir (fermented milk) made from raw milk is very beneficial for health because of the fermentation and the probiotics that help to boost the good bacteria in the gut which promotes better digestion and enhance immunity. You can try adding kefir or raw milk on your breakfast smoothie and pump up nutrients and jump-start your day on the right note.
A lot of nutritionist and health experts recommend including fish in your diet at least twice a week. Fish rich in fat like salmon are high in omega three fatty acids which can cut inflammation, keep your heart healthy and boost brain health. Go for wild salmon when possible rather than farmed ones. Try to include a few servings into your weekly diet. You can do this by taking it as a savory snack with salty crackers or a healthy appetizer for lunch or dinner.
13. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loved and known for their delicious flavor and their content of high in vitamins and minerals which provides substantial health benefits. These root vegetables that are nutritious with high in manganese, potassium, vitamin C and most notably they are full of vitamin A. Vitamin plays an essential role in fighting inflammation, protecting the immune system to fight off infections and in maintaining in healthy eyesight.
Sweet potatoes are used in soups, stews, in curries and salads to enhance the flavors and even as wedges or boiled to be eaten plain.
These blue-green algae are known to be one of the most nutritious foods on this planet. It has higher protein content than red meat; it contains all essential fatty acids the body needs and also supplies loads of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The health benefits of spirulina include protection against cancer, lowering blood pressure and the prevention of plaque build up in the arteries. Spirulina is available in capsules, candy and powder form. They are available in health stores. You can use it in juices, cereals, and can be sprinkled on your salad or food, increasing the nutritional value.
Wheatgrass has to be at the top of your list if you are looking to rid of free radicals or gain maximum nutrients in your diet. Wheatgrass is freshly sprouted leaves of a typical wheat plant which can supply a whole lot of vitamins and minerals that includes iron, magnesium, and calcium. It also provides the added benefits that are loaded with chlorophyll - a pigment that comes from a plant.
You can either drink the juice directly ( it is very bitter) or mix it with smoothies or in other juice to dilute the bitterness.
Consult your doctor and get yourself tested for allergies to the food as mentioned above as it can cause adverse effects. If you experience any adverse symptoms after the consumption of these foods, it is best to stop it.
Bear in mind that these foods contain lots of extra nutrients and are a healthy addition to your diet while it is not an immediate cure for any ailment or medical issues. Use them in combination with a nutritious and varied diet as part of a healthy lifestyle and natural treatment to get the best results. Mix these healthy foods with other nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and exercise regularly for optimum health and keep the chronic diseases at bay.
Concluding thoughts on what are Superfoods
It is difficult to answer the question of what the superfoods are, as there are no specific standards that definition of what makes a superfood. Basically, they are foods that have exceptionally in nutrients, antioxidants and are known to bestow great health benefits to you.
There is a wide range of foods that pass as superfoods and can be included in the diet in various ways. Adding these foods to your daily diet with a well-rounded diet with regular physical activity can get your journey into better health.
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Disclaimer on Wellness Articles
NOTE: Raj Tamang is a wellness aficionado, having focused on keeping trekkers and his team members fit through diet and proper treatment during their treks. While Raj has no formal qualifications in this field, he has done plenty of research over the years. He understands the benefits of keeping healthy and using whole foods to nourish both himself and his team correctly. Please note, while Raj is experienced in the field of wellness, his advice should not be taken above or instead of medical professionals' guidance.