The term ‘superfoods’ carries a connotation that if consumed, one will suddenly achieve ultimate physical and mental harmony. While that isn’t entirely true, it certainly can help us fight many nasty diseases and conditions that come our way, and keep us feeling great in the process.
The superfood craze began in the 90s as certain foods, boasted for their low carb and low calorie assets, rose to popularity. By the 2000s, the term superfood was in full swing. Foods that help reduce the risk of cancer, work as inflammatory agents and contain an abundance of vitamins and fibers are often labeled as superfoods.
So, what are the popular superfoods today, and can they really make you a healthier person?
What Exactly Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are mostly plant based foods that are thought to be great for your health because they are stocked full of nutrients. Certain fish and dairy also fall into this category.
It’s important to note that superfoods are not actually their own food group. Scientists do not use this term. Think of superfoods as more of an umbrella term that encompasses any food that is packed with health benefits. Superfoods have large doses of vitamins and minerals that help humans live a healthier, and ultimately longer, life.
A few examples of these super nutrients are:
- Antioxidants: Thought to ward off cancer
- Healthy Fats: Thought to prevent heart disease
- Fiber: Thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems
- Phytochemicals: Chemicals responsible for a plants color and smell, thought to have numerous health benefits for humans
Can I Eat As Many Superfoods As I Want Throughout My Day?
Even though these foods are great for your body, it’s important that you don’t overeat superfoods. Just like any other food, if consumed in heavy amounts, you can gain weight and experience other negative effects. Eating superfoods in a balanced diet is the best path forward.
That said, let’s deep dive into 5 of the most popular superfoods that will make you a healthier person.
Our Short List Of Superfoods You Should Be Eating
Blueberries, as well as many other berries, are rich in vitamins, soluble fiber and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, as discussed above, come from plants and can have many health benefits for humans.
Flavonoids, part of the phytochemicals, are known for having anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties. While not everything is understood about these magical chemicals, it’s widely accepted that flavonoids are associated with a broad spectrum of positive health effects. They’ve even been discovered to lower the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Even better, blueberries are packed with potassium and vitamin C, which are extremely important to human functionality. What are you waiting for, go grab a handful of blueberries!
Avocados are high in fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. They’re also full of healthy monounsaturated fat.
Let’s break down this scientific jargon:
- Fiber is important for lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and various types of cancer.
- Folate is a B vitamin that helps make red and white blood cells, preventing conditions such as anemia.
- Potassium is the main producer of electrolytes, a blood mineral that helps to keep your blood pressure low.
- Magnesium helps maintain a healthy potassium balance in the cells.
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect body tissue from damage, and also protects the immune system from virus and bacteria attacks.
- Monounsaturated Fat helps to protect your heart by reducing the bad cholesterol levels in your blood, lowering your risk of heart disease or stroke.
Whoa, there’s a lot of great health benefits packed into an avocado!
Beans fit into several food groups because of their array of functions. They are rich in complex carbohydrates, packed with protein, and offer an array of vitamins and minerals.
Beans are super because:
- They are full of fiber, making them heart healthy;
- Low in fat and contain zero cholesterol;
- ½ a cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as 1 whole ounce of chicken, meat or fish;
- Balance blood sugar with their mix of complex carbohydrates;
- Are nutrient rich with vitamins and minerals, such as copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc.
Kale is everywhere! On your salad, on your burger, dried and in a chip bag, and so on. What’s with the kale craze?
Well, kale is absolutely packed with antioxidants and vitamins. One cup of kale gives you over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A and 134% of your daily value of vitamin C! Talk about overachieving.
Even more, the antioxidants found in kale have anti-viral functions, like combatting the common cold, and also help to prevent eye conditions. It’s also high in Omega 3s and provides a great amount of insoluble fibre.
Next time somebody asks you if you want regular or sweet potato fries, consider this. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and vitamin C, both critical to our health.
Vitamin A is very important for the immune system and helps to ensure the lungs, kidney, heart and other organs function properly. Sounds like a pretty important job.
Vitamin C is absolutely necessary for protecting our health. High blood levels of vitamin C amounts to defending our bodies from cardiovascular diseases, cancer and strokes. It’s also vitally important for our eye health.
Eating superfoods is like adding a shield of armor to your immune system and overall physical, and mental, health. Nothing in life is a guarantee, but eating superfoods in moderation can surely make your chances of living a long, healthy life, more possible.