Superfoods. This term is defined as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered to be beneficial to a person’s health.”
There is no scientifically based or regulated definition for superfoods. This term is used as more of a reference to foods that offer high levels of desirable nutrients that are linked to prevention of a disease or is believed to offer several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value. There is a lot more research going into the benefits of different foods that could qualify as superfood status. We will be introducing some superfoods that are beneficial to overall health. It is important to remember throughout this article that while these foods may have health benefits – they can be harmful if over consumed and without a lack of variety in the diet. It is important to maintain a wide variety of food to ensure that you are consuming a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and not too much of a particular nutrient.
Some superfoods that might be worthy of this title are dark green leafy vegetables. These vegetables include spinach, kale, swiss chard, and turnip greens. They provide folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and fiber. They also have potential to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds called carotenoids. Carotenoids may help protect against certain types of cancer.
Another type of superfood is berries. They are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Berries strong antioxidant levels help reduce the risk and fight chronic diseases and inflammation. Berries also have been recorded as effective when treating digestive and immune-related disorders with medical therapies. Some berries to incorporate into your diet include raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
Eggs, even though they are high in cholesterol, they are one of the healthiest foods. They are highly rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron, and phosphorus. They are loaded with protein and increase “good” HDL cholesterol in some people. Eggs contain two strong antioxidants;zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants are known to protect vision and eye health.
Nuts and seeds are a great source of fiber, heart-healthy fats, and protein. They have plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These compounds can help protect against oxidative stress and heat disease. Some sources of these nutrients are almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
Garlic is a strong superfood. It’s a great source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, and fiber. It has been used for centuries for its medicinal benefit. Research has indicated that it can be effective in reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, preventing certain types of cancer, and supporting immune function. It has antimicrobial and antifungal properties as well from the components found inside of it.
Ginger, which is available fresh, as an oil, in juice, or in dried and powdered forms, contains large amounts of antioxidants. It may be effective for fighting nausea and reducing acute and chronic inflammation. It may also reduce your risk of chronic illnesses. A close relative of ginger is Turmeric. It also has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin is the compound that is thought to have these effects in turmeric. It may be effective in treating chronic diseases and aiding in wound healing and pain reduction.
Salmon is known to be high in healthy fats, proteins, B vitamins, potassium and selenium. It is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids aid in reducing inflammation. Eating salmon is healthy in moderation because like other types of seafood there is a possibility that they contain heavy metals and other environmental pollutants. Salmon may also lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Avocados are highly nutritious and rich in many nutrients. They have fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. It is high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) with the most predominant MUFA being oleic acid. Oleic acid is linked to reducing inflammation in the body. Avocados may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and certain types of cancer.
Mushrooms, there are so many types of edible mushrooms and their nutrient content varies depending on the type. Mushrooms contain vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and several antioxidants. They may play a role in reducing inflammation and preventing certain types of cancers based on their antioxidant content.
These are only SOME beneficial superfoods there are many more. Overall it is important to incorporate these foods in a diverse diet. Try not to focus on eating just one type of food in order to avoid consuming too much of one nutrient and not enough of others. Including some or all of these foods as part of a balanced diet can benefit your overall health.