Superfoods You Should Eat
Contrary to popular belief, superfoods are not new and have been used for centuries. However, they are now more popular than ever, this is mainly due to advances in medicine that have proven their many benefits like boosting energy or strengthening the immune system. More and more people are being seduced by superfoods and rediscovering the benefits of these natural and healthy products.
But what exactly do we mean by superfoods? Why are they important and how should we consume them?
What are superfoods?
Unlike most healthy foods, which have 2 or 3 healthy properties, superfoods often offer a combination of more than a dozen health benefits. They are therefore powerful foods that have an impressive amount of nutrients and molecules with medicinal properties.
Indeed, “Superfoods” are not “magic” foods. However, because of their rich composition of vitamins and minerals, they are an essential asset for a complete, healthy and balanced diet. So, it is better to consume them regularly to take advantage of their benefits.
They often contain plant compounds (phytonutrients) with protective properties that help improve health. Recent research has demonstrated the nutritional value of “superfoods”, as well as their ability to fight certain diseases and slow down aging, Consumed regularly, their positive effects on the skin, brain and basal metabolism help maintain the vitality of our tissues.
What are the Best Superfoods?
Superfoods are natural products (berries, seeds, herbs, fruits, and vegetables) that have an exceptionally positive effect on the body. These foods contain a large number of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and antioxidants. Here is a simple list:
- Olive Oil
- Hemp Seeds
- Goji Berries
- Cashew nuts
- Acai Berries
Why are superfoods important?
Today, the foods we eat have a lower nutritional value. New production methods are the main cause, but there is also a flood of unhealthy foods (fast-food industry, the use of pesticides in agriculture…), therefore eating poorly is easier today than eating healthy. This type of diet is not good for humans and we feel the effects in our body, our skin, our hair and our resistance to infections. In addition, the incidence of certain diseases directly related to food such as obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and cancer has exploded due to poor eating habits. These findings make us realize the importance of healthy eating and superfoods.
The benefits of superfoods:
It should be noted that each superfood has its own characteristics and specific health benefits. The basic qualities of superfoods are to improve physical and mental health, increase resistance and strengthen the immune system. They boost energy and make you feel better in your body and your head. Superfoods are also known to burn calories because they improve metabolism. Thanks to the antioxidant effect and the presence of vitamin C, the skin and the hair are visibly rejuvenated. Superfoods reduce the risk of cancer and also protect cardiovascular health.
Why should superfoods be preferred to supplements?
After explaining why Superfoods are important, an important question comes to our mind: Why all this enthusiasm around these foods when one can simply get food supplements? This question is relevant, however here is the answer:
Although supplements are an interesting way to balance our very unbalanced and deficient diet, Superfoods remain a better alternative for the simple reason that our body uses better nutrients from food than those from pills.
It should also be known that some foods have their benefits because they act synergistically, this is the case of tomato and garlic, which consumed separately do not offer as many benefits if they are consumed together. All these findings and many other studies come together to claim that supplements cannot substitute natural foods.
It’s also important to note that in addition to providing essential nutrients, Superfoods can also prevent many diseases such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or hypertension, and the preservatives used in the preparation and production of supplements improve the risk of many pathologies including cancer.
Which foods are considered superfoods?
The term ‘superfoods’ is often used in the US by food industry companies. This generic name brings together all healthy foods. However, it should be noted that only products whose positive effects have been proven can be called ‘superfoods’. These are the foods that have a large number of vitamins, minerals, good fats, enzymes, etc.
It should be noted that only foods that have proven to have multiple beneficial effects may claim to be included in the list of superfoods. The list of superfoods is still vast. To put it simply, they are divided into several categories. Here are the main ones:
What are green superfoods?
These are green vegetables that contain a high concentration of healthy proteins, vitamins, minerals, and bacteria. Some examples are wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, chlorella and green leafy vegetables such as salad, spinach, kale and winter purslane. Leeks and broccoli also belong to this category.
What are the top Superfood fruits & nuts:?
These great fruits and nuts have healthy properties that help kill (bad) bacteria. The list of foods is long, here are the main ones: acai berries, blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, blackberries, pomegranates, berries, macadamia nuts, raw cocoa, and coconut.
What about herb Superfoods?
In this category of superfoods, we find herbs that contain a large number of vitamins and have medicinal properties. Some examples: Aloe vera, echinacea, ginseng, devil’s claw, ginger, ginkgo biloba, marigold, turmeric, anise, and basil.
Other super foods:
Products like pollen, honey, royal jelly and many kinds of algae are also considered as superfoods.
Description of some superfoods:
The acai berries look like blueberries. This type of berry is full of antioxidants, it’s also rich in fibers and potassium and contains a large amount of vitamins C. Thanks to their composition, acai berries boost energy, provide better sleep and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Vitamin C also prevents the occurrence of scurvy, strengthens the immune system and decreases the incidence of respiratory infections.
Cashews are full of good fat, fibers, vitamin B6 and folic acid. A small amount of them is enough to satisfy hunger, and therefore, can help to lose weight.
Other types of nuts have also interesting benefits, such as hazelnuts, almonds or peanuts. They are full of “good” fats that fight heart disease. These fats are even known to help reduce insulin resistance and make blood sugar levels easier to control.
Nuts are also one of the best dietary sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells and can help prevent nerve and eye damage. Nuts are rich in fiber and magnesium, beneficial to controlling blood sugar. Many studies suggest that adding them to your diet can even help you lose weight.
Garlic has many benefits for your health. It is considered a superfood because it is rich in allicin, an antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer.
Several chemicals contained in garlic help prevent cancer by inhibiting the formation of certain carcinogens that damage DNA. Garlic can also stimulate the production of immune system components: interleukin-2, which necroses tumors, and interferon gamma-substances used in immunity-based therapies.
Goji berries are among the best superfoods. They have been used by traditional Chinese medicine for many years and their health benefits are very numerous. They have natural anti-aging properties. In addition, these berries contain a lot of vitamin E. They strengthen the immune system, the memory and also prevent infertility. In addition, goji berries prevent cardiovascular disease and protect the liver and kidneys through their antioxidant properties.
Hemp is good for the heart and the brain. It is a complete food that also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds also contain mineral salts, such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. In addition, raw hemp seeds are full of antioxidants, vitamin B, vitamin D and vitamin E. These various components enhance inter-neuronal synaptic communication, and recent studies have demonstrated the effect of hemp derivatives in many treatment therapies in neurological and psychiatric diseases.
Olive oil is the centerpiece of the Mediterranean diet, whose followers are healthier and live longer than those who follow a diet based mostly on meat.
Indeed, olive oil is filled with “good” fats that cut the risk of heart attack and help stabilize blood sugar. These oils even reduce insulin resistance. In addition, olive oil contains polyphenols; these activate the phase II enzymes that make the harmful substances soluble and therefore more likely to be excreted in the urine or bile.
Moreover, colon and breast cancer rates are high in North America, while they are low in Italy and Greece. This is partly attributed to the popularity of olive oil in these two European countries. Finally, olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fats, which are more stable than other fats and less likely to favor the production of carcinogenic compounds.
These small seeds are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Thanks to its richness in nutrients and vitamins like vitamin D, the seeds of chia reduce the risk of osteoporosis. They are good for the heart and blood vessels, improve intestinal transit and slow down the aging process. By adding a few chia seeds to your diet, you will soon reach a feeling of satiety and therefore lose weight more easily.
This green alga is probably the most powerful superfood in its class. Among other things, it is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes, and proteins. Chlorella is recommended to purify the body, eliminate toxins, detoxify organs and strengthen the immune system.
Some tips on eating superfoods:
In order to benefit from the virtues of superfoods, it is important to consume them raw in their original state. By eating super foods this way, you are sure to take advantage of their true benefits. Why is it so important to eat them raw? In modern production processes, a large part of the nutritional values is eliminated. Sometimes even all the virtues of superfoods are reduced to nothing because of such processes.
The dose and moderation is a very important issue, for example, 1 or 2 glasses of red wine a day have a protective effect on cardiovascular disease, but beyond that, we lose the benefits and increases the risks. It’s the same with coffee, studies have shown that 3 cups a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes, but beyond that, it can have deleterious effects. One could also mention dark chocolate, rich in antioxidants, but also in fats, or fatty fish, sources of omega 3, but which can be contaminated by toxic substances such as mercury.
In general, you have to vary your diet, consume regularly “superfoods” and also eat what we like. Eating seaweed if you do not like it, just because it’s good for you, may be great for your body but we also encourage you to try things you will also enjoy.
To conclude, force is to note that superfoods are major assets for our diet in order to preserve optimal health. Remember, however, that they are not “miracle” foods, capable of saving us from all diseases. The basis of good health is simply to eat continuously healthy foods (superfoods included) and combine it with sufficient and regular physical activity.