Superfoods And Their Health Benefits
Eating foods, or more specifically the superfoods, is the most important element of a healthy eating lifestyle.
Scientific studies have proved that consuming nutrient-rich foods is healthy for your mind and body.
They also reduce the risk of some chronic diseases while providing many health benefits.
Most likely, you have heard the terms “superfoods” or “powerfoods.”
These are commonly used to describe the foods that are supposed to make you feel good, look great, and help you live longer and healthier.
But what exactly these terms mean and what is so special about them?
Well, there is no exact definition of a superfood.
However, it is considered that food or group of foods enjoy the status of superfoods that are loaded with macronutrients.
The most important one include protein, carbohydrates, and fats, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals.
A majority of superfoods are of plant origin, but some dairy products and fish also make the cut.
The popular examples of superfoods include kale, salmon, nuts, and kefir, just to name a few.
Due to the lack of a strict definition, any nutrient-rich food is usually included in this category.
Benefits of Superfoods
The high content of micronutrients present in the superfoods can help you stay healthier and prevent illnesses.
They are scientifically proven to improve energy levels and aid in weight loss.
Some may also promote heart health, and even reduce the effects of aging.
Healthy fats present in various foods can help reduce the risk of heart disease, while antioxidants can prevent cancer.
Fiber is a powerful component of many foods that can help prevent digestive problems and diabetes.
Phytochemicals have many health benefits, including the regulation of hormones and reducing the risk of developing inflammatory diseases.
Healthy eating is also well known to help lower cholesterol levels, protect your organs against toxins, fight invading pathogens, and regulate metabolism.
When incorporated into a well-balanced diet, superfoods can provide numerous health benefits.
Keep in mind that unprocessed natural varieties offer the best benefits.
The composition of most powerfoods is delicate. They can quickly lose their nutrient superiority when sugar or flavor is added or they are processed in some other way.
For instance, green tea is loaded with potent antioxidants that your body needs. But almost all manufacturing companies often brewed it with copious amounts of sugar and processed it with inferior tea content, which reduces its effectiveness and health benefits.
Certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts are some good foods to eat, and here’s why
The Acai Berries are a fruit of the Amazon palm tree and mostly grown in Central and South America.
They are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. This healthy composition makes them live up to their designation of superfood.
Studies have proven that acai berries can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and repair oxidative damage.
They are also rich in vitamins, phytochemicals, and soluble fiber.
Some plant compounds and antioxidants found in these berries can help protect memory and cognitive function and slow the growth of tumor cells in the brain.
You’ve probably never heard of this superfood before, but it is one of the wealthiest foods with probiotics.
It is a fermented drink made from kefir grain and raw milk.
It is rich in B vitamins, protein, calcium, and potassium.
However, this yogurt-like beverage is known for health benefit due to is its powerful probiotic properties.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that can improve the proportion of healthy bacteria in your stomach and GIT.
They reduce gastrointestinal infections, prevent diarrhea, and treat irritable bowel syndrome, among other benefits.
Although it is made from milk, its fermentation enables people with lactose intolerance to enjoy its many health benefits.
Kale is a green leafy vegetable rich in fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, K and E, as well as manganese, iron, calcium, and antioxidants.
It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and very low in calories.
Kale help fight and decreases the risk of inflammatory diseases such as asthma, arthritis, some autoimmune diseases.
Avocados are one of the best weight-loss friendly foods on the planet.
It can help with anything from arthritis pain relief to cholesterol reduction to reducing the adverse effects of chemotherapy.
Their rich monounsaturated fatty acid content can increase good cholesterol levels in the body.
Avocados can also help digest and absorb carotenoids in the meal.
These are plant pigments responsible for the specific color of the fruits and vegetables.
Carotenoids contain high levels of vitamin A, a vitamin associated with reduced risk of eye degeneration, cancer, and heart diseases.
When consumed in moderate numbers, raw nuts can be a great addition to your regular diet.
Nuts, cashews, almonds and other raw nuts provide an abundant dose of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
They are also rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.
The presence of such potent ingredients makes raw nuts a true superfood to eat.
Nuts can help lessen your risk of heart diseases and boost the immune system, especially when used as a protein substitute for red meat.
According to experts from the Harvard Medical School, it is estimated that replacing red or processed meat with nuts and other healthier proteins can reduce your risk of diabetes and insulin insensitivity by 29%.
Choose nuts without salt to avoid packing up too much sodium.
Cranberries, strawberries, and blueberries are key to healthy eating.
They are full of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and plant phytochemicals.
These nutrients make them powerfoods and distinguish them from other fruits.
Scientists have known for years that antioxidant compounds present in berries can help your body reduce the stress of aging.
According to a recent study, berries can help enhance cognitive abilities and reduce age-related memory loss.
Green leafy vegetables are generally tastier, more flavorful and rich in vitamins than frozen or canned varieties.
However, not all the vegetables qualify for superfood status.
Broccoli definitely enjoys this status as it is among the healthiest and nutrient-dense vegetables that contain folic acid and vitamin C and A.
Broccoli also contains an anti-cancer agent called sulforaphane.
A recent study by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention reveals the potential benefits of sulforaphane as an active anti-cancer agent and in the fight against cancer.
In this study, the eight-year follow-up rate is much higher in people with bladder cancer who ate more broccoli than those who ate less.
Green tea has numerous health benefits that are being touted by Asian communities for more than 5,000 years.
It is one of the best metabolism-boosting foods available.
The National Health Service reports that green tea can help shed those extra pounds around your belly, lower cholesterol, improve good cholesterol, and act as a cardioprotective agent.
The leaves and stem of the green tea plant contain epigallocatechin, an antioxidant that is thought to have these anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating health benefits.
Salmon is known for its rich omega-3 fatty acid content that helps reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
A study reveal that incorporating salmon into your regular diet plan can improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.
It is also full of trace minerals like selenium and zinc, which prevent cell damage and are beneficial for bones, skin, and hair.
A widely used yet little-known spicy food, ginger can fight infections, boost your immune system, and protect you from cancer.
It is commonly used to subside the troublesome symptoms such as nausea, muscle pain, abdominal cramps and digestive problems like bloating and gas.
Its use to lower the sugar levels is also well-known and documented.
Try adding ginger to your diet as drinking it in a tea, as a spice, or taking its root supplements.
Sweet potato is an excellent powerfood as it is a rich source of minerals (iron, potassium, and manganese), vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C) and fiber.
These potent nutrients can help maintain healthy teeth, bones and skin, prevent a heart attack, improve vision, keep you younger, and promote healthy immune systems.
As sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, they do not need extra salt, butter, or cream for better taste and thus can be used in various dishes.
The protein and fiber content in quinoa is much higher than any other grain.
In addition to protein, quinoa is also a rich source of essential minerals such as zinc, selenium, potassium, and iron.
Its gluten-free status is something that makes it so special for people sensitive to food allergies such as those with celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
It may also help lower your risk of heart failure, according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Most doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians will tell you that healthy eating is very beneficial for your mind and body.
You do not require radical changes or an elimination diet to make a big difference.
It is proved that even small improvements in your regular diet can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and make you feel better immediately.
These may include reducing junk or processed foods and incorporating some nutrient-desnse superfoods.
Don’t forget to add core exercises if you incorporating superfoods to your diet for weight loss purposes.
Make sure to consult your dietitian or nutritionist if you are considering making changes to your diet.