Imagine Something that can give you the most nutrients with minimal calories. Sounds impossible, right? That’s where the magic of superfoods comes in. Although, there isn’t a single food that can provide all the necessary nutrients we need to nourish ourselves still there are some superfoods that can power-pack your meals and indulge you into a healthy eating pattern.
In this article, we tell you what are superfoods, some popular examples, benefits of superfoods, and how you can incorporate them in your diet.
- What are superfoods?
The term ‘superfoods’ refers to natural or medium-processed foods having an ideal nutritional density with very few calories. Conceptually, they are foods with both high nutritional value and high biological activity with the capacity to strengthen the immune system and improve normal body functioning.
Superfoods have numerous bioactive components that are beneficial for the human body. These include vitamins, polyunsaturated fats, minerals, antioxidants, and much more.
The most important property for which superfoods are known is their antioxidant property. Antioxidants are natural chemicals that neutralize free radicals in your body. Free radicals are substances that destroy body cells.
The most common antioxidants found in superfoods are β-carotene, Vitamin A, C, E, coenzyme Q10, bilirubin, selenium, and flavonoids.
- Some Common Superfoods and their benefits
It is said that every meal you take influences your mind, body, and spirit. So, it is important to make healthy food choices that make you feel energized and heal your body. What’s better than superfoods for that?
Here are some of the most popular superfoods that are known to be dense in nutrients and work wonders:
Berries are known to be rich in flavonoids, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. They help lower the risk of inflammatory disorders, heart diseases, and cancer. Some of the most common berries are:
- Goji berries are good for treating eye infections, and overall kidney and liver health because they are rich in vitamin C, E, and flavonoids.
- Blueberries and cranberries are packed with fiber and vitamin K and help provide relief from Urinary tract infections.
- Acai berries contain antioxidants and a variety of amino acids that enhance your skin and provide strength to muscles.
- Raw Cacao
Apart from being recognized as a nutrient-rich superfood, raw cacao has been prized for centuries for its miraculous health benefits.
It is a natural source of minerals, fibers, antioxidants, and proteins that collectively pose the following health benefits:
- Support a healthy digestive system
- Strengthen immunity
- Reduce anxiety by lifting your mood
- Improve neurological function
- Make skin look younger and radiant
- Spirulina Powder
Enriched with minerals, proteins, beta-carotene, and gamma linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), Spirulina powder is a wonder herb in itself. This super greens powder not only keeps you safe from any illness but is perfect for a weight loss diet as well.
Benefits of spirulina powder include:
- Improvement in kidney and liver function
- Boosting the immune system
- Treatment of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease
- Instant source of energy
- Nuts and Seeds
If you are in search of plant-based protein, nuts and seeds are the ultimate superfoods to fulfill this requirement. Fortified with fibers, healthy fats and proteins, nuts and seeds have a relieving impact on heart conditions.
Some common examples of protein-rich nuts and seeds include:
- Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts, and pistachios.
- Seeds: Flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Although nuts may be rich in calories when incorporated in a balanced diet that can help in weight loss while providing your body with the necessary nourishment.
- Green Leafy Vegetables
What makes green leafy vegetables a superfood is being rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, folate, calcium, and vitamin C. They also contain sufficient amounts of carotenoids, anti-inflammatory substances that fight against cancer.
Some well-known green leafy vegetables are kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli sprouts, and turnip greens.
The broad category of legumes encloses garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black and red beans, soybeans, and lentils. This category has earned the label of superfood by being a remarkable source of vegan protein. Other than protein they are also enriched with minerals fibers and vitamin B. Legumes offer the following health benefits:
- Help in the management of Type II Diabetes
- Promote weight loss by enhancing feelings of fullness
- Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol
Being packed with proteins, vitamins, calcium, and other minerals, fish is a rich source of nutrients and thus labeled as a superfood. It is also considered as one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that help fight against inflammatory diseases.
Examples of fishes characterized as superfoods include salmon, trout, and herring.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the richest fatty sources of nutrients. Containing generous amounts of monounsaturated fats, polyphenols, and vitamin E, olive oil can be a miraculous substitute for regular fatty oils that cause nothing but high cholesterol.
The health benefits of olive oil include:
- Reduces inflammation and risk of heart disease
- Prevents cell damage from free radicals
Originating from India, this bright yellow spice is a wonder herb. Turmeric contains curcumin as its active component. It has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Its long-termbenefits include the treatment of chronic diseases like cancers, diabetes, and obesity. Turmeric is also known it provides immediate relief from wounds, joint pains, and period pains.
Not only a good source of calcium and protein, butyogurt is also enriched with ‘good bacteria’ called probiotics. These bacteria help keep your gut in a healthy state and facilitate digestion. They also fight against other harmful bacteria keeping your body free from infections.
Apart from these popular foods, several other nutrient-dense foods have also made into the list of superfoods:
- Sweet potato
- Aloe vera
- Whole grains
- Tips to incorporate superfoods into your diet
If you are someone whose plate is always filled with browns, carbs, and sweets, this section is for you. Here are some amazing tips you can use to sneak superfoods into your diet while making it even more delicious:
- Blend it
Make your drinks healthier and fruitier by blending in some fresh berries and fruits. It not only adds taste to smoothies but also gives you the daily dose of nutrients.
- Top it
Superfoods like olive oil, leafy greens, berries, and yogurt can easily make your dishes scrumptious and flavorful when you top your salads, grilled chicken, and other meals with them.
- Cook it
Make turmeric, garlic, ginger, yogurt, olive oil, and other superfoods your go-to ingredients while cooking. These spices add flavor to meals while keeping it healthy and nutritious.
- Grill or roast it
Vegetables, fish, and meat make really good meals when grilled. They can enliven your dishes with a new touch of health and nutrition.
- Substitute it
Try replacing your fatty white potato fries with sweet potato fries. The same is the case for regular fatty oils with olive oil.
- Bake it
Pies, cakes, tarts, and bread become even more scrumptious when you add berries, nuts, pumpkins, and other fresh fruits.
- Stir it in
Vegetables, either sliced, shredded,or diced are easy to hide into soups, stews, omelets, and quiches.
- Spice it up
Vinegar, mustard, lemon, and other spices are sure to add a zingy and spicy twist to your meals and make them even more delightful and healthy.
The road to optimal health and fitness is unachievable unless you eat healthy and nutrient-dense foods. Superfoods are the ultimate solution to maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the risk of illnesses, and keeping yourself in a sound state of mind.
All the foods on our list can be used in one way or the other to achieve a more balanced diet and keep yourself and your family healthy and fit.