Supercharging Your Diet
Superfoods are nutrient-rich and considered to be nearly miraculous for your health and well-being. In terms of marketing, it a label that is used to increase demand for specific food items. In fact, the marketing of products as superfoods was prohibited in the European Union in 2007 unless accompanied by a specifically authorized health claim supported by credible scientific research.
Superfoods are said to contain nutrients such as antioxidants that claim to ward off cancer and other ailments. Some are touted as aphrodisiacs, heart disease preventatives or even mood regulators. When you take a close look at it, any fruit or vegetable could be considered a superfood in some way.
Although the term has been commercialized, it does not mean it works magic. Many people get carried away with the claims and research done on each superfood. To most, they sound like the ultimate health fixer. Like many other things, to reap the actual benefits you must be consistent in eating them and not over-eating them. Some people may think that they can eat some superfoods on top of a poor diet and expect it to work its magic. Eating junk food in excess with blueberries as a snack doesn’t lower your risk of heart disease.
Then there’s the term ‘super fruit’, however not all fruits qualify for this title. Super fruits are only deemed super by scientists if they are packed with a high level of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some of these include blueberries, avocados, bananas. dragon fruit, grapefruit, kiwi and much more.
Blueberries are among the popular super fruits. Native to America, they are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits. The main antioxidant is flavonoids which can protect the brain’s memory. They can assist in lowering blood pressure, protecting cholesterol and blood from damaging and are low in calories. The best part is that they taste great and work well in fruit salads, smoothies, jams and baked in pies.
Kiwi, also called the Chinese gooseberry, is often seen in fruit salads. They are extremely rich in Vitamin C which provides aid to bodily functions like strengthening the immune system and preventing common ailments. They are also an unusual source of Vitamin E which helps dissolves fat making it a great snack if you plan on dieting. A Taiwan Medical University study showed that kiwi improves your sleep. It is said to improve the overall quality of sleep.
Dark Chocolate is also considered a superfood. They are healthy and rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health.
Kale, sometimes called “queen of greens’ is considered to be a powerhouse when it comes to superfoods. Kale is high in iron, even more than beef! This promotes cell growth and proper liver function. It even has more calcium than milk.
Salmon is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which according to research suggests that it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also stated that it can help protect against UV induced skin damage. The omega-3 fatty acids have also been linked to improved cognitive function thus making it a good choice for a healthy heart and mind. Salmon can also be prepared in any way possible, best with garlic and lemon.
Grapefruit is known for its weight loss abilities. Studies state that people who eat half a grapefruit or drink the juice before each meal may lose weight that people who do not. This makes it a great snack! Like all citrus fruits, it is high in Vitamin C and contains a high source of fiber. It also contains lycopene which helps protect against cervical and pancreatic cancer. Grapefruit is also a natural pain reliever because it contains salicylic acid, which is the active ingredient in aspirin.
Chia seeds are a great topping for your smoothies, juices, yogurt, oatmeal or ice cream. While it does not alter the taste of dishes it does pack a punch. It is a great energy booster and has a ton of nutrients including plant-based omega-3, protein and fiber. It also contains important bone nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Known for its beta-carotene which is essential for eye health, the pumpkin is also on this list. It is also a natural immune booster and makes a perfect aid in weight loss because it is low calories and fat-free. The pumpkin seed can also be eaten roasted. Pumpkin can be used fresh in stews, soups or pies.
Did you know turkey is also considered a superfood? Turkey is low in fat and highly nutritious and can be prepared in a variety of ways. It is considered to be one of the leanest meats. Many benefits include that it is a great source of protein, supports a healthy thyroid, and boosts the immune system. Some of the nutrients include zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and B6, iron and selenium.