What are superfoods?
Superfoods are considered to be natural, unprocessed foods that are extremely high in a variety of vitamins and minerals. These foods tend to provide a significant amount of nutrients, compared to your traditional fruits and vegetables. Superfoods have been said to prevent a variety of health issues, though this has not been proven with sufficient scientific data. However, because they do contain a large number of nutrients, they are still good for you. Here are some examples of some of the most common superfoods.
Acai and Other Berries
Acai berries are dark purple berries native to South America, known for their high fiber content and they’re loaded with antioxidants. Other berries such as blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries are also rich in antioxidants.
Our bodies still need fat, but most people get their fat from unhealthy sources. Avocados are considered a superfood because they’re full of good fats. They’re also high in fiber and potassium.
Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds
Chia seeds are a great plant source of protein, as they contain all essential amino acids that are found in meat products. These, along with flaxseeds are high in antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Compared to regular milk chocolate, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. Dark chocolate has a high cacao (unroasted) content, while milk chocolate has a higher cocoa (roasted) content. Cacao is what gives dark chocolate its antioxidants and also its bitter taste.
Dark Green Vegetables
Dark, leafy greens are considered a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. They contain the minerals calcium, folate, iron, and magnesium, and they also contain fiber and vitamin C. Spinach, kale, collards, and swiss chard are also considered dark, leafy greens.
Green tea, specifically Matcha, is high in polyphenols, which are a category of plant compounds. These polyphenols are high in antioxidants, and have been said to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and protect against heart disease. If you don’t like the taste of tea, there are things you can add to improve the taste.
This is a type of fermented dairy drink that is high in probiotics. Probiotics are known to help improve digestion. Other fermented foods high in probiotics are yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi.
Quinoa is also another great plant-based protein source. Quinoa, like chia seeds, contain all nine essential amino acids, and they’re also high in fiber, antioxidants, and iron.
How They Benefit Health
One of the main nutrients found in almost all of these superfoods is antioxidants. These are molecules that help fight free radicals in our bodies, and these free radicals are known to encourage the development of cancer cells. They can also help control heart disease and diabetes. Antioxidants are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, but have a higher concentration in the superfoods listed above.
Many superfoods also have an extremely high fiber content. Fiber is one of the best things for the digestive system, along with probiotics. These two nutrients may eliminate the need to use OTC antacid medications when dealing with acid reflux, heartburn, and other digestive problems. Unfortunately, some people have been harmed from taking Zantac and other antacids that may have been contaminated with a toxic chemical.
Keep in mind that even though these foods are high in a lot of vitamins and minerals, you may not necessarily need this extra boost of nutrients, as you can receive these same nutrients in a balanced and varied diet. However, they aren’t usually harmful to those who eat them if they don’t have an allergy to them. Also, while superfoods are known to boost health, they haven’t been clinically proven to prevent all diseases or cure any. They may play a huge part in preventing certain diseases for some individuals, but it’s still important to consult your doctor in addition to consuming these healthy foods.