What Are Superfoods And What Makes Them So Special?
Have you wondered about this?
According to Medical News Today superfoods have a high nutritional density that enables them to deliver high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with very few calories.
Thanks to their high concentrations of vitamins and minerals, eating a diet rich in superfoods can help us to fight off illnesses and keep us healthier. Superfoods have been shown to promote heart health and weight loss as well as increase energy levels and reduce the effects of aging.
But remember, not even superfoods can work in isolation. A healthy diet relies upon variety – no single food can give you all the nutrients your body needs, so while superfoods are fantastic for your health, it’s important to add them to a balanced diet containing plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, legumes and nuts, while avoiding refined sugar and processed foods.
Here is a list of 5 recommended by LIFE PLUS, an excellent whole food nutrition company whose products, unfortunately, are hard to obtain in Canada.
Yogurt. An excellent source of calcium and protein, yogurt is also packed with live cultures known as probiotics. Probiotics are ‘good’ or ‘friendly bacteria that work to protect you against the other, more harmful bacteria that also live inside your body. Yogurt can be eaten on its own – or with some berries to combine another superfood! You can also use it in place of sour cream or in dips or sauces. Be sure to choose yogurts that contain live active cultures.
Quinoa. There are more than 120 different varieties of quinoa, but the most popular by far is simple white quinoa, which has a mild flavour. It’s high in antioxidants, copper, fibre, iron, magnesium and zinc and can be used in place of rice. You can also add it to salads, make burger patties with it or use it to bulk out soups and stews. This super grain used to be hard to find, but thanks to it’s growing popularity it has finally started hitting the supermarket shelves.
Raw cacao. While chocolate itself is not a superfood, the dried seeds it is made from are! Raw cacao seeds contain one of the highest natural sources of magnesium and are also packed full of calcium, zinc, copper and selenium. In fact, raw cacao contains more antioxidants per gram than blueberries and goji berries! Raw cacao is high in flavanols – plant compounds associated with antioxidant activity. The flavanols in cacao are thought to help improve circulation to the heart1 which may help to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. As cacao contains a small amount of caffeine, as well as theobromine – a compound known to have a mild energizing effect – it may also be good for improving your energy levels.
Leafy greens. Packed full of fibre, dark, leafy greens are also a fantastic source of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and other nutrients including iron, magnesium, zinc and folate. Kale, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach and turnip green have all been shown in studies as having the potential to reduce the risk of some chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. You may love these vegetables on their own, but you could also try adding them to soups and salads, curries, stir fries and even smoothies!
Berries. Berries are a fantastic addition to your diet thanks to their high concentration of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries and Goji berries are all associated in studies with a reduced risk of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease. The best part? They taste delicious! Berries are an easy addition to your diet and can be added to yoghurt, smoothies or cereals, or simply eaten with a snack. If they’re not in season, it’s just as healthy to buy them frozen.
Hey, look at the last two. I think I’ve just described Juice Plus+.
Liz Davis is a Pole Walking Instructor who writes about simple ways to stay healthy and slow down the aging process.
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