What are Superfoods?
Superfoods such as Baobab Powderhave been receiving a lot of attention in the media and across the internet; there are a few misconceptions about what Superfoods are and how they can benefit your body by being included in your diet.
Superfoods: A definition
Superfoods are often described as miracle foods and as a result many people are often disappointed with the lack of instantaneous results that they were expecting. Essentially Superfoods as a collection of different types of foods that are high in a particular vitamin or substance that is good for your body.
Different health bodies and organizations have recently started to restrict how the terms “Superfood” is applied, especially when it comes to marketing. In order for a Superfood to be classed as such, it has to be extensively tested in scientific trials, as any medication or treatment has to before it is sold to the general public.
Generally Superfoods have extremely high levels of vitamins and/or anti-oxidants that, in their raw form, have some form of health benefit such as reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure or helping to treat or prevent cancer. Of course, a single dose of any Superfood won’t lead to miraculous and amazing results, but when they are eaten consistently as part of your everyday diet they can have a profound impact on your health.
Disputes of Superfood claims
With any claim of helping the wellbeing and health of people, there are those who try and abuse the system for their own gain and Superfoods have been no exception. Since the rise of Superfoods, there has been a flood of different foods into the market with claims of being Superfoods with little to no evidence to support the claims.
Equally there are Superfoods that have been proven to be beneficial in the ways they are stated only the effects are seen when extreme and, sometimes, unpalatable quantities that no normal person would be able or likely to consume. This has led to some foods being disputed and the effects of all Superfoods being called into question by skeptics. But there are still Superfoods out there whose health benefits are well established.
Different Types of Superfoods
There are lots of different foods and ingredients that are Superfoods, some of which are surprising and others that you may well have heard of as being referred to as a Superfood.
- Beetroot Juice – though lots of people don’t like the sound of drinking beetroot juice, this Superfood has been known to reduce blood pressure, prevent the onset of dementia and boost the effectiveness of exercise.
- Blueberries – this is possibly the most famous of the Superfoods with celebrities backing the antioxidant powers that this tiny and tasty fruit contain.
- Broccoli – A great source of vitamin C, A, K, folate, calcium, fiber, beta-carotene and other anti-oxidants, this Superfood has been linked to reducing the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, and can help in fight against cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes.
- Chocolate – At least the dark form of chocolate is considered a Superfood, helping to reduce blood pressure as well as helping to prevent cancer and is an excellent form of stress relief, though it should be eaten in moderation.
- Garlic – Though often referred to as a defense against vampires, garlic actually has some other benefits that make it a Superfood. Containing vitamin C, manganese, selenium and allicin, garlic is highly effective at reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as helping with colds, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.
- Goji Berries – Another celebrity favorite, goji berries are a Superfood that has been used in Chinese medicine for over 6,000 years. Some of the documented benefits of goji berries include improvements in the body’s immunity, a positive effect on cardiovascular disease and increase life expectancy as well as improving brain activity and digestion. Goji berries have also been linked to the prevention of cancer.
- Green Tea – Used by the Chinese for centuries to treat everything from headaches to depression, green tea contains folate, a range of B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, caffeine, manganese and catechins. Research into green tea has shown it can be used to help increase weight loss, especially around the belly, reduce cholesterol, prevent cancer, help fight cardiovascular disease and prevent Alzheimer’s making it one of the most impressive Superfoods out there.
- Pomegranate – A fruit that is popular in high priced desserts and Greek legend, the pomegranate has been eaten for millennia by civilizations as far back as the Egyptians. Pomegranates are not only a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C and E, iron and tannins.
- Oily Fish – Omega 3 has been one of the elements of this Superfood that has gotten a lot of attention for the positive effects that it has on health. Oily fish are not only rich in Omega 3, protein, vitamin D, selenium and some of the B vitamins, but have been linked to helping those who suffer from cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, age-related vision loss and dementia. Oily fish includes salmon, mackerel and sardines.
- Wheatgrass – with a higher nutritional content than other vegetables, wheatgrass is reported to build red blood cells, help improve circulation and protect against inflammation.