Superfood is a term used to refer to foods that are believed to provide maximum nutritional benefits without containing a lot of calories. They’re foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. But is that all there is to it? What are superfoods exactly? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.
What are Superfoods?
As mentioned earlier, superfoods are foods that contain lots of nutrients while having minimal calories. They also contain a lot of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. In case you’re wondering, antioxidants are molecules that can neutralize free radicals found in the body. Free radicals refer to natural byproducts of energy production, which can cause certain issues it not eliminated.
In essence, antioxidants can weaken, even reverse, the effects of free radicals, which, when left unattended, can lead to health problems like arthritis, cancer, emphysema, and more. However, it’s also worth noting that superfoods are not cure-all foods. Contrary to what many people believe, eating superfoods won’t protect them from chronic diseases and other health problems.
However, the benefits of superfoods just can’t be overlooked. By including them in your daily nutritional intak. You’ll enjoy a lot of health benefits, but only when you also consume a healthy and balanced diet.
That said, let’s talk about what benefits can these so-called super antioxidant foods offer.
Superfoods and Their Benefits
The benefits of superfoods tie into the superfood you want to consume. It simply means that each superfood has its benefits to offer. There are some of the most popular superfoods on the market without further ado and their corresponding benefits:
Cacao powder contains flavonoids that help increase blood flow to your skin, brain, and heart. At the same time, it can also help lower your blood pressure. Cacao also contains anandamide, which can help create a sense of happiness. Lastly, it has the ability to combat mood swings and other emotional issues like stress, anxiety, and depression by boosting the serotonin levels in your brain.
However, in order to enjoy raw cacao benefits, you have to stay away from cocoa powder and instead go for unprocessed cacao beans. The reason is that normal cacao powder has undergone chemical processes that end up destroying a huge amount of its antioxidants and flavanols. A recent study suggested that around 60-90% of a cacao’s antioxidants are lost during “Dutch processing.” Therefore, if you want to get the benefits of this superfood, you have to do away with the processed versions.
The Goji berry, likewise known as wolfberry, is a type of berry that’s filled with natural anti-aging agents capable of slowing down the body’s aging process. Not only that, but these orange-red berries were used by Chinese herbalists for a very long time to deal with poor circulation and any vision-related issues.
Though further scientific research is still required to back this claim. It can’t be denied that Goji berries are rich in antioxidants. In fact, it’s found out that it contains up to 12 times more antioxidants compared to that of blueberries. Studies have also revealed that Goji berries are rich in vitamin A and zeaxanthin, which are both important for eye health.
But aside from those, what are Goji berries good for? Well, a study involving overweight people suggested that drinking Goji berry on a regular basis can help improve metabolism and even reduce their waist size. In other words, Goji berry is one of those superfoods for weight loss you want to consider if you’re aiming to lose weight the healthy way.
If there’s one superfood that you don’t want to miss on this list, that would be no other than avocados. Avocados are widely known for their benefits, one of which is helping reduce cholesterol and even alleviating arthritis. Moreover, they’re rich in monosaturated fats, which are quite helpful in improving good cholesterol on the body.
That’s not all. Avocados are also rich in vitamins B6 and E, which can help in your body’s red blood cell formation. It also contains more potassium than a banana, not to mention it’s really satisfying, which is the reason why it’s highly recommended for people who are following a weight loss routine.
Perhaps one of the best things about avocados is that they can you can enjoy them in a lot of ways. You can choose to consume it ripe as a fruit, add it to salads, or use it in cooking.
Quinoa is one of those superfoods that are filled with plant based protein. As a matter, it contains way more protein than any other type of grain. Compared to other plant foods, quinoa is the only one that contains enough amounts of all the essential amino acids, thereby making it one of the excellent plant protein sources out there.
Of course, like any other superfoods, the benefits of quinoa aren’t limited to that. It also contains high amounts of fiber, which is twice as high as most grains. According to a study, quinoa contains around 10-16 grams of fiber for every 100 grams. The problem, however, is that most of the quinoa’s fiber content is insoluble. Thereby providing less benefits compared to soluble fiber. Still, its soluble fiber content can be considered decent enough.
Spirulina, which is a blue-green algae, is considered as one of the most nutritious superfoods on the market. If we are to compare gram for gram, spirulina would have a higher protein content compared to red meat. Aside from that, it also contains all of the essential fatty acids needed by your body. It’s also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Some of the health benefits that spirulina has to offer include lowering your blood pressure, potentially preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries, and even has the potential to reduce the occurrence of cancer. Since spirulina is mostly available in powder form, you can expect more spirulina powder benefits when used in smoothies or sprinkling it over your food.
Acai berries are known to contain huge amounts of antioxidants, up to 10 times that of blueberries. When taken in juice form, acai berries can help increase antioxidants in your blood and reduce chemicals that are involved in oxidative stress.
Additionally, it’s been revealed that can help reduce the levels of insulin, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol among overweight adults by consuming 200 grams of acai berry every day for one month. The same effects were also displayed by athletes who drink 3 ounces of acai juice blend for 6 weeks straight.
Lastly, the antioxidants in acai berry have the ability to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. This was concluded after a study involving people suffering from osteoarthritis revealed that the participants displayed signs of reduced pain and enhanced daily living after drinking 4 ounces of acai berry juice every day for 12 weeks straight.
Things to Keep in Mind
Even though the term “superfood” is wildly popular right now, there’s actually no scientific-based definition for it. In fact, even the Food and Drug Administration has no official definition for this term. As such, you have to take note that while superfoods have their own benefits to give. They alone won’t be able to give you that healthy and balanced diet you need.
In fact, eating too much of a single type of food can end up harming your health. It’s for this reason that you should combine superfoods with other types of food for a well-balanced diet. Just keep in mind that there’s no single food that has all the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that you need. Therefore, eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods is required so that your body can get all the health benefits it needs to function properly.
It doesn’t mean that eating a superfood is bad; you have to make sure not to really on it alone.