Inside Scoop: ‘Superfood’ is definitely a term you have heard by now, but do you actually know what a superfood really is? Read on to learn about the nutrient goldmines that we call superfoods.
This post was submitted by The Giving Nature, an online health food store passionate about helping people live healthier lives.
With more and more people setting their sights on healthy eating, much of the spotlight has been put on superfoods. For one, the name alone is inviting enough to make people try them out. If you are one of the many people wondering what superfoods are all about, then you have come to the right page! Here you will learn more about these foods – as well as the benefits that make them ‘super’ to one’s health.
What is a Superfood?
Superfoods are whole food sources rich in a variety of nutrients. Since a large quantity of diverse nutrients including vitamins, fiber, protein, healthy fat, and minerals are essential to your health, including superfoods in your daily diet is a great way to pack a huge portion of nutrients into a small portion of food. These superfoods are loaded with beneficial qualities and they come in their original forms – meaning what they look like at the grocery store is what they look like when they were plucked from the tree (or drawn from the soil). Superfoods usually come from plant protein sources, which make them densely packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The Different Types and Many Benefits of Superfoods
Because they are packed in nutrients, superfoods are truly beneficial to your health. These super antioxidant foods can help improve immunity and prevent inflammation. Additionally, they can help reduce the risks of heart disease and cancer.
If you want to achieve better health, then here are some of the healthiest (and most delicious) superfoods that you ought to try out:
Chia seeds are a superfood that prove the saying “small but mighty.” These small seeds are obtained from the plant Salvia hispanica, which has originated in Mexico and Guatemala. They were considered important food sources by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs and have been part of the human diet for more than five millennia.
The Pros of Eating Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a whole grain superfood that contain nine amino acids, making them excellent sources of plant-based protein. According to Ullah et al., these seeds contain several antioxidants that help protect the heart and liver, and have even been linked to a reduction in risk of heart disease. Even better, these antioxidants are said to help fight signs of aging by preventing wrinkles, as well as reducing the risk of certain cancers.
Chia seeds are also rich in both fatty acids and fiber. Each 100-gram serving contains 34 to 40 grams of dietary fiber, which is 100% of the recommended daily dietary intake. Fiber can make you feel full easily, so you don’t end up eating more. As such, chia seeds are hailed by many as fantastic superfoods for weight loss.
Incorporate the chia seed into your breakfast routine by sprinkling on yogurt, oatmeal, or avocado toast.
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More of a super-drink than a superfood, Green tea has long been used by the ancient Chinese and Japanese. Compared to other teas, it is made by steaming the fresh leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This process helps retain the tea’s natural green color.
The Importance of Drinking Green Tea
Green tea contains 450 substances, the most famous of which is the polyphenol. Polyphenols yield a lot of antioxidants that help promote digestive health and minimize risk of heart disease. Furthermore, polyphenols can also help to lower cholesterol, as well as to protect the nerves from illness-related damages. A systematic review by Jurgens et al. has shown that green tea may help reduce weight loss, even in small amounts. It may help remove as much as 3.5 kilograms of body weight. Additionally, it can help shave as much as 3.3 centimeters from the waistline. With these impressive results, green tea may be the best beverage for those who want to shed some unwanted pounds. Add a squeeze of lemon for some vitamin c and a few drops of honey for sweetness.
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Berries, in general, are vitamin-packed and rich in flavonoids, which can promote heart health. One of the most powerful and nutrient-rich varieties is
the Goji berry, which is a small red fruit commonly found in Asia and the Mediterranean. Goji berries can be used in a variety of recipes, including being blended into a smoothie or baked into cookies or granola bars. Despite its slightly sour taste, these ‘super’ berries pack a whopping lot in terms of health benefits.
What are Goji Berries good for?
According to Ma et al., Goji berries, which are also known as Lyceum fruits, are rich in vitamin c and antioxidants. These substances help neutralize free radicals, which are molecules that damage the cells. If left unattended, these substances can lead to signs of aging (think wrinkles and fine lines). As such, eating Goji berries prove to be a healthy and delicious way to combat aging. In addition to promoting a more youthful look, Goji berries can also help reduce the risks of heart attack and certain cancers. Moreover, researchers say that they can even help enhance immune system health and improve vision as well.
Next time you reach for a snack, consider trying a goji berry smoothie or yogurt sprinkled with goji berries.
Crispy pumpkin seeds – known to many as pepitas – make for good and healthy snacking. A serving of 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds contains as much as 5 grams of protein as well as 5 grams of fiber, making them an incredibly nutritious superfood. With that being said, these seeds are considered to be one of the most protein-rich plant-based foods.
Why Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
The better answer is, why not? For one, these seeds are good sources of zinc and magnesium. Apart from that, these vegan protein seeds contain other important nutrients such as:
·Omega-3 fatty acids
With these ingredients, pumpkin seeds can help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. They can also help prevent heart diseases, diabetes complications, and breast cancer. With its high magnesium content, pumpkin seeds may help promote a restful sleep too.
Try roasting pumpkin seeds with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and then sprinkling on avocado toast, mixing with granola, or combining with dark chocolate to create chocolate clusters.
Cacao is the raw, unprocessed bean from which chocolate is made and is a superfood considered a sweet and healthy favorite by many. It’s so valuable that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans used cacao beans as currency. Today, it is used to make brownies, nibs, and ‘healthier’ chocolate drinks.
As the name suggests, raw cacao is made from unroasted, cold-pressed cocoa beans. Raw cacao contains high levels of the following nutrients:
Raw Cacao Benefits
Out of all the superfoods, raw cacao remains to be the best source of magnesium. According to the US National Library of Medicine, this mineral helps maintain muscle and nerve function. It can also support the immune system, all while keeping the heart steady and the bones strong. Unlike dark chocolate, raw cacao is packed with antioxidants – considerably more than any other food. According to Katz et al., these antioxidants have anti-inflammatory effects that keep the heart healthy. They can also help reduce insulin resistance, which can help lower one’s risk of diabetes. Raw cacao can also affect the brain, resulting in better cognitive function and improved mood.
This superfood can be beneficial to your appearance as well. It is rich in sulfur, a mineral that helps promote flawless skin. It can also make your hair and nails stronger – and longer. With these benefits, raw cacao can make you beautiful inside out.
Next time you’re reaching for something sweet, consider a healthy dessert featuring raw cacao — perhaps raw cacao brownies, energy bites, or milkshakes.
Spirulina is a superfood powder made from an algae known for its blue-green color. It first gained acclaim when NASA used it to supplement its astronauts during long space missions. With its 60% protein content, it is considered one of the best vegan protein sources on the planet and is also loaded with b vitamins and vitamin E. As such, spirulina powder is often used to make smoothies, pudding parfait, and even avocado toast!
Spirulina powder benefits
According to Karkos et al., Spirulina – or the “food of the future,” comes with the following benefits:
·Anti-inflammatory properties, which make it useful for conditions such as allergic rhinitis
·Anti-viral capacities, which may help limit the replication of certain viruses in human cells
·Cholesterollowering effects, which can help reduce the risk of heart attack
·Anti-cancer effects, especially on oral tumors
·Treatment for chronic arsenic poisoning
While spirulina powder’s nutritional benefits are more than impressive, this product also may hold the key to weight loss as well. According to DiNicolantoni et al., those who were given spirulina (alongside a low-calorie diet) had lower body weights. Furthermore, another spirulina research group reported greatly reduced appetites. With these findings, many opt for Spirulina supplements such as the Super Greens Powder weight loss product.
Some more foods that experts consider superfoods are wild salmon, since they are loaded with fatty acids that lower risk of cardiovascular disease; the acai berry, since it is packed with antioxidants and vitamin c; the nutrient-rich sweet potato since it is loaded with antioxidants and vitamin A; kale, since a single cup of the leafy green vegetable is loaded with over 700% of your daily value of vitamin k; and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate since it is loaded with nutrients like fiber, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Superfoods are nutrient-rich whole food sources packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and spirulina are exceptional plant protein sources and are a great way to easily incorporate a significant amount of protein into a vegan diet. They are also rich in fiber, which make them good superfoods for weight loss. With the many benefits of superfoods, it’s important to add any (if not all) of these ‘super’ sources to your healthy diet.
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