The term is relatively new and is making waves in the Nutrition sector. Superfoods -What are they, one might ask?
Super foods refer to foods that provide the ultimate nutritional benefits by consuming very less calories. Sounds like a dream, right? Let us explore further. Superfoods consist of an array of vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants. As of now, there is no specific principle on what a superfood should be although most superfoods are plant based.
What are Superfoods?
Superfoods are foods that are known to have a high nutritional value. This mean, they consist of a variety of nutrients and considerably lesser calories. Superfoods contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in large quantities. These antioxidants are naturally occurring molecules in certain foods. They have the ability to neutralise the free radicals present in the human body. Free radicals are by products of the energy consumption and can have an undesirable impact on your body. The antioxidants try to reverse the impact of the free radicals that are associated with the following health problems.
- Heart diseases
- Respiratory ailments
- Parkinson disease
However, do not be mistaken, Superfoods are not medicines or cure all foods. A lot of people have this misconception that superfoods rid you of all the ailments which is unfortunately untrue. These are unrealistic expectations. Superfoods do not prevent or cure chronic diseases and health problems. One cannot stop taking medicines just because one consumes Spirulina.
The trick is to include superfoods as a part of the daily nutritional intake. A key reminder when consuming superfoods is to maintain a healthy diet plan which means you cannot just eat superfoods on top of a bad diet. There are athletes who try to add superfoods to their diet in order to reduce other supplements, which is understandable as long as they are eating well. For example, a rock climber who has to use his or her strength to hang on their fingers needs to limit the amount of calories. For such athletes, superfoods are a boon.
Some of the additional benefits of consuming superfoods include:
- They help maintain weight.
- They increase metabolism and energy levels.
- They increase the overall health and complexion of hair, nails etc.
Here is a list of five globally preferred superfoods:
Spirulina: Spirulina is one of the best superfoods for everyone. One cannot stress enough of the number of health benefits spirulina brings to the table. Spirulina consists of 65% concentrated protein and contains eight amino acids. It is a source of chlorophyll, salts and enzymes. Multiple vitamin groups such as Vitamin K, E, A, B1, B2,B6. Apart from these benefits, Spirulina also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and also contains the same amount of iron one would obtain from red meat.
One can always add spirulina to salads, smoothies and other preferred meals. Spirulina can also be consumed in tablet form.
Raw Chocolate: Chocolate is made from raw cocoa beans. These cocoa beans should be roasted below 115 degrees, unrefined and unprocessed. In this natural state, the vitamins and minerals are easily accessible for the body.
Raw cocoa has high levels of magnesium, chromium, B vitamins and antioxidants. They help in reducing the oxidative stress of strenuous activities thus enabling athletes to reduce their recovery time. Cocoa has the highest level of magnesium than any other food source in the planet.
Maca Powder: In the Peruvian Andes, there is a root plant called Maca. The indigenous tribes in the area used to consume it with every meal. The most amazing property of the food is that it is an adaptogen which mean whatever your body is lacking; maca powder has the ability to become a substitute. It is also a source for energy and overall vitality. It also helps reduce the stress levels, improve the quality of your sleep and increase the libido. Maca powder is also a rich source of sterols which is a steroid like component found in plants and animals. Sterols help in fast muscle recovery.
Berries: It is said that our ancestors from they were crossing the forests collected berries as fuel during the days when animals were nowhere to be found. These berries consist of a component called flavonoids which is shown to lower the risk of a heart attack. Some of the berries which are commonly accepted as superfoods include raspberry, blueberry, acai berry and goji berries.
Super qualities of the berries:
- Acai berries: Small, purple berries which grow in South America. They contain 19 amino acids and many antioxidants.
- Blueberries: These are rich in fibre, manganese and Vitamin K.
- Goji Berries: Goji berries are found in Asia and they contain high volumes of Vitamin C and E. They are constantly used in Eastern medicine to help reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Other popular superfoods include:
How to make superfoods a part of your diet?
A person can find all these superfoods in supplement form or powder form in any marketplace. One should neither go above beyond to find these foods nor spend a lot of money on them. If you have these foods naturally occurring in your area, consume them. Chances are that, they grow there, in the same weather conditions you live in; you are more likely to draw the nutritional benefits from them.
Add superfoods as a part of your diet. Try to consume foods of all colours. When you are having superfoods like maca or spirulina, it is highly probable that you might not like the taste. In which case, you should try and mix it with any other dish you have at your table.