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All About Superfoods

Superfoods are foods that provide our bodies with nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

These foods can help us feel energized and balanced, improve our moods and reduce inflammation in the body. There are many types of superfoods, so we’ll be talking about some of them today! 

Superfoods are foods that pack a powerful nutrient punch and can be used as an alternative to supplements. 

They’re also some of the most nutritious and delicious foods on the planet! In this post, we’ll explore what superfoods are, where they come from, and how they can help you live a healthier life. 

Superfoods come in all shapes and sizes! This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about them: what they do for your body, how to find them at the store, and recipes that use some of these delicious ingredients. 

Here’s a list of some common superfoods: broccoli, blueberries, black beans, salmon…   So stay tuned for more information on this topic below!

Superfoods are foods and drinks with high nutritional content, such as protein, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all superfoods will be the same for everyone depending on what you’re looking for!  

For example, some people might want more protein while others may need more vitamin C. This blog post will explore the basics of superfoods and how they can benefit your health.

Superfoods are plant-based foods that provide abundant nutrients like vitamins A & C, iron, magnesium and fibre. There’s no definition for “superfood,” but many people categorize them based on their antioxidant content or health benefits.

They’re easy to incorporate into a diet, and doing so will increase the number of vitamins and minerals you consume each day. 

Superfoods include dark green leafy vegetables, berries, beans, broccoli, avocado, lentils. You’ll want to try incorporating these foods as part of your daily routine if you haven’t already!

Superfoods are a hot topic right now, and it’s not hard to see why! They’re healthy, delicious, and can be easily incorporated into your diet. Read on for an introduction to what superfoods are, the benefits of eating them, how they help your body function better-and some recipes you can try out. 

Superfoods are foods that have been shown to provide nutrients necessary for optimal health or longevity because they contain high levels of antioxidants or other specific nutrients. 

This is usually in addition to being low in calories and fat content. 

Feel free to read on for more information!

What are superfoods, and why should you eat them?

A “superfood” is a fairly new term referring to foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

No standard criteria or legal definitions classify any food as a superfood at this time. However, most superfoods are plant-based.

In this article, we define what qualifies as a superfood, provide some common examples and their benefits, and provide tips on including them in the diet.

Superfoods are foods that have a very high nutritional density. This means that they provide a substantial amount of nutrients and very few calories.

They contain a high volume of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Antioxidants are natural molecules that occur in certain foods. They help neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are natural byproducts of energy production that can wreak havoc on the body.

Antioxidant molecules decrease or reverse the effects of free radicals that have close links with the following health problems:

  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • arthritis
  • stroke
  • respiratory diseases
  • immune deficiency
  • emphysema
  • Parkinson’s disease

Superfoods are not cure-all foods.

Many people have unrealistic expectations about these foods, thinking they’ll be protected from chronic diseases and health problems. As a result, they may eat one or two of these nutrient-dense foods on top of a poor diet.

Including superfoods as part of daily nutritional intake is great but only when consuming a healthy, balanced diet overall. So eat a “super diet” rather than concentrate on individual foods.

Common superfoods

Studies have demonstrated that superfoods high in antioxidants and flavonoids help prevent coronary heart disease and cancer, improve immunity, and decrease inflammation.

Regularly eating fruits and vegetables also has strong associations with a lower risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions and overall mortality.

The nutrients they contain help promote a healthy complexion, nails, and hair and increase energy levels.

They can also help maintain a healthy weight.

1. Berries

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The higher levels of flavonoids in berries have been shown to lower the risk of a heart attack. Commonly identified superfood berries include acai berries, blueberries, raspberries, tart cherries, cranberries, and goji berries.

They boast the following benefits:

  • Acai berries: These are small, dark purple berries grown in South America. They contain 19 amino acids and many antioxidants.
  • Blueberries: High in fibre, manganese, and vitamin K. Cranberries are high in a particular flavonoid that helps lower the risk of urinary tract infection.
  • Goji berries: These are small red berries native to Asia that are high in vitamin C and E, along with many different types of flavonoids. They are frequently used in Eastern medicine to help treat diabetes and high blood pressure and maintain eye, liver, and kidney health.

2. Soy

Soybeans have a high concentration of isoflavones, a phytochemical. Phytochemicals are compounds that occur naturally in plants.

Some research demonstrates that isoflavones in soy help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol in the blood.

A few studies have shown that soy may prevent age-related memory loss. Soy isoflavones might also reduce bone loss, increase bone mineral density during menopause, and decrease menopausal symptoms.

3. Halibut

You already knew fish was rich in protein, but you might be surprised to learn that halibut tops fibre-rich oatmeal and vegetables in the satiety department. 

The Satiety Index of Common Foods ranks it the number two most filling food—bested only by boiled potatoes for its fullness factor. 

Study authors attribute the filling factor of white fish like halibut to its unique protein content and influence on serotonin, one of the key hormones responsible for appetite signals.

4. Tea

Tea contains few calories, helps with hydration, and is a good source of antioxidants.

Catechins, potent antioxidants found primarily in green tea, have beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology examined the effects of green tea, white tea, and water consumption on stress levels in 18 students.

The study suggested that green and white tea had reduced stress levels and that white tea had an even greater effect. However, larger studies are necessary to confirm this possible health benefit.

Green tea may also have an anti-arthritic effect by suppressing overall inflammation.

5. Bananas

The humble fruit—botanically, actually a berry!—is perhaps the least-heralded supermarket staple. But its powers are proven, and to investigate just how impactful they can be, we consulted our team of nutritionists to determine exactly what eating one banana does to your body.

6. Bone Broth

While bone broth might not be for everyone, it’s hard to deny the warm beverage’s numerous health benefits. 

The broth is made when animal bones (usually beef or chicken) are left to simmer in water for an extended period, which breaks down their collagen and other nutrients. 

Some of that broken down material from the cartilage and tendons is glucosamine (which you may have seen sold as a supplement for arthritis and joint pain). 

According to a study published in the journal PLOS One, when overweight, middle-aged adults took a glucosamine supplement, they were able to decrease serum CRP (inflammation biomarker) levels by 23 per cent more than those who didn’t make it a supplement. 

The stock is also full of anti-inflammatory amino acids (glycine and proline). The ample levels of gelatin will help rebuild your gut lining to further assist with your anti-inflammatory gut microbes. In other words, drink up!

7. Leafy greens

People often identify kale, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, and collard greens as superfood leafy greens. This is because these foods are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and many B vitamins.

Leafy greens also contain an abundance of carotenoids, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

One cup of kale provides 550 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K, equivalent to over 680 per cent of a person’s daily needs. In addition, kale and other leafy greens are high in fibre and water content, which help prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.

8. Light Canned Tuna

As a primo source of protein and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), canned light tuna is one of the best and most affordable fish for weight loss, especially from your belly! 

One study in the Journal of Lipid Research showed that omega-three fatty acid supplementation had the profound ability to turn off abdominal fat genes. 

And while you’ll find two types of fatty acids in cold-water fish and fish oils—DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)—researchers say DHA can be 40 to 70 per cent more effective than EPA at down-regulating fat genes in the abdomen, preventing belly fat cells from expanding in size. 

According to the most recent guidelines, canned chunk light tuna, harvested from the smallest fish, is considered a “low mercury fish” and can be enjoyed two to three times a week (or up to 12 ounces).

9. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are packed with protein and belly-filling fibre (found in the fruit’s edible seeds). Still, they also contain anthocyanins, tannins, and high levels of antioxidants research published in the International Journal of Obesity says can help fight weight gain. 

Toss some pomegranate seeds onto a salad for a burst of flavour, or mix them into a smoothie to boost the beverage’s nutrient content.

10. Salmon

The high omega-3 fatty acid content in salmon and other fatty fish, such as trout and herring, can decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats, reduce cholesterol and slow the growth of arterial plaque.

11. Ostrich

Lower that eyebrow you’re raising. Ostrich meat is the rising star of the grill. While it’s technically red and has the rich taste of beef, it has less fat than turkey or chicken. A four-ounce patty contains nearly 30 grams of muscle-building nutrients and just six grams of fat. 

Plus, one serving has 200% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin B-12. This exotic meat can also help whittle your middle: Ostrich contains 55 milligrams of choline, one of these essential nutrients for fat loss. 

And it’s not as hard to find as it sounds—ostrich is increasingly available in supermarkets around the country.

12. Lemons

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In addition to smelling nice and looking pretty, lemon can also help encourage weight loss. Just one of the bright citrus fruits contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that has the power to reduce levels of a stress hormone called cortisol that triggers hunger and fat storage.

Additionally, lemons also contain polyphenols, which researchers say may ward off fat accumulation and weight gain. Believe it or not, even the peel is beneficial because it is a potent source of pectin—a soluble fibre that’s been proven to help people feel fuller, longer. 

According to a study published in the American College of Nutrition Journal, participants who ate just 5 grams of pectin experienced more satiety.

13. Oranges

Like their yellow relatives, oranges are chock-full of vitamin C—just one of the tasty fruits provides a staggering 130 per cent of your vitamin C needs for the day. However, what sets oranges apart from lemons is their apparent ability to lower women’s stroke risk. 

According to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association in 2012, eating higher amounts of a flavonoid called flavanone (which is abundant in oranges and grapefruits) may lower one’s chances of having an ischemic stroke. 

The study found that women who ate high amounts of flavanone had a 19 per cent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least amount.

14. Pacific Cod

Fish and chips won’t help you lose weight, at least not out of the fryer. But research suggests a regular serving of Pacific cod, the fish that’s typical of fish sticks, may keep you stick thin. 

One study in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases found that eating five servings of cod per week as part of a low-calorie diet for eight weeks resulted in an extra 3.8 pounds of weight loss compared to a diet with the same amount of calories but no fish.

Researchers attribute the satiating and slimming properties to cod’s high protein content and amino acid profile, which can help regulate the metabolism. No wonder Captain Birdseye looks so smug!

15. Dark chocolate

Research has found that dark chocolate is high in flavonoids. Flavonoids demonstrate antioxidant activity, prevent coronary heart disease and certain types of cancer, and boost the immune system.

The component in chocolate specifically responsible for these benefits is cacao powder. Manufacturers derive this from cacao beans. However, remember that chocolate may have added ingredients, such as added sugar, negating these benefits.

16. Red Tea

Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the “red bush” plant, grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavonoid called Aspalathin. 

According to South African researchers, polyphenols and flavonoids found in the plant inhibit adipogenesis–the formation of new fat cells–by as much as 22 per cent. The chemicals also help aid fat metabolism. 

Plus, Rooibos is naturally sweet, so you won’t need to add sugar. It’s also not technically a tea—it’s a herbal infusion.

17. Pu-erh Tea

Another star of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, this fermented Chinese tea can literally shrink the size of your fat cells! Chinese researchers divided rats into five groups and fed them varying diets over two months to discover the brew’s fat-crusading powers. 

In addition to a control group, a group was given a high-fat diet with no tea supplementation, and three other groups were fed a high-fat diet with varying doses of Pu-erh tea extract. 

The researchers found that the tea significantly lowered triglyceride concentrations (potentially dangerous fat found in the blood) and belly fat in the high-fat diet groups.

18. Grass-Fed Beef

When it comes to steak or burgers, go grass-fed. It may ding your wallet, but it’ll dent your abs. Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner and has fewer calories than conventional meat: A lean seven-ounce conventional strip steak has 386 calories and 16 grams of fat. 

But a seven-ounce grass-fed strip steak has only 234 calories and five grams of fat. Grass-fed meat also contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

19. Wine and grapes

Resveratrol, the polyphenol found in wine that made it famously “heart-healthy”, is present in the skins of red grapes.

A few studies have shown promise that resveratrol can protect against diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. These are conditions caused by poorly controlled diabetes where vision is severely affected.

One 2013 study found that it reduced the effects of neural changes and damage associated with diabetic neuropathy.

Researchers have also found resveratrol to be beneficial for treating Alzheimer’s disease, relieving hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause, and improving blood glucose control. However, large studies using human subjects are still needed to confirm these findings.

Another flavonoid that occurs in grapes, quercetin, is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by LDL cholesterol in animal studies. Quercetin may also have effects that act against cancer.

However, more studies using human subjects are necessary before researchers can confirm the benefits beyond all doubt.

Although wine does contain antioxidants, keep in mind that eating grapes would provide the same benefit alongside additional fibre. In addition, it is recommended that people limit alcoholic beverages to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

20. Chicken

A 3 oz. cooked chicken breast contains only 142 calories and 3 grams of fat but packs a whopping 26 grams of protein — more than half of the day’s recommended allowance. 

But the go-to protein can be a fail on the taste front. (Our casual poll on the taste of plain breast elicited answers ranging from “air you cut with a knife” to “wet sock.”) 

The good news: With just a little creativity, you can make it a savoury post-gym dinner or an impressive date-night meal.

21. Kombucha

Kombucha is a lightly effervescent fermented drink made with black or green tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, called a SCOBY. 

This fermented tea is filled with gut-healthy probiotics, which can help balance good gut bacteria and help boost your immune system. 

In fact, researchers at Cornell University discovered that the trendy beverage might promote immunity because of its powerful anti-microbial properties, which can fight off pathogenic bacteria. 

What’s more? Kombucha still has the healthy properties of tea, including superstar antioxidants.

22. Bison

While grass-fed beef is an excellent choice, bison‘s profile has been rising in recent years, and for a good reason: It has half the fat of and fewer calories than red meat. 

According to the USDA, while a 90%-lean hamburger may average 10 grams of fat, a comparatively sized buffalo burger rings in at 2 grams of fat with 24 grams of protein, making it one of the leanest meats around. 

But wait, taking a chance on this unexpected meat will earn you two healthy bonuses: In just one serving, you’ll get a full day’s allowance of vitamin B-12, which has been shown to boost energy and help shut down the genes responsible for insulin resistance and the formation of fat cells. 

Additionally, since bison are naturally grass-fed, you can confidently down your burger knowing it’s free of the hormones and pollutants that can manifest themselves in your belly fat.

23. Oysters

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Speaking of weight loss, oysters have also been shown to contribute to help you shed pounds thanks to their unique zinc content. 

One study found that obese people who consumed 30 milligrams of zinc per day—the equivalent of just six raw oysters—had lower BMIs, weighed less, and showed improvements in blood cholesterol levels. 

What’s more? That same six-oyster helping will give you 28 g of protein and 2,064 mg of omega-3s.

24. Turkey

Lean and protein-rich, turkey is no longer an automatic substitute for red meat–this bird deserves props on its own. A quarter-pound turkey burger patty contains 140 calories, 16 grams of protein and eight grams of fat. 

Additionally, turkey is rich in DHA omega-3 acids—18 mg per serving, the highest on this list—which has been shown to boost brain function, improve your mood and turn off fat genes, preventing fat cells from growing in size. Just make sure you buy white meat only; dark contains too much fat. 

And know that you’re doing your health a double solid by grilling at home: Restaurant versions can be packed with fatty add-ins to increase flavour. Not your problem since it’s going straight from the grill to your plate (ideally with the best spices to burn fat and peppers mixed in).

Other superfoods

Superfoods gaining popularity include:

Diet

A person can incorporate these foods into a varied healthy diet when available. However, do not overspend or search too widely trying to find them.

The secret is that any leafy green vegetable or berry in a grocery store will provide many of the same benefits an individual will find in the premium-priced superfoods.

Buy your produce in season and from local sources to ensure the highest nutrient content. Do not discount the humble apple or carrot either — all fruits and vegetables are essentially superfoods.

Replacing as many processed foods as possible with whole foods will drastically improve health.

Quick tips:

These tips can help you get more superfoods into your diet:

  • Look at the colours on your plate. Is all of your food brown or beige? Then it is likely that antioxidant levels are low. Add in foods with rich colours like kale, beets, and berries.
  • Add shredded greens to soups and stir-fries.
  • Try replacing your beef or poultry with salmon or tofu.
  • Add berries to oatmeal, cereal, salads or baked goods.
  • Make sure you have a fruit or a vegetable every time you eat, including meals and snacks.
  • Have a daily green or matcha tea.
  • Make turmeric, cumin, oregano, ginger, clove, and cinnamon your go-to spices to amp up the antioxidant content of your meals.
  • Snack on nuts, seeds (especially Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds) and dried fruit (with no sugar or salt added).

Risks

Taking superfoods in supplement form is not the same as getting the nutrients from real foods.

Many supplements contain ingredients that can cause a strong biological effect on the body. Supplements might also interact with other medications. 

Taking supplements could result in vitamin or mineral toxicity, affect recovery after surgery, and trigger other side effects.

Tips for using supplements

Combining or taking too many supplements can be hazardous. Only use supplements that have been approved.

Tips for safe use include the following:

  • Use non-commercial sites for information.
  • Beware of claims that a product “works better than a prescription drug” or “is totally safe.”
  • Remember that natural does not always mean safe.
  • If using supplements, you should be choosing high-quality products that a third party has tested.
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