“Superfoods” is a buzzword that encompasses nutrient-rich foods deemed excellent for your health. The concept of superfoods, while not based purely on a scientific explanation, is a trend worth noting. In 2004, Dr. Steven Pratt coined the phrase in his book: SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. His studies uncovered foods that could potentially prevent disease, improve longevity and contribute to better health.
What Are Superfoods
Dr. Pratt first identified superfoods as those containing great amounts of polyphenols—or plant compounds rich with phenolic acid, flavonoids, stilbenes and lignans. These foods show antioxidant characteristics including manganese to fight disease. Many fruits and vegetables are included in the superfoods category, particularly blueberries. Other wonderful foods and spices have been added to the list: chocolate, cinnamon, garlic and honey. Today, any number of foods get added to the superfoods list based on opinions, research, and studies.
Popular Superfoods By Today’s Standards
As the superfood list expands according to health enthusiasts, the food industry, and healthy startups, keep in mind a superfood for one person might be a detriment to another. While it would be difficult to dispute known food values in many of these foods, one must always consider their own personal health issues and consult their doctor before expecting favorable health results from superfoods. Some popular (and sometimes controversial) superfoods by today’s standards:
Drinks – coffee, green tea, red wine, tea, and some healthy beverage recipes.
Fats – dark chocolate, coconut oil, fish oil, honey, krill oil, virgin olive oil, and more.
Fruits – acai berries, apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, coconut (also considered a nut and a seed), goji berries, grapes, grapefruits, oranges, peaches, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, and more.
Nuts and Seeds – almonds, chestnuts, flaxseed, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and more.
Spices – basil, cloves, celery seed, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry, ginger, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, and more.
Vegetables and Legumes – artichokes, arugula, asparagus, beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, chickpeas, collard greens, kale, lentils, olives, onions, pepperoncini’s, potatoes, soybeans, peas, romaine, spinach, and many more.
Whole Grains - whole grain brown rice, whole grain wheat, oats, oat flour, rye
The definition of a superfood has gotten quite loose by today’s standards as the list expands. There are many more so-called superfoods than we can list, and you might not think potatoes are a superfood. It’s important to note that most superfoods are called so based on their nutrient content.
Key Benefits in Superfoods
The health benefits of superfoods have been proven in many cases. Those polyphenols, aka antioxidants, are shown to fight cell damage and even impact our genes. Human case studies have found these key benefits in various superfoods:
Lowering Risks – Some superfoods containing flavonoids may lower insulin resistance and help with the risk of type 2 diabetes. Cocoa polyphenols have been shown to help with heart disease, decreasing blood pressure and as well bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.
Inflammation – Polyphenols in drinks such as green tea are shown to lower the chemicals associated with inflammation and muscle damage. Lignans found in flaxseed, virgin olive oil and whole grains also play a key role in helping with inflammation.
Weight Control – A higher flavonoid intake is shown to be associated with lower body mass index (BMI) and helpful for obesity that leads to other chronic diseases.
Brain Health – The properties of superfoods high in omega 3s are known to improve brain health and boost mental cognition. Suggestions for brain-health superfoods include blueberries, broccoli, dark chocolate (yay), walnuts, and wild salmon. The vitamins in blueberries are amazing.
While these superfood benefits are significant, there are also cases in which polyphenols cause an allergic reaction or have adverse effects. Excessive amounts could lead to kidney damage, tumor development, or thyroid hormone issues.
Find the Superfoods You Love
Seek out healthy sites that include the superfoods you love. When you find turmeric, cinnamon, and coconut as main ingredients in your products, you may be in the right place. Look for brown rice nutrition, organic drinks, and chicken essence as a start. Check out HealtheeUSA and get started on a new lifestyle, free from additives and preservatives, and chocked full of superfoods that can help you meet your health goals.