We’ve all heard the word “superfoods” tossed about these days. It seems that everyone knows what they are and why they are so “super?” I know that I was confused what these foods were when I first heard about them. Now, I know a few – strawberries, avocado, spinach – but, of course, there is still the question as to what they do that makes them so super as compared to other foods that we eat on a daily basis. So I decided to do a little digging and here is what I found:
The definition of “superfood” is an unscientific one. According to LiveStrong.com, superfoods are “foods are nutrient dense, which means they offer multiple nutrients while providing minimal calories. Nutrient-dense super foods are the colors of the rainbow. They are red, orange, pink, yellow, purple and green.” As a rule of thumb, when eating, the more colors you incorporate, the more nutrients and antioxidents you get, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. According to WebMD, “A healthy diet incorporating a variety of superfoods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer.”
The following are some superfoods and their benefits:
- Strawberries – According to MSNBC.com, “Anthocyanins are a group of phytochemicals that give many berries their red color. In laboratory studies, anthocyanins inhibit growth of lung, colon and leukemia cancer cells without affecting growth of healthy cells. Decreased cancer development is also seen in animals given anthocyanins.”
- Blueberries – “Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory” (WebMD.com).
- Spinach – Not only low in calories, spinach packs a wallop of nutrients. Full of beta-carotene, B vitamins, Ascorbic Acid, and Vitamin E, this superfood has been shown to decrease the effects of “Cardiovascular disease including stroke and coronary artery disease, Cancer including colon, lung, skin, oral, stomach, ovarian, prostate and breast cancer, and Age related macular degeneration” (SuperFoodRx.com)
- Wild Salmon – A high source of Omega-3, which has been shown, through various studies, to lower the risk for heart disease, help arthritis, memory loss and Alzheimer’s, and reduce depression. Omega-3 is more prevalent in wild salmon as opposed to farmed food, so watch which you are buying. (LiveStrong.com)
- Avocados – Probably my favorite superfood, “avocados boast incredibly high carotenoid levels, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties. They are a great source of heart-healthy fats, and they have a truly unique mixture of fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidant plant pigments, and antioxidants, which have been linked to decreased risk for cancer.” (TodayHealth.MSNBC.com)
- Beans – Any bean from black to kidney, are full of fiber and protein. Not only do they fill you up, they also provide muscle-building materials without the fat that meat can add to your diet, which can be very beneficial for losing weight. (CNN.com)
- Broccoli – With only 30 calories per cup, broccoli is one of nature’s most nutrient-dense foods. According to CNN.com, broccoli has long been praised by John Hopkins University for its cancer-fighting and prevention abilities. It is also full of hunger-curbing fiber and antioxidents that detoxify cell-damaging chemicals in your body.
There are a host of different superfoods, and you’d be surprised to find that you are probably eating a lot of them already. This list will help you get the idea of what to look for if you want to incorporate some into your diet, but don’t be afraid to do a quick search and see some of the other superfoods that are out there. They aren’t strange or weird foods, as I have shown with this list, but they can do some pretty special things when added to your diet. As with all foods, moderation is key and variety is best.
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