Superfoods, in simple words, mean those food items that are better than the best. They are foods with a high phytonutrient content which is beneficial to health. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and have powerful antioxidants, and are not really hard to find. A healthy diet comprising of these superfoods will help you ward off many diseases, maintain weight, and live longer. They are food in the purest form and any sort of processed ingredients are omitted.
Although there are a lot of food items that fall under the category of superfoods, the following are ten items are the most beneficial. Read on to learn how each one of them works towards the betterment of the human body.
All kinds of berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants and goji berries fall under the category of superfoods. These berries are not only good antioxidants but are also high in vitamin C. This helps to give us power to fight a lot of diseases. Consuming them regularly can improve memory, reduce the risk of heart diseases, and they even have anti- aging properties. Wash them properly, sprinkle some on yogurt, fruit salads or eat them raw and you have your daily dose of superfood intake.
2. Nuts and seeds
The next time you have hunger pangs, instead of reaching for that creamy pastry, enjoy a handful of raw and unsalted nuts and it would do good to you. Nuts and seeds such as brazil nuts, walnuts, flax seeds, almonds, linseeds and sesame seeds are known to be a rich source of minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 and essential fatty acids. They also dramatically decrease your risk of cancer and heart diseases and control diabetes. What’s even better, they reduce the visible signs of aging like sagging skin and wrinkles too. Add some of these nuts to your regular meals and even grind them and use in cakes, sandwiches, etc. Used in moderation, these nuts can prove absolutely useful for you.
3. Whole grains
Whole grains refer to foods such as oats, rye, brown rice, buckwheat and so on. They are eaten whole which means the nutrient-rich germ, the fiber rich bran layers and the energy providing endosperm are all consumed. By opting for whole grains rather than the processed foods, you get all the benefits like fiber, vitamins, phytochemiclas, antioxidants and complex carbs. Research shows that whole grains can keep the heart healthy and also helps maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, making it a much sought after superfood.
The most humble and versatile among the list are the alliums like garlic, onions, chives and leeks which are packed with so much goodness that most people don’t realize. They are packed with flavanoids which stimulate the production of glutathione, which is the liver’s most potent antioxidant, and this helps in eliminating toxins and carcinogens from the body. In addition they are the top foods that help prevent cancer as well.
5. Oily fish
Other than the fact that oily fish like sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel and trout contain protein, vitamins A and D, zinc and vitamin B, it is their omega-3 fatty acids that put them under the category of superfoods. Research proves that the omega 3s can help improve the chances of survival after a heart attack and also prevents blood clots from forming. Other than that, they are a good source of protein, improves brain power and reduce depression as well.
Lentils and beans form part of the superfoods because of their multifaceted nutritional values. Most beans are low in fat, calories and sodium but high in dietary fiber and carbohydrates and they offer required amounts of fatty acids as well. They are a good source of protein especially for vegetarians who do not have other sources for their meals. Their powerful anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties and low glycemic index makes them a popular food item.
Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower etc form part of the Braccicas family. As you might have already guessed, these food items are packed with vitamins and minerals and a whole lot of detoxifying elements which can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, especially cancer.
Tomatoes, peppers, and chillies are a great source of Vitamin C, low in fat and high in fiber. But the most important nutritional benefit is that they contain lycopene, an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in lowering the risk of cancer, especially of the prostrate, breasts, skin and lungs. All peppers contain capsaicinoids which has extraordinary analgesic and anti inflammatory properties. If that’s not enough, they also contain twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits.
All kinds of oils like rapeseed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, flax oil, sesame oil and hemp oil are rich in omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which are necessary for those bodily functions. They fight cholesterol and helps maintain a healthy heart as well.
10. Soy products
Vegetarians and vegans have popularized the use of soy products as they are a good substitute for meat. Soy beans, soy milk and tofu are all high in protein and low in fat and filled with cholesterol reducing and antioxidant properties necessary for human beings. Soya is probably the only plant food that contains all the required amino acids, placing it in the same level as meat, eggs and fish and under the category of superfoods.