Nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. One cannot hope for optimal health without paying attention to their diet.
However, maintaining a highly nutritious diet is no simple task. Such a diet would have to be based on nutrient-rich foods.
In recent times, foods that fall into this category have come to be known as superfoods.
This article explores what superfoods are, their examples, and their benefits.
Superfoods – meaning
As stated earlier, superfoods refer to foods considered to be nutritiously dense. Superfoods generally include plant-based foods as well as fish. Overall, these foods are thought to be great for one’s health. However, it is important to mention that ‘superfoods’ is not an official term for a food group.
Thus, there are no standard criteria to strictly determine what food qualifies or does not qualify as superfoods. Many believe the label is simply a marketing term for foods that have health benefits. Based on this interpretation, one can loosely determine the foods that can be considered superfoods. This would include foods that contain a high volume of nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Conversely, junk and processed food with lots of calories will generally not be considered superfoods.
Thanks to the nutritional composition of these foods, they tend to have health benefits like reducing the risk of certain diseases. For instance, studies have shown that foods high in flavonoids and antioxidants could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve immunity.
Examples of superfoods
Berries are popularly considered superfoods, and for a good reason too. Berries are generally high in flavonoids, which have been demonstrated to help reduce the risk of heart attack. Different kinds of berries are considered to be superfoods, including blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, and goji berries.
Blueberries, in particular, are rich in nutrients like manganese, vitamin K, and fiber. Similarly, cranberries are believed to help prevent urinary tract infections. Acai berries are native to South America and are known to be high in antioxidants and contain 19 amino acids.
For a long time, dieticians have considered plant-based foods such as leafy greens as being very nutritional. Leafy green vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet since they are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins while low in calories.
Examples of healthy leafy greens include kale, collard greens, spinach as well as Swiss chard. Kale, specifically, is considered a superfood by many as it is rich in vitamin K. To illustrate, one cup of raw kale provides 550 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K, which amounts to about 680% of what a person requires daily. The vegetable is also rich in antioxidants like lutein and beta-carotene.
Similarly, collard greens, which have a similar texture to kale, are known to be a good source of vitamins K, A, C, and calcium. Relative to kale, a cup of collard greens provides up to 1,045% of the Vitamin K Daily Value (DV).
Wine and grapes
Other examples of superfoods are wine and grapes. Wine and grapes are rich in resveratrol, a polyphenol that is considered beneficial for heart health.
In addition, some studies demonstrate that resveratrol shows promise in preventing diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. Grapes also contain quercetin, another flavonoid considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory. Quercetin might also help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Also, wine and grapes are rich in antioxidants which have numerous health benefits.
Getting the most out of superfoods
While superfoods might not be a standard term for a food group, the food it describes has several health benefits that could improve the overall quality of one’s life. However, this would only be the case if these foods are properly integrated into one’s diet. So, eating one or two superfoods occasionally while maintaining a largely poor diet may not be very beneficial health-wise.
Essentially, the focus should be on developing a super diet, that is, a holistic and healthy diet based on various nutrient-rich foods, including superfoods.
In addition to this, you can also consider taking supplements for nutrients that might be lacking in your diet. For instance, you can increase your fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids intake through supplements. In this case, it might be helpful to check out BarBend fish oil reviews to select one that suits you.
Whether or not you decide to call them superfoods, there’s no gainsaying that nutrient-rich foods are indispensable in every healthy diet. Ultimately, infusing foods like these into your diet will no doubt be beneficial to you.