There has been a lot said about “superfoods” and which foods are in this category. Although the term has now been banned from food packaging in the EU, it does not take away the nutritional value of these kind of foods and what they offer for a healthy diet.
The main benefit of superfoods is that they contribute significantly to your health and eating them regularly and ensuring they are included in your diet can help improve your well-being in many ways.
Superfoods are especially good for your heart and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer. They can help you lead a healthy lifestyle but they do not compensate for an overall unhealthy diet. Alison Honby a dietitian from the British Dietetic Association (BDA) says: “No food, including those labelled “superfoods”, can compensate for unhealthy eating.”
So, it is important to note that these superfoods will not cure a bad diet. They key difference is to include the super foods as much as possible in a healthy diet.
DESIblitz looks at five superfoods that you should be eating and which are known most for their goodness and nutritional value.
The dark purple berries are ranked at the top of the “superfoods” trend. Originating from North America they contain high levels of antioxidants. They contain phenolic compounds with an antioxidant capacity significantly higher than vitamins C or E.
Researchers from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council believe that the antioxidants in blueberries work against the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the heart”s artery walls which causes cardiovascular disease and stroke. The USDA Human Nutrition Centre ranks blueberries at the top for antioxidant activity when compared with 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables.
You should include blueberries as one of your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Being low in calories and high in nutrients they are a great addition to cereal like porridge, eaten raw as a snack, added to a smoothie or mixed with low-fat yoghurt.
Garlic has been known for its nutritional properties for centuries. A key ingredient in South Asian cooking, it is used in most everyday dishes cooked at home and in restaurants.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition which analysed seven population studies, reveals that the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer is significantly reduced based on higher consumption of raw and cooked garlic.
Consultant Dr Graham Jackson from St Thomas Hospital in London, found the sex drive of men experiencing erection issues can be boosted by the allicin in garlic. Emma Vanlint, a nutritional therapist based at the Harley Street clinic says: “Garlic boasts powerful anti-bacteria, anti-yeast and anti-virus properties.”
So, adding garlic to your cooking at least once a day can help towards your health. You can buy it fresh and frozen (no peeling required) from most supermarkets.
The complex molecules active in our bodies, including several bioactive amines, such as serotonin and dopamine, exist in cocoa.
Cocoa also contains polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds that can reduce blood pressure, raise HDL “good” cholesterol, enhance insulin sensitivity and increase antioxidant capacity.
Cocoa is a key ingredient in chocolate. Dark chocolate provides the most health benefits – the higher the cocoa percentage, the better. However, this does not mean consumption of chocolate in large quantities for it to qualify as a superfood in your diet. Eating chocolate as a treat is the best way to consume this superfood.
Author of Eating for Beauty and Naked Chocolate, David Wolfe, even recommends eating raw cacao (cocoa) beans. “They might taste a little bitter at first, but you’ll quickly get addicted,” he says.
Spinach is a popular food within the South Uusi netti kasino EuroSlots tekee nayttavan esiinmarssin Suomen pelimarkkinoille hienolla pelivalikoimalla ja innovatiivisella ohjelmistolla. Asian communities, commonly known as “saag” (usually a combination of spinach and mustard leaves) or “palak.” However, eating it raw was something not common within Asian households compared to today, where it is a great superfood addition to any salad or dish.
Spinach is an excellent good source of polyphenols, coenzyme Q10, chlorophyll, vitamins B, C, E and K, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, betaine and plant derived omega-3 fatty acids. It is high in lutein, which keeps your eyes healthy and sparkling.
Research reveals that spinach consumption can help reduce coronary heart disease, stroke, various forms of cancer including colon, lung, skin, oral, stomach, ovarian, prostate and breast cancer, cataracts, and Age related macular degeneration (AMD).
Very low in calories and loaded with nutrients, spinach should be a regular part of your daily menu. Baby spinach leaves added raw are best for salads whilst normal spinach is great for cooked dishes.
Oily fish is known to be high in omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows strong evidence that it can help lower triglycerides and blood pressure.
For vegans or non-eaters of fish, sources of omega-3 can be found in pumpkin seeds, spinach, mustard greens, wheat germ, walnuts, flaxseed and soybean.
The omega-3 content in oily fish is the highest but not all the same. Some fish contain much more than others. So, choose your fish wisely to get the most benefit.
Top of the list (per 3.5 grams) is Mackerel (2.6 of omega-3), then lake Trout (2.0), Herring (1.7), bluefin Tuna (1.6), Salmon (1.5) and canned Sardines (1.5). Other fish with lower omega-3 content include Pollock, Rainbow Trout, Haddock, Red Snapper and Sole.
Fresh fish is best but frozen, canned or cooked are all good for you. Eating any of these varieties of fish can help combat cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, age-related vision loss and dementia.
This superfood should be included in your diet at least twice a week. It will help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level and improve blood lipids, both of which reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, the biggest killer in the UK.
Eating any of these superfoods will enhance your diet for the better but remember, they will not make a difference if generally your diet is poor is full of fat laden and sugary foods. Swap those fatty foods for any of these superfoods to help improve your lifestyle and give your body foods high in nutritional value which are beneficial to your health.