Every now and then we hear the term ‘Superfood’ used to describe the latest health-promoting food. For example, the Goji berry — which has been popping up everywhere lately -seems to be the ultimate superfood of the season. Get it in your smoothie, your cereal, your salad…
But what is a ‘Superfood’ and how beneficial are they really? ‘Superfood’ is a term used to describe food with very high nutritional content and potential health-promoting properties, however, some of these ‘super’ claims remain disputed as health benefits cannot be proven.
All fruit and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals that are good for health. But generally, fruits and vegetables that are given a ‘Superfood’ tag are high in antioxidants, Vitamin C, as well as other healthy nutrients, and so are considered especially beneficial.
Just eating a handful of berries isn’t going to make you super healthy or give you a gummy-berry-juice kick-start. You should incorporate a range of fruit and vegetables into your diet, but of course some foods are more beneficial than others.
Here is a list of a tasty top 10 Superfoods to add to your diet!
Blueberries are often considered a superfood because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre.
Health benefits include:
- Improves eyesight
- Allows for stronger blood vessels
- Is an immune booster
- Helps with memory performance
- Reduces the risk of urinary tract infections
- Helps prevent cancer
- Has anti-aging properties
Blackcurrants are extraordinarily high in Vitamin C, and contain more potassium than bananas! Blackcurrant seed oil is also rich in many nutrients, especially gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid.
- Possesses the potential to inhibit inflammation mechanisms, which may lower the risk of developing various types of degenerative diseases (heart disease, cancer).
- Protects against degrading neurological functions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
These little trees are high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. This low-fat and low-cholesterol superfood is also a great source of protein and dietary fibre as well.
- Contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties.
- A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
- Broccoli leaf is also edible and contains loads of betacarotene, good for the eyes.
Soy is a vitamin and nutrient rich superfood which hosts many disease-fighting nutrients. Soy beans contain high amounts of protein, including all essential amino acids (the only such vegetable source). Soy beans are also a rich source of calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, B-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and fibre.
- Soy may also reduce the risk of many ailments found later in a female’s life such as osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms.
- Promotes heart health
- Promotes healthy bones
- Prevents cancer
- May reduce your risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E.
Substituting olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, for saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats can:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Inhibit the growth of some cancers
- Benefit people at risk for or with diabetes
- Lessen the severity of asthma and arthritis
- Actually help your body maintain a lower weight
Spinach, is low in calories, but high in many vitamins and minerals. Spinach is packed with heart healthy minerals such as folate, potassium, and co-enzyme Q10 which is essential in cardiovascular health.
- Benefits vision and eye health
- Has anti-cancer and anti-aging properties
- The calcium content in spinach strengthens bones
- Prohibits age-related memory loss
This superfood is known for it high-fibre content. Oatmeal, oat bran and whole oat products are some of the best sources of soluble fibre, which help reduce total cholesterol.
- Lowers cholesterol
- Levels blood sugar
- Prevents cancer
- Whole oats can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.
- Keeps bowel movements regular
- Helps with athletic performance
A serving size of a half cup of beans contain large amounts of iron, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, zinc and fibre.
- Reduces the risk of colon cancer
- Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
- reduces cholesterol
Not only is barley a low-glycemic grain, it is high in both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps the body metabolise fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre— commonly called “roughage” —promotes a healthy digestive tract and reduces the risk of cancers affecting it.
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Protects against cancer
- A good source of niacin, the B vitamin that is cardio-protective
- Slows starch digestion, which may help keep blood sugar levels stable
Yoghurt contains probiotics which are said to promote optimal health.
- Helps with vaginal (bacterial and yeast), urinary tract and bladder infections
- Helps with inflammatory intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease
- Helps alleviate allergic conditions like asthma and eczema
- Reduces several risk factors for cardiovascular disease
- Reduces several risk factors for intestinal cancers
- Reduces the rate of childhood respiratory infections
- Helps prevent tooth decay
So which if these Ten top Superfoods will you be trying?
For more healthy tips read on here