Superfoods – What exactly are they?
Today, I thought it would be great to start a huge topic – Superfoods. In this first article with respect to power foods, I want to introduce you to the basics regarding these power foods. Are superfoods and super health really related?
Please, enjoy your discovery to what are superfoods and what they can do for your well-being. Are you ready? Okay, then let’s dive in.
Chia Seeds, Moringa Powder, and Goji Berries; many people associate wholesome nutrition and health with these superfoods. Only a few are aware that the word is actually a marketing term created to boost the sale of the corresponding foods.
Although the word “superfood” has been around for more than a century, it has only been known to many people for a few years. Above all, food from far and exotic countries are considered true nutrient bombs within Western society. Most people, however, only realized that homegrown foods can also be superfoods during the kale hype.
Superfoods for health and fitness
Superfoods are distinguished from other foods by their extremely high nutritional content and health benefits. They are designed to increase well-being and prevent individual diseases. Some should even help to get slim and fit.
Their effect is partly scientifically proven, however, laboratory tests are difficult to compare with an everyday diet.
Although the superfood boom began in the USA, they’re nowadays available in almost every supermarket in Europe, as well. In addition to special fruits and vegetables, some seeds and kernels are among the superfoods.
The raw plant is often dried or made into powders, which can be mixed into smoothies or yogurts. Many superfoods are, therefore, also referred to as dietary supplements.
The discovery of these health beneficial foods is, first of all, an advertising strategy. This can be particularly well illustrated by the example of the avocado. The avocado was not discovered only a few decades ago but skillfully staged with advertising strategies.
In addition, in 1981 some avocado farmers joined together, who wanted to market the avocado more positive. As a result, they hoped for higher sales. Until then, the avocado was, due to their high-fat content, frowned upon and considered as fattening.
Their strategy was successful. Only two decades later, the avocado was positively connoted and for many people already part of their daily diet.
This can also be seen in the import figures in the USA. From 2017 to 2018, the import volume of avocado has increased another 15 percent.; that just in one year! Great marketing, right?
Superfoods: These are the Benefits and Advantages
Although superfoods often come from advertising strategies, they do have some positive effects on human health. They are not without reason popular, because a healthy diet is playing an increasingly important role today.
I would like to add one item to the superfood category here: wheatgrass! It’s health benefits and weight loss promoting advantages are immense. Continue reading here if you would like to learn more about wheatgrass and its high potentials:
High Concentration of Phytochemicals
Superfoods have an exceptionally high concentration of phytochemicals. These are essential for a healthy diet and are associated with a variety of health benefits. More and more studies that try to explore the potential effects of phytochemicals are being published. Some plant substances were associated with a lower risk of certain cancers. Essential phytochemicals include:
This plant substance is a dye that colors the plant red, light yellow, blue or purple. It is included, for example, in apples, kale and various types of berries. It may have antioxidant, antihypertensive and antibiotic reactions in humans. In addition, some studies have found a positive effect on cardiovascular disease.
This plant substance colors the plant yellow, orange or red. In humans, it may have antioxidant, immunosuppressive (antiviral) and anti-inflammatory effects.
It is sometimes associated with a reduced risk of age-related eye disease and cardiovascular disease.
It is mainly found in carrots, tomatoes, peppers and green vegetables.
This plant compound is a plant hormone that may have antioxidant and immune modulating effects on humans. It shows beneficial reactions on blood vessel function, blood pressure and occurs in cereals, legumes, and flaxseed.
More Choices Thanks to Superfood
In addition to the health benefits of superfoods, they can also bring more variety in your diet. Those who have more choices, lose their appetite for a healthy and conscious diet less quickly. Instead of eating daily rice with chicken and broccoli, you can vary your meals.
You can replace the rice with quinoa and instead of broccoli, you can eat vegetables such as kale. The trend towards superfoods helps to bring other foods and diversities into the consciousness of the people.
Also, in terms of fruit, there is a large selection of superfoods. Fruits such as avocado, pomegranate and goji berries not only taste good but can also provide multifariousness within your diet.
It does not always have to be exotic produce, however, when it comes to superfoods. Not only edibles from far away countries can be superfoods, but also local and domestic fruits and vegetables have many health benefits for humans. For example, the concentration of phytochemicals is crucial. These are highly concentrated in local foods, as well.
Top 10 of Domestic Superfoods
Kale has mutated into a true superfood in recent years. Until a few years ago, most people barely ever have tried the cabbage.
Nowadays, there are numerous recipes for smoothies, salads and vegetable dishes, in which kale plays the main role. Kale is not only low in calories, but it also provides high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
The blueberry is full of antioxidants, phytochemicals and vitamins. The dried berry is even considered a herbal remedy. Its effect is in no way inferior to the imported Aronia berries (aka. chokeberry with origins in eastern North America).
The black currant is said to have many health-promoting properties. Like the blueberry, it is full of antioxidants and helps the body to protect itself from free radicals. It has a fast anti-inflammatory effect and is also called “phytosanitary cortisone.”
With its vitamin C content, it can beat the goji berry by far; black currant berries have 181 mg vitamin C per 100 grams, and goji berries “only” up to a maximum of 148 mg vitamin C per 100g.
Beetroot is considered the optimal superfood for athletes. Especially in endurance sports beetroot is recommended because it has been proven that beetroot juice can improve the performance of athletes. In addition, it is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and iron.
Broccoli also has beneficial effects on human health. Studies have shown that broccoli may have a preventive effect on some cancers. These include, in particular, cervical cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. The vegetables are low in calories and rich in calcium, carotene and magnesium.
The almond is full of unsaturated fatty acids, fiber and nutrients. Even 50 to 60 grams a day can have a positive effect on your health. They can help the intestinal flora and lower the cholesterol level.
Sauerkraut also has a positive reaction within the human body. It exhibits a lot of health-promoting properties, especially when eaten raw.
In addition to an anti-inflammatory effect, it is also full of probiotics, which have are beneficial for the stomach and intestines. Sauerkraut can also boost the immune system.
Flaxseed is the domestic alternative to imported Chia seeds. Both contain fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. The Acai berry can also replace flaxseed. They can positively influence the digestion and satiate you for a long time.
Red cabbage is a real superfood, especially in winter, when only a few fruits and vegetables are in season. Although red cabbage has low calories, it is full of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and antioxidants.
It’s hard to believe, but the onion can also be a superfood. Quercetin, a substance occurring within the onion, has anti-inflammatory, hypotensive and analgesic properties. In addition, it can help lower cholesterol levels.
The substance allicin, which results from a reaction after cutting the onion, can act against tumor cells and prevent vascular diseases. Allicin is also available in garlic. It’s used as a natural pain killer and as a substitute for penicillin within the holistic healing practice.
Conscious Diet Through Superfoods
If you want to be hip these days, you should also be able to have a say in Superfoods. This inspires different people to deal with healthy eating. Social media supports this phenomenon by providing a platform for various fitness and food bloggers.
Who deals with superfoods, tends to a healthy and conscious lifestyle. The trend towards these power foods is, therefore, an incentive for people who otherwise have little to do with healthy nutrition to adopt a healthy lifestyle. That can be positive.
Superfoods alone, however, are not enough to live a healthy life. In addition to a conscious diet, this includes sufficient physical activity and care for your mental health.
The connection and the perfect balance between your physical body and your spiritual being is of the greatest essence if you want to be healthy, happy and live a fulfilled life.
Risks of Superfoods
Although they do have a positive effect on human health, imported superfoods from exotic countries are to be treated with caution and involve a number of risks. I did my research well and will tell you what to keep in mind when consuming them.
Pollutants Instead of Nutrients
Many superfoods come from exotic and most distant countries. Although the fruits and seeds are initially full of nutrients and vitamins, they often get lost due to the long transport route.
Many products are harvested too early, so they do not begin to rot on the journey. They can be, furthermore, heavily processed so that they survive the transportation at all.
Many essential ingredients are lost in the process. Instead, pollutants are repeatedly discovered in superfoods. According to the Consumer Center, many superfoods are burdened with pesticides, mineral oils and heavy metals. Especially Goji berries and Moringa leaf powder are contaminated with pesticides or even salmonella.
No Scientific Evidence of Health Benefits, Yet
The advertised health benefits of superfoods can often not yet be scientifically proven. Scientific studies, for example, based on animal experiments, often cannot be applied to humans and their diet. Many positive effects are based on reviews or marketing strategies.
Avoid Superfoods When on Medication
Although superfoods are mainly positively connoted, they can sometimes become problematic for your health. In some cases, they can trigger allergic reactions or even act upon certain drugs.
Thus, you should leave a time interval between the consumption of superfood and taking medication. Also, be careful when eating goji berries, pomegranate and grapefruit. Please, take care of yourself. When in doubt, always ask your physician. Remember: Be mindful!
Beware of Dietary Supplements
One should pay particular attention to the composition of the remedy during the conversion process of superfood to nutritional supplement. Some substances are safe in normal doses, but they may be irritating and even toxic in concentrated form.
On the other hand, in such products, the occurrence of superfoods is rather small. Watch out, because many supplementary superfoods contain sugars or flavorings to enhance the taste. In this way, superfoods can even be unhealthy. It is, therefore, vital to read the entire table before you make a purchase. Here’s an article that I wrote to help you from erroneously purchasing something bad for your health:
Personal note for my co-creators
Now that we’ve covered the basics of superfoods together, I hope that this article was informative and helpful for you. As always, please, leave a comment below with your own experiences, questions or suggestions. If you’d like to read more about a specific topic, please, let me know, too.
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Meanwhile, I’m sending you lots of love, happiness, and harmony. Always keep in mind: You are beautiful, precious and unique regardless of what others might say. Thus, do me the favor and keep on shining.