The term ‘superfoods’ is a relatively new term. It was created for marketing purposes to describe foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for a small number of calories. To fall into the superfoods catagory, a food item generally contains a high volume of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. We have put together a list of the top 10 to make sure you are getting them in your diet.
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Leafy greens such as kale and spinach are classed as superfoods. This is because they are full of vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as B vitamins. In addition to the vitamins, they also provide the body with carotenoids, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium
Carotenoids are antioxidants that can help lower the risk of cancer, specifically skin and lung cancer. Making sure you have magnesium in your diet can help fight depression, lower blood pressure and can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The biggest benefit of eating fish, and the reason it counts as a superfood, is because it provides the body with Omega-3 fatty acids. Having the right amount of Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of developing an abnormal heartbeat and decrease clogged arteries.
All of this helps prevent the chance of having a heart attack or stroke as it keeps the heart, and the arteries that lead to the heart, healthy.
Another area of the body to keep healthy is the brain, and you can do this by eating berries. Berries like cranberries, strawberries and raspberries might have different nutritional values, but they all share some features. They are low in calories, high in fibre and contain those important antioxidants we talked about earlier. This means that they can help prevent cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
There has also been some evidence to show that eating berries can help prevent developing Alzheimer’s later in life. There’s no harm in eating them, and they will help keep the brain healthy and functioning now, allowing it a higher chance of staying that way as you get older.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are on most lists when it comes to healthy foods and snacks, but they are also part of the superfoods group. They are one of the most popular options because they are very low in calories but make you feel fuller for longer making them great for anyone trying to lose weight. Alongside this, nuts and seeds are rich in fibre, vegetarian proteins and healthy fats that are good for the heart.
As they are a plant food, they come packed full of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help with oxidative stress.
We all know yoghurt has several benefits to our diets and bodies, but it also falls under the category of superfoods. Yoghurt is a probiotic (healthy bacteria) with lots of detoxifying properties, making it a great thing to eat if you are trying to lose weight. The good bacteria helps with digestion and can even protect the body from developing cancer and tumours. It’s also good for your skin.
Olive Oil is the next superfood. It may seem less of a food and more something to add to a meal or cook with, but it actually has lots of benefits. That is because it provides the body with monounsaturated fatty acids. These can encourage good cholesterol levels and keep you functioning properly.
Like many of the other superfoods, olive oil can reduce inflammation along with lowering your chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Tea, mostly Green Tea, is also a superfood and widely known for its medicinal benefits. Again, it is rich in antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
In terms of medicinal benefits, green tea has been proven to protect the body against chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The blend of caffeine and antioxidants also makes it perfect for weight loss.
Know we know what you’re thinking, chocolate can’t be good for you, right? Unlike milk and white chocolate, dark chocolate actually has a lot of benefits. Dark chocolate is made from cacao which is packed full of antioxidants like many of the other superfoods.
However, dark chocolate is also known to help with brain function, such as preventing memory loss and boosting mood. That doesn’t mean to eat loads as it still contains sugar, but 1-2 ounces a day can be really beneficial.
Depending on the type of mushroom depends on what they provide the body, but mushrooms definitely count as a superfood. Most mushrooms contain vitamin A, potassium and fibre, as well as many antioxidants that can’t be found in most other foods. Like most other superfoods, the things mushrooms provide help with reducing inflammation and preventing cancers.
However, mushrooms are also used regularly in traditional Chinese medicine. They are used to cleanse the body and prolong life, and some evidence has shown that they may even be able to help and treat breast cancer.
Finally, we have legumes. These are classed as a superfood as they provide B vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre. They are proven to help manage type 2 diabetes as well as reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
Like nuts and seeds, legumes are plant-based, meaning they are a great way for vegans and vegetarians to get the vitamins and minerals they need. They also contain plant-based proteins making them low in saturated fats, which can help with heart disease. Adding them to your diet can help with weight loss and weight management as they provide a feeling of fullness which can help with snacking.
Adding regular superfoods to your diet really can help our bodies stay healthy and avoid illnesses during out lives. By adding a few to your meals or snacking on them during the day will make a massive difference, so why not give it a try.
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