What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are foods — mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy — thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one's health. Blueberries, salmon, kale and acai are just a few examples of foods that have garnered the "superfood" label.
However, there are no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood, according to the American Heart Association.
'Superfood' is more of a marketing term for foods that have health benefits.
The superfood trend exploits the fact that healthy lifestyle choices, including diet, can reduce our risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic disease, and prolong life, and people who eat more of them are healthier and thinner than those who don't.
Perhaps the best definition we can use to describe a superfood is a nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich, natural food product that is minimally processed and bioavailable in numerous, potent nutritive constituents. In other words, superfoods are natural foods that contain a hefty amount of raw nutrition and are highly active in various phytochemical and flavonoid compounds (antioxidants).
Blueberries, for example, are often referred to as a superfood because of its low caloric content and high antioxidant activity.
Superfoods have gained momentum in the field of nutrition research these last few years. An increasing number of herbs, plants, seeds, and other unprocessed foods are beginning to show promise for alleviating a variety of health issues. Since superfoods are usually loaded with antioxidants, they may be helpful for fighting disease, delaying the aging process, and keeping systemic redness at bay.
Some superfoods, because of their nutrient content, may also be helpful for promoting cardiovascular health and normal blood sugar. Disbarring food sensitivities, superfoods contain a vast array of benefits with little to no side effects following their consumption.
One Final Thought
Superfoods should be minimally processed and resemble their natural state as much as possible. By keeping this rule of thumb in mind, you can be sure you are consuming a quality product high in valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The term superfood has probably been overused as a marketing tool. As with anything, a little common sense goes a long way. Incorporating superfoods into your diet can’t hurt, and it might help—but it’s no substitute for making overall healthy lifestyle choices. In other words, superfoods can’t repair the effects of other damaging habits such as smoking—they are just one piece of the overall health puzzle. It’s more important to make consistently healthy choices, such as exercising, getting proper rest, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a healthy diet overall.
Superfoods aren’t magic—they’re super because they’re loaded with nutrients that play a role in promoting health and preventing disease.
To your good health!
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