Introduction to Superfoods

The word Superfood has been coined in the 1990’s and has taken a whole new look since then. It became a haven of true health benefits while becoming an escape of commercialized products to sell, creating unfounded fad and craze. So, what is it, really?

Superfoods have been coined to categorize certain foods in the health food industry. The categorization involves foods that aside from their healthy benefits for the body also have the capacity to aid and fight certain diseases. This aid stems from the superfoods unique components that can be enzymes, antioxidants, compounds or helpful oils.

Superfood as a label though has been put into scrutiny after just every food manufacturers has claimed their products to be one. For this, several food and drug bureaus as well as organizations put up regulations as well as standards to be met.

Countries that have the regulatory rules has indicated that a back up study needs to accompany a product before it can be labeled as such and be marketed to the public.

What is Superfood?

Superfoods have been a popular term. But one can distinguish these foods right away from ordinary food in the grocery stores. These foods mostly have low calories and are high in nutrients. Most superfoods are rich in anti-oxidants, differently categorized (depending on the type of the food).

IN recent standards, for a Superfood to be a Superfood, then it may need to be reaching some specifications. It should be nutrient densed; it should have a high ORAC than ordinary food produce and it should have a low calorie ration compared to its nutrients.

Types

Superfoods have different types. They can be categorized differently depending on its source or its classification in the food world. The list can be read below.

Green Superfoods

The green superfoods may include all green leafy vegetables. These veggies may come in hated by many but these foods have a high concentration of digestible nutrients. They also pack a heap of fat burning compounds while giving the body vitamins and minerals while protecting the body and healing it. Most of green superfoods have proteins, photo-chemicals, digestion friendly compounds and muscle building components. Kale, broccoli, spinach, are among the examples of green superfoods.

Marine Sourced Superfoods

Sea foods surely tease the tongue and for some it can be a rare treat. For the record though, seafood shouldn’t just become a treat, it should become a regular meal included menu due to its superpowers to fight certain diseases. Selected marine produce includes oily fish such mackerel, wild salmon, tuna and halibut and other source such as krill and calamari contains one super beneficial oil, the omega-3.

Omega-3 among its all other benefits, can help suppress impending heart diseases while helping in diabetes. It can also help fight cancer while quelling some disease’s inflammatory tendencies. Today, omega-3 has been a well studied and a phenomenal fatty component and the most consumed supplement in the US.

Fruit Superfoods

You can never go wrong with fruits. Fruit superfoods are high in anti-oxidants which help fight free radicals and prevent cellular damage in the body. Free radicals occur through our own doing though through pollution, smoking, burnt foods, deep frying foods, and radiation.

Fruits notably blueberries, lemons, grapes, kiwi, acai berry, dragon fruit, pomegranate, grapefruits, among others, are known as superfoods.

Nuts and Seeds Superfoods

Nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, almonds are known superfoods. They contain friendly fats and are good for the brain. Seeds on the other hand contain better benefit. Such is positive from the likes of Chia and flaxseed. Both contains the well revered omega-3 fatty acid and is known to be very helpful or the body.

Chia today has been taking the world by storm and has slowly been gaining some following as health boost included in meals and food menu.

Seaweed Superfoods

Seaweeds are known to be the nutritionally dense plants in the planets. This can be due to the fact that they get access from the world’s nutritionally dense ocean foods. They contain more calcium than milk and then beef. They can purify the blood system of the body since their chemical composition is close to those of human blood plasma.

Alga may be classified in this category.

Preparation

Superfoods when acquired naturally (not processed as product sold by manufacturers) may need to be prepared. Fruits though may not need preparation; they can be eaten as it is. Vegetables may be turned into salad or be included in Superfood menus you can choose from. Superfood that is often prepared though may include those of the fish or the marine sourced produce. In preparing ad cooking these, other Superfood veggies may be included.

Most Superfood fan though has the easy and the refreshing way to include Superfood into their meals, through juicing and smoothies. Just every fruit and every veggies out there can be tuned into that. Some veggies though may not palatable due to its bitter taste when eaten raw or mad into smoothie, honey can be your secret weapon in here.

You may see some recipes in this Superfood recipes link.

What not to do With Superfoods

Although superfoods are very beneficial at its best, some people have lost these benefits once preparations for these foods are altered. How? What are these sins you may commit against superfoods? Here are some.

  •    Frying superfoods
  •  Covering Superfood with flavoring (sugar, colored coatings)
  •  Smothering your food with sauces
  • Believing that the muffins you are eating really contains those berries so you buy it instead of doing it yourself.
  • Putting butter in your superfoods
  • Artificially flavoring your superfoods
  •  Over seasoning your Superfood meals or products

Benefits

Here are the main benefits of the superfoods to the health.

    1.  Regulates the metabolism
    2.  Burns body fat (paired with exercise and other healthy lifestyle)
    3. Lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing the HDL (good cholesterol)
    4. Reduces or prevents inflammation
    5.  Prevents heart disease
    6.  Lowers risk o cancer
    7. Promotes digestive health
    8.  Protects and detoxify organs from toxins

Warning and Safety

It is impossible to be able to just consume superfoods and avoid all other foods. They key is to consume as much superfoods as possible and portion what you eat of the remaining foods.

As the popularity of the superfoods has become a craze and has increase, variety of products and from the natural superfoods has been introduce e in the market. Other things such as supplement that can mimic the Superfood effects has also been manufactured and sold. These products may be unregulated and may need further evaluation before being taken in. Some of these products may be unhealthy, thus may warrant recall from certain food and drug bureaus.

For safety, cook or prepare your own food. Or if buying packed Superfood products, refer it and have it approved by a health care provider first.

Image Credit: mcrosacci via Flickr

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