Superfoods: What are they and which are the best ones?
A Superfood diet is simply one that consists of foods that are rich in healthy nutrients. From a scientific perspective, the term “superfood” does not exist. But in practical terms, and for the purposes of health and wellness, superfoods consist of a list of foods that are incredibly rich in important nutrients.
What people gain from a superfood diet is a massive boost in important vitamins and minerals that make it possible to pack in a large percentage of a daily requirement. In other words, rather than eating a wide variety of foods, a superfood diet packs all your vitamins and minerals into a few powerful food items.
There are tremendous benefits to a superfood diet. By getting big boosts of nutrients in one simple meal, you can fortify yourself for maximum health from simple meals. Whether you are adding the nutrients to support an exercise program or you are simply working toward maximizing your nutrient levels for overall health, a superfood diet can be the thing you are looking for.
What are superfoods? What are the best superfoods? And what are the benefits of superfoods? We will answer these questions in this guide and give you the information you need to start a superfood diet for maximum health and wellness.
What are Superfoods?
Superfoods are an ever-expanding category of foods that are thought to contain dense concentrations of important nutrients. Superfoods are mostly plant-based, but there are some fish and dairy foods that fall into this category.
Some examples of superfoods include blueberries, kale, and acai, but the list of superfoods is quite large. We describe this category as ever-expanding because nutritionists and researchers are still discovering the power and importance of certain foods that may be considered superfoods.
While superfoods are not considered to be a scientifically designated group of foods, many doctors and nutritionists recommend these foods because of their powerful nutritional benefits. Superfoods contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are beneficial for a wide range of purposes. Everything from digestive health, to heart health, and even fighting cancer can be derived from what we now call superfoods.
Benefits of Consuming Superfoods
Superfoods have an extremely high nutritional density. This means anything that fits into the category of superfoods contains large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while they are also low in calories.
The high vitamin levels in superfoods tend to support the immune system, for example, in extremely effective ways. Combined with the high mineral concentrations and superfoods become powerful immune response support.
Perhaps the most astounding benefits of superfoods come with extremely high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are linked to some of the most debilitating and even fatal chronic illnesses. By significantly increasing your intake of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories with a superfood diet, you can drastically reduce your risk of these chronic illnesses.
The high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants mean they are beneficial for some or all of the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory diseases
- Immune deficiency
- Parkinson’s disease
It is important to remember that superfoods provide these benefits, but they are not actual treatments for any of these conditions. Superfoods are like dietary supplements. Rather than taking vitamin and mineral supplements, you can adjust your daily diet to include superfoods and derive many, if not all, of the same benefits as dietary supplements from the foods you eat every day.
If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions or illnesses, continue to follow your doctor’s instructions and use superfoods as a nutritional supplement.
Type of Superfoods
There are so many foods that fit into the superfoods category in one way or another, it can be difficult to list them all. But there are a few standout examples of superfoods. These are examples of superfoods that are known to contain massive boosts of vitamins and minerals.
10 most popular superfoods
- Avocado: Avocados are extremely nutritious fruits, but they are most often treated as a vegetable in cooking and in cold food preparations. Avocados contain large amounts of nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also high in healthy fats. These types of fats are called monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). The primary MUFA in avocados is oleic acid which is known to reduce inflammation in the body. Avocados are also known to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some types of cancer.
- Olive Oil: This is a natural oil extracted from the fruit of the olive tree. Olive oil has been a culinary staple for centuries and it is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil also contains high levels of MUFAs and polyphenolic compounds which also reduce inflammation and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Olive oil also contains high levels of vitamins E and K which provide further protection against oxidative stress.
- Cruciferous vegetables: The cruciferous vegetables that fit into the superfoods category are specific things like dark leafy greens. Dark leafy greens are loaded with nutrients like folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and fiber. These superfoods are especially beneficial for reducing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Dark leafy greens also contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds which protect against certain types of cancer. Examples of dark leafy greens include kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, turnip greens, and spinach.
- Garlic: Garlic is closely related to onions, leeks, and shallots. It is a great source of manganese, vitamins C and B6, selenium, and fiber. Garlic is extremely popular in cooking and has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. There is research that shows that garlic can reduce cholesterol levels and support the immune system. The high levels of sulfur compounds that occur naturally in garlic can also help prevent some types of cancer.
- Green tea: Green tea is originally from China. It is a lightly caffeinated drink that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. Green tea contains antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds that are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Green tea also contains antioxidants and a compound called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. This compound helps protect against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Green tea also has the added benefit of being helpful for losing weight. Caffeine and EGCG combine to help with weight loss.
- Ginger: Ginger is the root of a flowering plant that is native to China. It too has been a traditional medicinal plant in China for many centuries. One of the key compounds found in ginger is gingerol which is a powerful antioxidant. Ginger can also help manage nausea and reduce pain from acute and chronic conditions. Ginger has also been shown to help fight chronic illnesses including dementia. The powerful antioxidants in ginger help fight cancer.
- Nuts/Seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in fiber and have high levels of antioxidants. Eating nuts and seeds can greatly reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress. There is research that demonstrates that some nuts and seeds can protect against heart disease. Common nuts and seeds that are considered superfoods include almonds, pecan, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts (although peanuts are technically a legume), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds.
- Probiotic-rich foods: Probiotic foods include things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and tempeh. These are generally foods that have been fermented to some degree. Probiotic foods contain protein, calcium, B vitamins, potassium, and probiotics. Probiotic foods are known to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve digestion and provide anti-inflammatory effects.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is closely related to ginger. It is a common spice in India where it originated. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which is known to be a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Studies show that curcumin can be effective in treating or preventing many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Curcumin is also effective for treating wounds and for reducing pain.
- Berries: Berries are loaded with nutrition. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. The powerful antioxidants in berries are linked to reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and a host of inflammatory conditions. Berries may also be effective in treating immune-related disorders. Some of the most common and popular superfood berries include raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries.
Keto-friendly & Paleo-friendly Superfoods
If you are working toward staying on a keto or paleo diet, some of the superfoods listed above may be off-limits. However, you can still include some of the best superfoods in order to boost your immunity and stay healthy while you are on you are cutting carbs for keto or paleo. Some of the keto-friendly and paleo-friendly superfoods include avocados, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, olive oil, and berries.
Cauliflower, for example, is a great superfood that can be used as a substitute for other starchy vegetables. Mashed cauliflower and riced cauliflower are delicious and satisfying without all the starchy carbs. What is more, mashed and riced cauliflower has become so popular you can buy it in the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store.
Another great keto and paleo-friendly superfood are dark leafy greens. There provide all of the nutritional and health benefits of a superfood without any of the carbs that negatively impact a keto or paleo diet. Salads made with dark leafy greens are extremely satisfying so that you will not miss the carbs.
Of course, you can always supplement any diet with something like green tea which is an extremely effective superfood. Green tea adds nothing that can compromise a keto or paleo diet, and it offers all the nutrition and health benefits of a superfood.
What are superfoods? Superfoods are an ever-expanding category of foods that are thought to contain dense concentrations of important nutrients. Superfoods are mostly plant-based, but there are some fish and dairy foods that fall into this category.
What are some of the benefits of eating superfoods? Consuming superfoods can help reduce inflammation. Eating superfoods can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic illness associated with chronic inflammation.
What are some superfoods? Examples of superfoods include olive oil, avocado, leafy greens, berries, nuts and seeds, and probiotic foods like yogurt and kefir.
Spartan Detox Plans
The best juice cleanse plan available is the Spartan Detox Plan. Spartan offers several plans designed to meet your specific needs. Whether your goal is to lose weight or to bolster your immune system, Spartan Detox provides plans that include the juices and smoothies that will help you meet your goals.
Spartan Detox Plans are made from natural juices and smoothies are prepared every day using the best quality fruits outdoor offering an exceptional taste and drink experience that will help your body feel energetic.
All of the juices and smoothies available from Spartan Detox Plans are high on fruits and nutrients and many of them fall into the category of superfoods.
Spartan Detox also provides support through your detox programs.
The rise of superfoods as a health trend has been largely due to a popular groundswell in interest in healthy foods. Yet, with the trend of superfood diets, medical science has provided support for the idea of superfoods. It turns out that some foods really are packed with so many nutrients and health benefits that we can talk about a category called superfoods.
Superfoods are foods that contain extremely high levels of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds. Since these foods are so packed with nutrients, they tend to provide tremendous health benefits.
Superfoods can be eaten to help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects of superfoods are well-documented by medical research. What is more, a superfood diet can even help you lose weight.
Part of the benefit of superfoods is that they contain high levels of nutrients and low levels of unhealthy fats and bad cholesterol. You can get the benefits of superfoods without packing on the pounds. Some superfoods are even good for a keto or paleo diet. Perhaps the greatest blessing of superfoods is that they are delicious.