A deeper look into Superfoods and their benefits or shall we just call them ‘Healthy Foods’?
As a Nutritionist, I realise the importance of the correct foods for improved health and stronger immunity.
Why is the term Superfood so overused? Or are we not just talking about a healthy diet?
First of all, what is a Superfood?
The Oxford English Dictionary calls a superfood “A nutrient rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”
The term ‘superfood’ puts these particular foods on a pedestal, makes them stand out more than any other foods so this could be a good selling point! The labels on the packaging can be misleading as no single food – not even a superfood – can offer all the nutrition, health benefits and energy we need to nourish ourselves but combine several ‘superfoods’ or ‘healthy foods’ together and you are on a win!!
Here’s a list of Superfoods or Just Healthy foods I would recommend on a daily basis:
Kale, Broccoli, rocket, watercress, turnips – just to name a few.
They contain a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals, fibre and also an enzyme that helps with the healthy detoxification of oestrogen. Put them in a green smoothy or add to your salad.
They are very well-known to contain a high concentration of a certain anti-oxidant – anthocyanidins. These phyto (plant) chemicals help prevent heart disease by decreasing oxidative stress. The same antioxidants are also found in plums and cherries. Eating a mixture of these fruits will be more beneficial as there will be a higher variety of nutrients on offer.
Nuts and seeds
These contain a high concentration of good fats. All nuts and seeds are full of mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats – and contain proteins, many vitamins and minerals. Brazil nuts are particularly high in selenium which is important for thyroid health. Try eating 3 to 4 Brazil nuts every day, not more.
This Mediterranean oil must be the most researched one. It has a good source of mono-unsaturated fats, vitamin E and helps reducing the risk of heart disease.
Fatty Fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines
They provide us with Healthy Omega 3’s fats which are anti-inflammatory, cholesterol reducing and good for joints and brain health.
Whole grains and oats
A good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. They help lowering cholesterol and contain B vitamins. Soluble fibre are a good source of probiotics. Insoluble fibre is important for the peristaltic action of the colon.
Beans and Legumes
They are a good source of Protein, fibre, vitamins like folic acid and minerals. These foods have to be part of a vegetarian of vegan diet as they provide several essential amino acids.
There are several fruits like pomegranate, turmeric, avocado, beetroot, fermented vegetables, etc that are on the superfood list. Yes, they are very good for us as they contain either important anti-oxidants or good fats or other components that can benefit our health BUT they are also on the normal Healthy food list and it is all these foods combined that will nourish us properly.
If you ask me, the word Superfoods is a commercial marketing tool. The Mediterranean diet (of which I am a big fan) recommends exactly all these Superfoods mentioned above, together with good hydration, a daily dose of sunshine, exercise and sleep! Follow thesis basic guidelines and you’ll feel better within a few weeks if not days…