What Are Superfoods?
You've probably seen the word "superfood" often at the grocery store. Whether it's plastered on a bag of acai berries or the headline of a magazine, superfoods are a big marketing tactic. But what are they and is there any truth to these cure-all foods? Unfortunately, the answer isn't as simple as a yes or no. While there is no scientific backing per-se, they are foods that contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats and phytonutrients. Moreover, they are also generally linked to fighting diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Vitamins and minerals
The body requires these crucial micronutrients to metabolize food, generate energy and maintain essential biological systems.
These fight free radicals which lead to disease-causing oxidative stress.
While not necessary for the body, many different plants produce these chemical compounds that can aid against certain diseases.
Superfoods And Their Benefits
Beans -fiber, magnesium, phytonutrients
Berries - antioxidants, vitamins C & K, manganese, phytonutrients, fiber, copper, folate
Dark chocolate - flavonoids
Fermented foods (yogurt/sauerkraut) - calcium, probiotics, vitamin D
Garlic - vitamins C, B6, manganese, antioxidants
Leafy greens - vitamin A, C, K, calcium, phytochemicals, fiber
Lemon - thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper, folate
Lentils - fiber, folate, magnesium
Nuts/seeds - healthy fats
Olive oil - vitamin E, polyphenols, healthy fats
Pumpkin and other squashes - fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin A & C, potassium
Salmon - omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, selenium, antioxidants
Soy - fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, antioxidants, calcium, vitamin D, phytochemicals
Whole grains - fiber, B vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients
To Eat Or Not To Eat
Even if they aren't a miracle food, everyone could benefit from consuming these regularly—in moderation, of course. However, bringing superfoods into an already balanced diet is a great way to load up on disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients while getting the daily recommended vitamins and minerals.