Sadly this is more of a marketing buzzword, than hard concrete evidence. What it does indicate though, is these foods can be described as having some special high benefit (high in properties) and beneficial to the body. These foods are generally something we ALL consume. Having said that, if we educate ourselves on the ‘good’ foods and to eat healthily, then our bodies will thank us. This could be high energy ‘brain’ food; something that enables the body to detoxify naturally, or improve the ageing process. What you won’t see is some label with the term ‘superfoods.’ Here in the UK, this is prohibited under advertising rules.
The list mainly consists of the following:
- Tea (green or black)
Blueberries: Antioxidant superfood
Packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only may they help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation is a key factor of all chronic diseases, so blueberries have many benefits. When choosing berries, remember that the darker they are, the more antioxidants they have. Frozen fruits are just as good as fresh, experts say, but make sure you include lots of other fruit and vegetables in your diet as well. Blueberries are also considered to rid belly fat, as part of a calorie controlled diet.
Omega-3 rich fish: Superfoods for the heart, joints and memory
Omega-3 you get in fish lowers the risk of heart disease, eases arthritis symptoms and may possibly help with memory loss such as Alzheimer’s. There is some evidence to show that it may help reduce depression as well.
Omega-3 is highest in fatty, cold-water fish. Look for wild caught (not farmed) salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel. Aim for two to three portions a week. Other forms of omega-3 are available in fortified eggs, linseeds and walnuts. These super-foods have the added benefit of being high in monounsaturated fats, which can help clean the blood and rid the body of LDL (bad cholesterol).
Soya: Superfood to lower cholesterol
A diet of soya fibre, protein from oats and barley, almonds and margarine from plant sterols and stanols can help reduce cholesterol levels. Consider tofu, soya milk or (soya beans) – not soya powder. One caveat: if you have a family history of breast cancer it is not recommended that you eat extra soya.
Fibre: Superfood aids weight loss and keeps cholesterol in check
A high fibre diet will help you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. As a bonus, because fibre helps you feel full longer, it’s a great tool in weight management. Whole grains, beans, fruit and vegetables are all good sources. Try tossing some beans in your salad, fresh, frozen or dried are the best. The tinned varieties tend to be higher in salt, so look for beans in plain water.
Tea: Super-food for lowering cholesterol and inhibiting cancer
The overall antioxidant power of black tea is the same as green tea, but green tea does have ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate), a powerful antioxidant found in a number of plant-based foods and beverages. It is not only a powerful weapon against disease, but also a source of energy and a way to stimulate your metabolism. A Japanese study on green tea found that men who drank green tea regularly had lower cholesterol than those who didn’t. Researchers in Spain and the UK have also shown that ECGC can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. For a double health whammy, replace fizzy drinks with tea.
There is more calcium in the body than any other mineral and it has several functions. Calcium is important for strong bones and to help prevent osteoporosis, regulates muscle contractions, including the heart and ensure normal blood clotting. Look for it in dairy products like milk or supplements; leafy green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and okra (not spinach); soya beans and tofu; fish where you eat the bones, like pilchards and sardines. As an added bonus: some studies show that calcium helps with weight loss.
Finally, the yummiest super-food yet: Dark chocolate
Research has shown that dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and may help lower blood pressure. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium of all foods. If you’re buying dark chocolate, look for chocolate with 60% or higher cocoa content; the darker, the better. In addition, the darker it is, the lower the fat and sugar content. Buy cacao rather than cocoa, as cocoa is the heated form of cacao found in cocoa powder and chocolate bars. While still goof for you, it doesn’t have the higher nutritional value of antioxidants that the raw form does.
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