Superfoods are a topic of major research in recent times. As a society we have all moved towards a healthier living through the proven benefits of practices such as yoga and mindfulness. Veganism and vegetarianism is common in all parts of the world now. I still remember the times when restaurants didn’t have vegetarian or vegan sections. People are now full of motivation to eat and live healthily.
About 90% of Americans consume more sodium than they should. Even though the steps are being taken in the right direction, it’s important to educate the masses on the amazing benefits of superfoods. Also, a new concept is concerning the super diet. But, what are superfoods and super diets, exactly? Well, according to NHS,
“Dietitians avoid the term ‘superfood’ and prefer to talk of ‘super diets’, where the emphasis is on a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods. There is good evidence that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases and increase life expectancy. This diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, olive oil and legumes, and less meat and dairy foods than the typical Western diet.”
That’s one example of a super diet. To create your power diet, yet, you need to know about specific superfoods and each benefit that they bring to the table. Once you know a little more about them, you can then be creative and mix them in dishes that you never thought were possible (Quinoa ice cream? What!?). Okay, so let’s investigate four superfoods and their valuable advantages:
This seed which is native to South America has become one of the most requested items in grocery stores. It’s been used since the times of the Incas, and by far one of the most protein rich foods we can eat. Many vegetarians and vegans eat quinoa as a replacement for the protein they would get from meat.
Quinoa also contains loads of iron, and it is often recommended as a dietary choice for those who suffer from anemia. Our body needs iron in order to have energy and to properly regulate our body temperature.
Most importantly, however, is its richness in vitamin B2. If you’re not aware of the ways B2 (also known as Riboflavin) aids the human body, here are a few:
- Protects vision
- Protects digestive tract
- Increases blood circulation
- Prevents cancer
Those are some of the many advantages of proper B2 levels in the human body. Quinoa as a seed is easy to be mixed with other foods. You can make salads with it, sprinkle it on baked fish, and add it to soups.
Algae, being one of the oldest life forms on earth, are very rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. There are several categories to describe the types of algae such as red, brown, or green algae.
Also referred to as seaweed, the benefits of algae are quite pronounced. They can help with weight loss and heart health, as well as lowering cholesterol. Algae has also become a high recommendation for those who are trying to get over a drug or alcohol addiction. The specific type of algae that helps with drug detox is called Spirulina.
Spirulina is a strong anti-oxidant, and it also has been known to protect the liver. It does this by providing necessary nutrients that help the liver cleanse itself. Natural Living Ideas states,
“Arthrospira platensis – the blue-green algae commonly known as Spirulina – is a single-celled microscopic organism which has long been recognized for its incredible liver-protecting capabilities. Not only is Spirulina a powerful anti-oxidant, it is also packed with nutrients, essential fatty acids, and chlorophyll, all of which contribute to the liver’s detoxifying activities.”
The most common way that algae is used in foods is when making sushi, and also certain soup and pasta recipes.
Strangely enough, this delicious fruit is often overlooked as a superfood. It definitely deserves a firm spot on the many superfood lists out there. They taste delicious, but they are also full of nutrients.
Most predominant in grapefruit is the presence of vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy skin. It increases bone density and scurvy. Scurvy is a disease characterized by a decrease in red blood cell count, weakness, and bleeding. Also, grapefruits have a high fiber count, which promotes intestinal health.
In a study with 91 obese patients, grapefruit was proven to aid with weight loss. In the study, the patients were told to eat grapefruit on a regular basis. Some were given placebo and others were given real fruits. The conclusion was that those who ate the grapefruit lost more weight than those who ate the placebo.
This immensely popular nut is in fact a superfood, and with good reason. First of all, almonds are filled with antioxidants, and high in Vitamin E. The latter of which has been linked to lower rates of cancer and heart disease.
Due to its popularity in the United States as the largest consumer of almonds in the world, many studies have been performed on the benefits that go with the nut. The studies have linked almonds to:
- Less chance of early death
- Treatment of type 2 diabetes
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Better brain health
- Improvement of the gut microbiome
With so many benefits available, it’s hard to write off almonds as less than essential in your diet. Almond milk can be found on store shelves everywhere, and can easily replace regular milk for your morning bowl of cereal. There are literally hundreds of recipes available for implementing almonds into your diet.
So there you have it. Thanks to constant studies being performed every year, we are learning incredible facts about foods which populate our planet and how they help us maintain a healthy living. New superfoods are being discovered on a rolling basis. Almonds, algae, quinoa and grapefruit are a few of the many superfruits out there that help the body get rid of toxins and promote absorption of nutrients. Find a way to get them into your life and enjoy feeling the results you get from eating healthy.
What other superfoods do you know about? Please share in the comments!
Luca Tofan is a Canadian freelance writer living in Medellin, Colombia. He writes about topics such as health, lifestyle, business and travel.