Why Are Superfoods Good For You?
What Is A Superfood?
From day to day we hear numerous marketing terms flung around adorning our food purchases; 'farm fresh', 'locally sourced' however 'superfood' has more recently become the headline act in all things foodie.
A superfood is generally considered as being a food with linked or researched health benefits and amid the constantly evolving popular health scene it's no wonder, with people more engaged and considerate in their food and health options, that we've seen the rise of the superfoods.
Multi-national companies including Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic as well as everyday eateries such as Pret a Manger have pioneered the new health movement providing stores for anyone keen on promoting their own health through choosing fresh, natural, organic produce as well catering for those with gluten, wheat and dairy free intolerances.
Increasingly, places like Pret and other high street cafes offer a 'superfood salad' or attractively label products informing the customer that their salad or sushi or juice contains numerous superfoods. Juice bars offer additional ingredients at a small cost e.g. chia seeds and spiralina and milk is often offered alongside a 'superfood' alternative such as soy milk. Health conventions and trade shows shout about coconut oils and miso soups whilst health bloggers build and create recipes, the foundations for which normally include an array of greens and pulses with superfood qualities, and blitz up smoothies created entirely from rich, nutritious superfoods.
Whether you consider superfoods to be a whirlwind craze or rather believe in and adopt their health boosting benefits, it can't be denied that the list of superfoods may feel a little overwhelming and at times inaccessible, however in reality, the superfoods of which the food world speaks are right under our noses.
Below is a list of considered and respected superfoods, easily added to any meal to instantly boost it's overall healthiness and nutritional value. Fresh and healthy food is readily available, so mix up your dinner and embrace the superfood.
Top 5 Superfoods
It's not easy to narrow down superfoods into a refined list but as a starter, the following foods are easy to incorporate into any busy schedule with little time to think too hard about eating the best you can...
Easily and quickly prepared and added to side salads, scrambled eggs or even spread on wholegrain toast for a speedy snack, avocados harbour fats you needn't be wary of. High in monounsaturated fat levels, this superfood packs a punch and has been said to reduce risks of cancer and heart disease as well as promoting healthy skin and eyes.
Pop these antioxidant filled superfood berries onto porridge or whizz up into a smoothie for one of the best doses of nutritional benefit around. As well as being a delicious alternative to the usual option of strawberries and raspberries, the antioxidant qualities of the blueberry are not to be sniffed at. Everyday we encounter chemicals and substances known as 'free radicals'. Picked up through exposure to fumes, added sugars and preservatives in foods and even the chemicals in body sprays and deodorants, free radicals can be incredibly harmful, known to damage cell structure and even DNA however antioxidants provide a vital defence against free radicals. Further to this, blueberries have even been said to benefit the nervous system and brain health, making it one of the most renown superfoods about.
There is an endless list of benefits provided by this luscious leafy superfood. Spinach is not only packed full of antioxidants, like the blueberry, but also iron (essential for healthy hair and nails)' vitamin K (needed for blood clotting and healing wounds), vitamin C (for protecting and maintaining healthy cells) and is also known for promoting healthy blood. Spinach can be added to salads or curries (I love spinach in my homemade Thai green curry) or wilted as a fancy base for steamed fish like salmon or trout.
Forget vampires and bad breath, garlic is claimed to be number 1 in various cancer prevention. On top of this, garlic - what you might not consider a superfood to be - reduces blood pressure and aides in lowering cholesterol levels. Handy if you're suffering from a nasty cold and easily added to many foods for a flavoursome kick, garlic can be stirred up into pasta or roasted in the oven to enjoy with crusty bread, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Lentils are a great alternative to rice and other grains and on top of this, have a great load of health benefits too. First and foremost lentils provide slow release carbohydrates (aka complex carbs, not as bad as people make them out to be...). Complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy release, meaning hunger is sustained over a longer period of time and blood sugar levels don't spike too quickly (like with simple or refined carbohydrates). Also a fantastic source of protein, providing a good source for vegan and vegetarian diets, this superfood is known to aid healthy digestion and reduce risks of heart disease.