6 Top Super Foods with Surprising Health Benefits
Super foods refer to foods that contain high quantities of nutrients and low amounts of calories. These foods are rich in vitamins, proteins, fatty acids and minerals. They also contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, which reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer and diabetes, strengthens or boosts the immune system and bones, and help in uplifting a person’s mood.
Nonetheless, it’s imperative to note there is no technical or scientific definition of superfoods. In fact, there is nothing like super food in scientific world. It’s believed it’s more of a marketing strategy than the actual benefit derived from the foods. The most important thing to realize is all foods are beneficial, what is required is moderation by avoiding eating too much of something against another one.
All living organisms require food for:
- Growth and building of tissues
- Protection against diseases
- Repair of worn out cells
Food can be categorized into five nutrients:
c) Fats and oils
A balanced diet comprises of nutrients that are needed by the body in the right quantities. It is imperative to ensure that one eats a variety of foods in every meal. This enhances the body in obtaining a variety of nutrients. There should be no reference for certain foods at the expense of others.
Below are six super foods with surprising health benefits:
Technically, tomatoes are fruits; however, they are regarded as vegetables. The most used fruit all over the world, there are numerous benefits of eating tomatoes both raw and cooked.
Tomatoes contain an important antioxidant known as lycopene. This antioxidant aids in lowering the progress of cells which have been affected especially cancer of prostate and stomach.
Also, they contain Vitamin K which helps in controlling the clotting of blood. Vitamin K is also useful in aiding the kidney to function well, and assisting in body metabolism.
In addition, tomatoes contain Vitamin A, C and B. vitamin A helps in boosting the body’s immune system and in maintaining (improving) a person’s eye sight. On the other hand, Vitamin C helps in maintaining and repairing of bones, cartilage and teeth, and aids in the healing process. Vitamin B helps in protecting the body against diseases.
Furthermore, tomatoes contain chlorogenic acid which assists in lowering blood pressure, and chromium which aids in lowering the level of blood sugar among the diabetics.
Lastly, tomatoes contain an antioxidant known as beta-carotene. This antioxidant overrides free radicals which are harmful. These free radicals are harmful to the circulatory system as they end up damaging the cells.
Cabbage is used as a treatment for various diseases such as obesity, skin disorders, headache, stomach ulcers, constipation, eye disorders, arthritis, heart diseases and scurvy.
This vegetable is rich in fibre which helps the body to retain water. The fibre helps in the stimulation of the digestive system, therefore preventing constipation from taking place. It is also a good remedy for other digestion-related problems. As noted by Care2, cabbages “…. cleanses the digestive tract and soothes the stomach, which could in part be due to its anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbages… demonstrate powerful detoxification activity, including neutralizing some of the damaging compounds found in cigarette smoke (and second-hand smoke).”
It is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C, an antioxidant helps the body to fight free radicals. Free radicals are one of the major causes of premature aging. It also helps in speeding up the healing process for wounds and damaged tissues.
Cabbage is also rich in beta-carotene which helps in lowering the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). ARMD is the primary cause of loss of vision in older people.
Lastly, cabbage is rich in sulphur, calcium, magnesium and potassium. These minerals help in fighting infections in wounds, reduce frequency and severity of ulcers, and protecting the bones from degradation or weakening of bones.
Kale, a vegetable belonging to the group of brassica is rich in vitamin A, C and K. Vitamin K helps in strengthening and development of bones while vitamin A helps in protecting the body against lung and oral cavity cancer. It also protects the body against various cancers. Vitamin K also helps in blood clotting.
Kale is low in fat and has no cholesterol, thereby a good choice of vegetable for those who want to reduce weight.
This widely-grown and common vegetable around the world is rich in iron. This mineral helps in the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transportation of blood to the various parts of the bod and enabling liver to function well.
Lastly, kale contains some flavonoids that get converted into vitamin K in the body. It helps the body in fighting cancer cells.
Avocado, a luscious green fruit contains large amounts of Oleic acid, which prevent the development of breast cancer.
This fruit contains beta-sitosterol, a compound that helps in lowering cholesterol levels.
This fruit is known to contain high amounts of carotenoid lutein than any other fruit. Lutein helps in protecting against macular degeneration and cataracts.
Avocado is also rich in Vitamin E and glutathoine. Vitamin E helps in protecting the body against various diseases while glutathione prevents the formation of cancer cells.
Lastly, avocado contains high levels of folate that protects against strokes. Therefore, people who consume diets rich in folate have lower chances of developing strokes than those who do not.
Right Diet | Balance Diet and Food Tips | By Dr Padmaja Prasad, Nutritionist
Bananas are used to treat or combat various types of diseases such as constipation, peptic ulcer, diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases.
It contains various vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, C, E and G, sodium chloride, calcium, magnesium, potassium, aluminum, phosphorous and selenium.
Potassium helps in maintaining normal blood pressure and functioning of heart. Heart disease is caused among other risk factors by high blood pressure. Ann average banana contains 467mg of potassium and 1mg of sodium. Potassium lowers the effects of blood pressure while sodium strengthens the effects.
Iron is another mineral found in bananas. People who have deficiency in iron may consider bananas as the iron stimulates the production of hemoglobin in the blood.
Selenium and vitamin E helps in neutralizing cancer-causing free radical cells.
A substance found in banana, called protease inhibitors help eliminate bacteria in the stomach which are responsible for stomach ulcers.
It is imperative to note that super foods should never replace a balanced diet. As the old saying goes, ‘Too much of something is poisonous,’ moderation in the consumption of super foods should be taken into account. This is clearly stated by Superfoodeateries, “A superfood is not a substitute for a well-balanced diet.”
“And remember that portion size does matter, even with healthful foods. If you gain weight because you’re eating superportions of any foods, you’ll negate the health benefits because of the health risk of being overweight.” (WebMd)