Superfoods: The Lowdown
by Healthy Homestead Team
3 weeks ago
You’ve probably heard the term superfoods in the past couple of years. They are rising up the ranks of popularity. Nowadays, you can say that superfoods are more popular than ever. And every day, somebody new gets hooked on superfoods and reaps the benefits of consuming. If you are not sure what are they, and how to eat them, read on to learn how you can be healthier by consuming superfoods.
What are superfoods?
Truth be told, there are no set criteria for determining what is a superfood. That is according to the American Heart Association. They do not have their own food group. The easiest way to define superfoods is “a diverse collection of nutrient-rich natural foods”. This includes berries, seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits, algae, and much more.
What is the difference between superfoods, and regular healthy foods? Well, regular healthy foods usually contain two or three healthy nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Superfoods, on the other hand, can pack up to 12 and more healthy nutrients.
Why are superfoods so important?
Let’s be honest for a moment. The standard american diet (SAD) is not as nutritious as it should be. Many people consume an abundance of unhealthy foods in the name of convenience. They are available at every corner, and in most cases, unhealthy foods are quicker and easier to prepare and eat.
But all of that unhealthy eating contributes to health problems. Just check the people around you. How many of them have issues with obesity? Diabetes? Or high blood pressure? The reality is that chronic health conditions are more common than ever. And that is why superfoods are important.
A daily diet that is rich in superfoods will provide your body with all the essential minerals and vitamins it needs. A healthy diet will also improve your emotional state.
When you talk about the benefits of superfoods, you cannot talk in general. Each superfood has its own unique and specific nutritional value, meaning specific health benefits. Generally speaking, however, they all improve your immune system, provide resistance to diseases, help reduce bad fats, improve your energy levels, improve your metabolism, burn calories, and help you feel better.
What are some popular superfoods?
The list of superfoods is long. And as mentioned previously, they do not fall into a specific food group. What you can do is divide them into 4 different categories.
Green superfoods are vegetables that are rich in minerals and vitamins, and that includes barley grass, spirulina, green leafy vegetables, wheatgrass, broccoli, avocado, kale, collard greens, and more.
Herbs are a superfood group that is becoming more and more popular lately. Some of the healthy herbs include ginseng, ginger, turmeric, basil, nettle, aloe vera, echinacea, and anise.
Fruits and nuts are probably the biggest group, including acai berry, blueberries, goji berries, pomegranate, almonds, walnuts, raw cacao, coconut, and other fruits.
The last group can be classified as “other” and includes chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, bee pollen, honey, and more.
How do you eat superfoods?
When it comes to superfoods, the main thing you need to remember is “eat them in their raw and original state”. Modern processing can cause many of the healing qualities, benefits, and nutritional value of the superfoods to be lost.
If you absolutely want to cook them, try not to overcook superfoods. High heat will damage the water-soluble vitamins in superfoods and destroy any antioxidants. You can consume superfoods at any time of the day. With that in mind, here are a couple of ways you can integrate superfoods into your daily diet
- Chop some walnuts and add to your breakfast oats, yogurt, or smoothie bowl and drink a glass of almond milk
- Sprinkle some hemp, chia or sunflower seeds on your salad
- Have fruit or nuts for a snack, be it green apple, orange, blueberries, or a handful of nuts
- Add some spirulina into your smoothie
- When preparing pesto, add some nuts for extra crunchiness and vitamins
- Substitute sour cream with coconut milk in your cream soups
- Add some fresh blueberries to your breakfast
- Use unsweetened applesauce instead of sugar in brownies and other cookies
- Add carrots to baked goods
- Instead of condiments, spread mashed avocado on your sandwich (#avocadotoast)
- Throw some spinach, kale, or other leafy greens into your morning eggs omelette
- Add some sunflower seeds in your salad for extra crunchiness
- Use flaxseeds as an egg replacement for your pancake batter
- Add chia seeds to cereals, salads, yogurt, or even smoothies. They are extremely versatile and fill you up
- Maca powder is another superfood you can add to smoothies or any drink such as juice or coffee