What makes a food a superfood? That’s a good question. Since there’s no official definition for a super food, the unofficial one would be a food that contains and extraordinary number of nutrients and health benefits. Some of these are locally grown and you may have eaten them your entire life, like beets or spinach. Others are from distant places and until recently, you never knew they existed, such as the king of fruit, durian.
Marketing has something to do with superfoods getting that label.
There are no rules and regulations about how a food is marketed and whether it can be called a superfood, so sometimes food is marketed as a superfood. You need to check into the claims yourself before you make it a primary dish every meal. Superfood has dense nutritional content, particularly compared to the calories it contains. It also has phytonutrients, enzymes, and other beneficial compounds, besides the traditional fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat.
Superfoods generally are found in nature.
Some superfoods, like ancient grains, have been around for ages and lost favor with the public. Due to recent discoveries and changing circumstances, foods like ancient grains are now far more popular. Most superfoods are minimally processed, since processing may affect the nutritional value of the food. That should alert that the value of any processed food touting a specific superfood as part of the ingredients may not be as healthy as the wrapper suggests.
Make superfoods part of your diet.
While a well-rounded diet is important, don’t forget to include at least one superfood with every meal. Unlike supplements, you can’t overdose from eating superfoods. For instance, taking too many vitamin A supplements can cause hypervitaminosis A, but you can’t get it from eating food. The vitamin A in food comes from converting beta carotene, but instead of causing a lethal problem, the only problem you’ll have is discoloration of your skin to an orange color.
- Crucifers and many green vegetables are often considered superfoods. Broccoli, for instance, contains phytochemicals that help fight cancer and eliminate carcinogens from the body.
- Nuts are a superfood, especially walnuts and almonds. Other food that are easy to include in a diet are flaxseed, yogurt, avocados and garlic. Make a beautiful green salad of spinach, another superfood and add all the others listed, saving the yogurt to make dressing.
- If you carve a pumpkin or cook down the flesh to use, don’t throw out the seeds. Not only does the flesh of the pumpkin have loads of nutrients, the seeds are a great source of zinc, plant protein and essential fatty acids.
- Some fabulous superfoods are berries, especially blueberries. They contain antioxidants that fight cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more. Combine them with walnuts, flaxseed and Greek yogurt for a super delightful dessert.
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