What’s so super about Superfoods?

blueberries

“Superfood” is a marketing term used to describe foods which are laden with nutrients and are packed full of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. They offer certain benefits, such as prolonging life and promoting health and pack a punch as far as well-being is concerned. Here we have outlined particular superfoods and what causes them to be considered a superfood.

Green tea

Okay, so technically green tea isn’t a food, however, it has such a fantastic amount of benefits, it had to be included in this list. In the Far East, green tea has been used for centuries as a treatment for a variety of conditions, ranging from arthritis to weight loss.

Green tea is a great source of antioxidants and has been shown to help prevent and fight cancer. They are also beneficial for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and good digestive health. A 2014 survey of data from previously published studies showed evidence of a lowering of blood pressure from people who consumed green tea. Another study in 2014 showed that green tea was effective in preventing tooth decay.

Blueberries

Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. They also contain vitamin K, fiber, manganese and other antioxidants (such as anthocyanins). As well as this, they are packed with riboflavin, niacin and folate. They are a rich source of the phytonutrients ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has been proven to assist in preventing cancer. It encourages a healthy rate of apoptosis, which is how the body finds and destroys harmful or damaged cells, like cancer cells.

Blueberries are an excellent anti-inflammatory agent, which helps decrease inflammation in the brain. They increase the production of feel-good dopamine. This is a natural neurotransmitter that tends to be low in Parkinson’s.

Almonds

Almonds pretty much have a fixed place on any list of superfoods. Studies have shown that almonds may have major benefits for the heart. One study suggests that eating between 1 and 6 ounces of almonds per day can reduce total cholesterol and may contribute to lowering bad cholesterol. Almonds can also contribute to weight loss, whilst studies have suggested that eating almonds alone could lead to an overall healthy diet. Also, a recent study has shown that snacking on almonds can reduce hunger without leading to weight gain. Almonds are also a good source of vitamin B2, copper, manganese and potassium. The potassium present in almonds also helps to regulate blood pressure.

Spinach

Spinach is packed full of plenty of vitamin A, which ensures it is immunity boosting and protects vision. A cup of cooking spinach has up to 12% of the recommended daily dose of calcium and enough vitamin K to protect against bone loss. Spinach also contains phytonutrients which are both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. As inflammation may cause cancer, this means that spinach can assist protecting the body at a cellular level from this disease. Spinach is good for boosting the quality of the skin. It can relieve dry, itchy skin and improve the complexion due to its abundance of vitamins and minerals.

Salmon

Salmon has a range of benefits besides being tasty. It contains a nutritious dose of omega- 3 fatty acids, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The omega- 3 has also been shown to protect against UV- induced skin damage. It has been linked to improved cognitive functioning, especially in middle- aged adults. One study found that people with higher levels of DHA (the omega-3 found in salmon) scored better on tests which involved nonverbal reason and mental dexterity. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12). Salmon is versatile and can be served up as part of a stir-fry or on its own.

No food can compensate for unhealthy eating, however, a superfood can help good health as part of a balanced diet. Keep this list on hand for when you next do your grocery shopping and it can guide you to make the right choices.

  First published at https://littlebitwebblog.wordpress.com

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