The term ‘superfood’ is bandied around quite a lot at the moment…but what exactly does it mean? There is no real definition of the word (it was probably created by some clever marketer!), but to put it simply, superfoods are broadly considered to be nutrient-dense foods that usually contain large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and/or minerals (in simple terms – lots of stuff that’s good for you!).
They are usually plant-based foods though certain seafoods also fall into the ‘superfood’ category. Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life and those who eat more of them may be healthier and thinner than people who don’t.
Below are some of the most common superfoods and the health benefits they offer:
- Berries: Berries are full of phytonutrients that neutralize free radicals (agents that cause ageing and cell damage in your body). The antioxidants in berries may also protect against cancer and reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Kiwifruit: Kiwi fruits are naturally high in vitamin C and vitamin K which are vitamins that promote healthy skin, improved immune system performance and cardiovascular health. Kiwi is also a great source of fibre which aids in digestive health.
- Broccoli: Broccoli belongs to the Cruciferous family. Cruciferous vegetables are considered to be anti-cancer i.e. nutrients in cruciferous vegetables helps to suppress the growth of tumours and reduce cancer risk. One cup of this veggie powerhouse will supply you with your daily dose of immunity-boosting vitamin C and a large percentage of folic acid.
- Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which the body cannot produce by itself. These fatty acids reduce inflammation, improve circulation, increase the ratio of good to bad cholesterol, and may decrease risk of developing cancer. Salmon is a rich source of the antioxidant mineral selenium, which helps prevent cell damage.
- Oats: Oats are a rich source of magnesium, potassium and other important nutrients. They contain a special type of fibre that helps to lower cholesterol (by binding & removing bad cholesterol from the blood stream) and, therefore, prevent heart disease. Magnesium works to regulate blood-sugar levels and research suggests that eating whole-grain oats may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
This superfoods list is not complete by any means – there are many more (just ask Google). For your best chance at long-term good health, be sure to include at least three serves of different superfoods per day. As Hipprocrates said, ‘let food be your medicine, and medicine your food’.