Now, firstly we need to understand what are superfoods? Why are they called superfoods? Now superfoods don’t give you massive strength or wings to fly. In today’s hustle-bustle, we are not able to manage our body’s nutrient requirement and to maintain a healthy diet has become very difficult. Superfoods contain a variety of nutrients such as healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals. Since these are packed with so many health benefits and nutrients, therefore, they are often called superfoods. We can’t eat every essential nutrient but we can have superfoods which are packed with a lot of nutrients.
Although not a single food or superfood can have all nutrients so we need to maintain a perfect balance between our nutrient consumption. Over the years many kinds of research have shown that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancers. Let us learn about the top 10 superfoods.
Berries remain at the top of the superfood list because of their high vitamin, phytochemicals and soluble fiber. These nutrients are found in various types of berries i.e. strawberry, cranberry, and blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, etc. Studies have proved phytochemicals present in berries also known as flavonoids may reduce the risk of diseases in young women.
Berries can be eaten raw or added to cereal and yogurt as well. Berries are also widely used in smoothies as they are very rich in taste. When they are not in season, we can always buy frozen berries
Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients like folate, zinc, calcium, iron, vitamin C, magnesium and fiber. Dark Greens are more beneficial. They are loaded with Vitamin K, C and A. Greens include Swiss Chard, Collards, Mustards( including radish greens), spinach, broccoli. Green Leafy vegetables help in preventing chronic disease as well.
Some DGLVs have a bitter taste and not everyone enjoys them plain. You can get creative by including them in your favorite soups, salads, smoothies, stir-fries, and curries.
Now green tea is a very known tea that has become widely popular because of its medicinal properties. It has a very low caffeine content and also increases metabolism and weight loss. It originally originated from China.
Green Tea is very rich in polyphenolic compounds and antioxidants which have very strong anti-inflammatory properties. Green Tea has catechin epigallocatechin gallate( EGCG) which is a powerful antioxidant. EGCG helps prevent the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. We must replace our harmful daily tea with green tea due to its health benefits. We can also opt for Matcha Green tea because of its added health benefits. One cup of matcha green tea is equivalent to 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea. One cup matcha green tea 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea.
Legumes are a range of plants which include peas, lentils, peanuts and beans, soy, and alfalfa.
They are a high source of nutrients and help in preventing various diseases. Legumes are a rich source of fiber, vitamin B, protein and various minerals.
Legumes help in maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol. Eating legumes on a regular basis also helps to reduce weight as they have the ability to give fullness. Many bodybuilders have added legumes to their diet and have achieved amazing results.
You can eat these raw or make a legume salad with onions, tomatoes and herbs added. You can also prepare hummus.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of plant protein. They help in reducing the risk of heart disease.
They are packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Many kinds of research have proved that adding nuts and seeds to your diet can give you great health benefits.
Nuts and Seeds with great health benefits are Almonds, Peanuts, Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
Although nuts are laced with calories, there are some nuts that also help in the reduction of weight when used in a balanced diet.
There are many nuts and seeds which can be eaten raw or you can roast them. You can also eat nut butter like almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter. We can add ¼ fist of nuts or seeds to our oatmeal or yogurt. In many dishes, people often use these as a garnish. It alleviates the dish by adding crunchiness to it.
Yogurt is something that is generally not considered as a superfood but it is a high source of protein and calcium. It also contains probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast which are very good for our digestive system. Probiotics are generally called good bacteria as they are helpful to keep our gut healthy. Try buying yogurt with live cultures like Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilus.
You can add yogurt to your diet by buying organic flavored yogurts, you can also add fruits to plain yogurt and make a healthier option. Yogurt can be added into mayonnaise and sour cream as well. Flavored yogurt contains a lot of added sugar. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit. Look for yogurts that have “live active cultures” such as Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilus. You can use yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sour cream in dips or sauces.
Olive oil is extracted from olive trees and is an important element of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a good source of polyphenols, vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids which help in reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also has antioxidants such as vitamins K and E, which helps in the protection of cells and oxidative stress.
We can use olive oil for cooking dishes instead of butter. Olive oil can be drizzled over salads and used as a dressing.
Ginger originates from the root of a flowering plant originally from China. It is used worldwide as a taste enhancer and for its medicinal properties. Ginger roots have antioxidants such as gingerol, that are responsible for health benefits. Ginger also helps reduce pain from chronic and acute inflammatory conditions. Ginger can prevent heart disease, dementia and some types of cancers.
Ginger is used in soups, teas, sauces, stir-fries, curries, etc. It’s available in raw, powdered, and oil or juice form.
Turmeric, also called Haldi, is an Indian spice originating from India. Its bright yellow in color and is used for cooking and its medicinal properties.
It has an active compound called Curcumin. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It is widely used in ayurvedic medicines as it is very effective in treating chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart diseases. In India, people use it often for quick recovery and pain reduction from an injury.
Mushrooms have a huge variety and only 1-2% are poisonous and not fit for consumption. Nutrient content varies depending on the category, mushrooms are laced with potassium, vitamin A, fiber, several antioxidants which are not commonly present in other foods.
The common eaten mushrooms are the button, crimini, portobello, shitake, and oyster mushroom. Having unique antioxidant properties mushroom also helps in reducing inflammation and prevents cancers. Mushrooms also let agricultural waste products grow on themselves.