Over the past few years, you’ve most likely heard or seen the term ‘superfood’ used increasingly on food labels, in the news and in health and fitness blogs. But what exactly are superfoods? Well to put it simply, they are mostly plant-based foods which are thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health.
Interestingly, according to the American Heart Association, superfoods aren’t actually a defined food group. In fact, the term is seen by some as marketing jargon for foods which offer distinct health benefits. In most cases, this comment would be enough to put most people off, but hear us out!
Incorporating, superfoods into your diet can provide some distinct health benefits. To demonstrate this, we’ve broken down some of the key health benefits of a few of the most popular superfoods:
Cacao is of one of the best sources of theobromine, an alkaloid which has been found to have a positive impact on mood, memory and brain function. Cacao also relaxes the smooth muscle in blood vessels, which can help to lower your blood pressure.
Chia seeds were historically a key component of the Aztec and Mayan diets. The seeds, which are often used for porridge, protein shakes and smoothies, are rich in the essential fatty acid omega3, whilst they also have double the protein of any other seed or grain, twice the potassium of bananas and triple the iron of spinach. Chia seeds are known to help improve digestion, heart health, mood and exercise and sports performance.
Avocado is a great source of healthy fats, which are key for reducing cholesterol build up in the arteries. Avocados are also rich in vitamin B (which helps to convert food into fuel), vitamin C (which is necessary for the growth, development and repair of body tissue) and vitamin E (which provides essential protection against toxins).
Kale is one of few vegetables that contains all the essential amino acids the body needs to build protein. Often a key component of detox plans, Kale is full of fibre and sulfur which are great for detoxifying the body and maintaining liver health. Kale is also a good source of vitamin K, which is necessary for bodily functions including bone health and preventing blood clotting.
Quinoa’s difficulty to pronounce is just one of the key facts about this whole grain! It also contains quercetin and kaempferol, two powerful flavonoids that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. It is also high in magnesium, and has been found to alleviate migraines as a result and also lysine which is essential for tissue and growth repair.
How much should I have in my diet?
As superfoods are not a distinct food group (like protein or carbohydrates for example), there is no recommended daily or weekly consumption. Instead, you should try an incorporate them where you can into a healthy balanced diet.
Consuming superfoods and the right nutrients is a task which is made easier on our Pura macronutrient counted meal plans! For more information, click here