Lately I haven’t been feeling as energetic as usual. I’ve also been bloated and uncomfortable. I needed to see what had changed, and why I was feeling that way. The answer? I was eating unhealthy junk daily! So I decided to do something about it, and started doing my research on superfoods and what I should be eating to start feeling good again! So I will be sharing my new knowledge here today.
Let me first start by defining the term ‘superfood’ (no, it’s not a type of food that makes you want to wear a cape and fly around the city saving people, but it does make you feel super awesome!)
Definition of superfood (plural – superfoods)
- A food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fibre, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health
- Superfoods increase energy and vitality, regulate cholesterol and blood pressure and may help to prevent or fight cancer and other diseases. — Kathleen Back Brady, Tallahassee (Florida) Democrat, 26 Feb. 2014
- Because acai is rich in polyphenols and other antioxidants, it’s been hailed by some as a superfood or “miracle berry.” — Andrew Weil, Self Healing, October 2006
The reason for eating well, apart from wanting to loose a couple of inches, is to feel and perform your very best! And you don’t have to do a strict diet either. Because we know how that goes! You starve yourself and you end up putting the pounds back on, and nobody wants that! By switching to superfoods you don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right.
You don’t even have to stop eating dessert! If you’re craving, say, a piece of pumpkin pie or blueberry crumble, go ahead and enjoy it! These desserts contain superfoods, just skip the sugar and you’re good to go! Here’s a list of 10 superfoods to get you started:
Berries have a lot of health benefits! Acai berries are extremely high in antioxidants called anthocyanins that helps keep your cholesterol levels balanced. Blackberries contain polyphenols, a class of antioxidants known for their cancer-fighting abilities. Blackberries have high concentrations of the antioxidant which helps prevent the development of cancer. Blueberries keep you mentally sharp as you age. This is because these berries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins. Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, which can help prevent cataracts, which can lead to blindness in older age. These are just a couple of ‘superberries’ and their health benefits.
Pumpkins are full of vitamins and minerals, but low in calories! They contain potassium, which helps decrease the risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids, which help keep your eyesight sharp! Also, pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, which helps you sleep better and also improves your mood!
Avocados are very high in potassium, which is linked to reducing blood pressure, major risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. They also contain folate, which may help reduce the risk of depression. Avocados also contain Vitamin K1, which are beneficial for bone health.
Red bell peppers
These bell peppers contain phytonutrient capsaicin, which has important anti-cancer and blood-sugar balancing properties. Red bell peppers are also a great source of vitamin B6 and folate. Both these vitamins and minerals can help prevent anaemia. These sweet peppers also help support healthy eyesight, especially night vision! This is because they are high in Vitamin A.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which has been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby striking to the root of tumour growth. Recent studies have shown that it only takes three to five servings of broccoli per week to obtain the cancer prevention benefits. But it’s important that the broccoli you eat still has a live enzyme called myrosinase. This enzyme is needed to form the sulforaphane, its active cancer fighting substance. So it is recommended to only steam broccoli for two to four minutes to protect both the enzyme and the vegetable’s other nutrients. Another way is to eat it raw.
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet, containing a little bit of almost every nutrient we need! They are rich in betaine and choline, which promote heart health. Eggs are also packed with iron, zinc and phosphorus which are vital for your body. Women need plenty of iron due to menstruation, and not getting enough could leave you feeling tired, run down and grumpy. Zinc keeps your immune system in top shape and helps your body turn food into energy. Phosphorus is important for healthy bones and teeth.
Greek yoghurt has a much higher amount of protein than milk, which benefits health for your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, hair and blood. Protein is also linked to linked to improved body composition, increased metabolic rate and reduced hunger.
Walnuts contain antioxidants which help fight against cancer. Almonds are rich in calcium, which helps bone building. If you’re allergic to/avoid eating dairy, these nuts are beneficial to make sure you are getting enough calcium. Cashews are rich in the mineral magnesium, which is thought to improve age-related memory loss. Pecans are packed with plant sterols, valuable compounds that are effective at lowering cholesterol levels. These just are a couple of nuts and their health benefits.
Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre, which helps reduce cholesterol levels and blood sugar. It also increases the feeling of fullness and increases growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract. Studies have also shown that eating foods rich in whole-oat sources of soluble fibre (oats, oat bran, and oat flour) may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
The bioactive compounds, namely flavanols, in dark chocolate can benefit your skin. These can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. Apart from that, flavanols have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain.
These are only a few superfoods which can benefit your overall health. There are many more, and you will feel so much better when you switch from eating junk to a healthy lifestyle!
“Over weeks and months, you will get addicted to the awesome taste of healthy food, and start wondering why you never did it earlier!” – The Fitness Doc