So what are superfoods and why are so many people talking about them? How does a particular food meet the criteria to be called one? Who sets the standards? Well, a juicy hamburger, sweet drink and french fries from a fast food joint can give you a very short spike in energy and then send you into crash mode within a couple of hours. A healthy bowl of green veggies with homemade dressing, one boiled egg and water, on the other hand, is most likely going to have the opposite effect. You are more likely to process the nutrients loaded in this meal and then have increased overall energy for the next four to five hours. Superfoods do not only give you more energy and nutrients but they also supply more vitamins and nutrients and help the body function at its best. The term “superfood” is not a medical term, but one that is taken advantage of positively in the marketing industry. You will notice that most nutrition experts have their own list of what they term the best superfoods. Although some of the lists are very similar, you can tell that everyone of them are slightly flexible with their list as to ranking the top superfoods.
As I travel this health and wellness journey, through personal experience, reading and working with clients I continue to discover more powerful foods, herbs and spices that are super packed with valuable nutrients and vitamins. Below are some of my favorite three:
#1 CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES
This group includes but is not limited to broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, collard green, cabbage, arugula, watercress and bok choy. These foods are known for their pungent smell. Yes they smell horrid. However, horrible smell is what the plant uses to defend itself from being eaten by insects while growing up in the wild. Most of them are very rich in compounds that lower inflammation and help fight cancer. They contain a lot of fiber which we desperately need to improve digestion and reduce constipation. They are very low in calories and will keep you full for a longer period of time. Most of them are rich in folate which are very essential during pregnancy. Also rich in vitamin K, A and C. And don’t forget the amount of protein you receive from these vegetables. The best way to consume these vegetables is to either lightly saute them, boil them, or freeze them before making, perhaps, a smoothie with them.
# 2 CHOCOLATE (CACAO)
There are two foods I personally think everybody likes. I honestly believe everybody likes ice cream and also chocolate. Right? Who doesn’t like them? Lol. Dark chocolate is actually a superfood believe it or not. Most people are eating the one with a lot of sugar though. They need to be eating the ones that have at least 80% and above of cacao. This superfood contains tons of antioxidants that fight free radicals that intend to damage the body. This just simply means that cacao is a very powerful cancer fighting and preventing agent. It also contains a lot of magnesium which helps calm inflammation in your body and causes you to sleep better and digest food easier. The cacao is also great food for the brain improving cognitive ability and memory and boosting overall brain function. It’s ability to relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, helps also to lower blood pressure. You can add a tablespoon of cacao to your smoothies or make a cup of warm healthy chocolate before bedtime for a good night’s rest.
What is tumeric? What does it look like? Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Well if you know what ginger looks like, then you have seen the cousin to tumeric. Unlike ginger with a slightly yellowish inside, turmeric is orange looking when peeled. You can also get it in powder form. Turmeric is mostly used to spice food in Asian cuisines. The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Many studies suggests that curcumin by itself is a very powerful antioxidant easing joint pain especially from arthritis and menstrual pain. Also it aids in improving liver function which helps indirectly to speed up metabolism. It is important to consume the whole turmeric and not only isolate curcumin. This is because tumeric as a whole contains so many other health benefits. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed by the human body. In order to increase its ability to be absorbed, combine it with black pepper or something fatty like coconut oil. Heating it up in teas and soups also helps.
Be sure to let me know in the comments what your top three superfoods are! In subsequent blog posts, I will be adding to this list until I get to the top ten superfoods I absolutely adore, so stay tuned! Always check out my blog for a brand new article EVERY Monday to learn about new nutrition facts on healthy living and wellness.
WLS, FNS (NASM)