What are Superfoods and How Can You Add Them to Your Diet?
From avocado to matcha to flax, what's so super about superfoods? The vitamins and minerals in a well rounded diet will make you happier, healthier, and more balanced, so what are superfoods you should mix in to your meals?
- Superfoods contain high amounts of antioxidants that aid in restoring cells and eliminating certain health problems.
- Superfoods not only promote better physical health, but mental health as well.
- The vitamins contained within superfoods strengthen and nourish our skin and hair.
With the progression of technology, everything seems to have become more “fast paced”. We see this change with transportation, communication, and especially FOOD! We have gone from a world of consistent and nutritious home cooked meals, to a world where you click five buttons on an app and your meal is ready in five minutes for immediate pickup. While this makes life a whole lot more convenient for many people, we need to take a step back and see that this convenience may only lead to our detriment.
So how about we ditch the unhealthy fast food (in moderation) and try superfood!
What are Superfoods?
You have probably seen the term “superfood” being thrown around by health influencers, models, and bloggers. But what are superfoods?
There is a reason behind the “super” in the term superfood. These foods hold a huge source of antioxidants, which are compounds that work to prevent diseases and other health issues. Superfoods are whole nutritious foods right from the earth,
They also contain an abundant amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system and provide protection against many various health problems. If you’re looking for a way to improve your weekly diet, start slowly and begin by incorporating some of these nourishing “treats” into your routine.
Superfood Grocery List and Their Main Benefits
Superfoods really aren’t as complicated as they sound, in fact they are pretty common foods you probably see on a daily basis. So where can you find these nutritious sustenances? Harvard Health states that these 5 foods are some of the best superfoods to include in your diet to see optimal health results:
These sweet fruits have some of the highest levels of antioxidants found in any food. Incorporating berries into your diet can lead to reduced blood sugar, decreased inflammation, as well as improving artery health.
Fish contains large quantities of Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for keeping both your heart and brain healthy. This superfood is also known for being very rich in calcium and phosphorus, leading to stronger bones and less inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends including fish into your diet at least twice a week.
Most people probably wouldn’t associate these small little snacks as being a superfood. However, nuts are great for your health due to containing large amounts of fiber, nutrients, and heart healthy fats. Nuts have been proven to help lower the risk of chronic diseases, as well as diabetes.
Bacteria isn’t always a bad thing. Yogurt is classified as a superfood due to it being a probiotic that utilizes its’ good bacteria to fight off the harmful bacteria in your body. By fighting off bad bacteria, your body is able to start curing various gastrointestinal issues and repair body tissue. Yogurt also contains protein which assists in building stronger bones.
- Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are a category of veggies under the cabbage family. Some of these vegetables include: Arugula, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Radishes, and Turnips. These superfoods are rich in vitamins C, E, K, and folate that all work to strengthen your body and immune system. Cruciferous vegetables have been found to aid in protecting cells from DNA damage, have antiviral and antibacterial effects, and help inactivate carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer).
These grocery store staples are only a tiny portion of all the superfoods you could be incorporating into your diet. Try researching recipes containing superfoods to make eating this edible gold enjoyable. Also, if you’re looking for an easy way to start buying more of these foods at the grocery store, follow the famous trick of “shopping on the perimeter” for the fresh, refrigerated produce goods.
Mental Health Benefits
Eating right does more for your mental health than you probably know. According to a study by Missouri Medicine in 2012, having a deficiency in vitamins such as B12, Folate, and Zinc can cause depressive and anxious symptoms in people. These vitamins feed the brain, providing it with substantial nutrients to excel at doing its job. As a society, we need to be more mindful of what we put into our bodies, because 20 percent of our daily caloric intake goes straight to the brain and can greatly play a role in our moods.
Another factor in superfoods that contribute to improving mental health is the beloved Omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds have been found to easily travel to the brain cell membrane which allows for them to react with mood molecules within. Research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids have helped alleviate mental health issues such as postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and so much more.
This goes to show that even if you are not suffering with mental health issues this severe, superfoods prove to be an amazing way to feed the brain and lead to a potentially happier life.
Food For Skin and Hair
Superfoods not only benefit you internally, but they also have the power to work wonders on your skin and hair.
As stated before, superfoods are packed with vitamins and minerals that support and boost bodily functions. Many of these nutrients have a huge impact on maintaining a more youthful complexion.
What are superfoods that promote the health of skin and hair:
- Spinach and Berries- These superfoods contain high amounts of Vitamin C and collagen which are both known for tightening and brightening your skin.
- Tomatoes- If you want even more UV protection for your skin, try eating more tomatoes! Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that works to build UV protection in the skin. Tomatoes also contain iron which helps shine up dull hair.
- Nuts and Fish- Most superfoods also contain Omega-3 fatty acids or heart healthy fats which can assist with maintaining the pH levels and oils in your hair. Particularly nuts and fish will give your body the protein it needs to turn that dead hair alive.
- Avocado- Considering all the vitamins and minerals in avocados, it should be classified as a “super-super-food”. Avocados are extremely rich in Biotin, Potassium, and Magnesium which are all properties that can help bond hair cuticles together, making for shinier and healthier hair. The vitamin E also contained in this green superfood works to brighten and tighten skin.
So what are superfoods? These staples are everyday essentials to feeling and looking your best. Eating superfoods provide your body with large quantities of vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients to help strengthen your body from your brain, literally all the way to your feet. Let’s prioritize our health and our nutrition over the immediate satisfaction of fast food and processed foods. Let’s be super and help educate more of the population on what are superfoods!
Written by Emma Carlson