Everyone seems to be talking about “superfoods” these days. It’s a buzzword that has certainly grown in popularity in recent years – and for good reason. It reflects our growing awareness and interest in diet and health.
What is a superfood?
A superfood is any food whose nutritional value is considered to be “superior” to other foods. Superfoods are packed with beneficial nutrients and have no negative impacts on our health. They typically contain large doses of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and/or fibre. Superfoods are living foods eaten fresh and raw, as any processing such as cooking, freezing or canning alters their chemical composition and eliminates some of their vitamins and minerals. They also digest quickly and easy; they don’t overload the body nor do they store fat.
Benefits of superfoods
If superfoods are so popular, that’s because they are chock-full of health benefits. Among other things, they contain the minerals, trace elements and vitamins our bodies need. What’s more, they can be eaten on a daily basis. Adding them to your diet will do your body good and can even correct certain nutritional deficiencies. They also help active people to endure intense physical activity and to recover more rapidly afterwards.
Here is a list of some superfoods that should be at the top of your weekly grocery list. Keep in mind however that generally speaking, all raw and organic fruits and vegetables can be considered superfoods because they are so rich in essential nutrients.
- Walnuts, almonds and pistachios: Rich in vitamins and minerals and best when consumed fresh
- Kiwis: Rich in vitamins and antioxidants
- Avocados: Rich in unsaturated fatty acids
- Carrots: Rich in vitamin A and excellent for eyesight and the skin
- Tomatoes: Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants; has anticancer properties
- Kale: Rich in fibre, vitamins A and C, minerals and trace elements; protects the immune system
- Broccoli: Stimulates the immune system and bone development, prevents birth defects and degenerative eye diseases
- Leeks: Antiseptic; purifies the blood and eliminates uric acid
- Radishes: Rich in arabinogalactans
- Watercress: Contains 15 essential vitamins and minerals (ounce-for-ounce, watercress has more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than oranges); has anti-carcinogenic properties.
There are even superfoods with “miraculous” powers for those with a sweet tooth!
- Honey: Rich in vitamins and enzymes that aid digestion; hive products also help prevent certain bacterial and viral diseases
- Cocoa bean (chocolate): Rich in magnesium (anti-stress and antidepressant properties) and flavonoids (antioxidant substances with a cardioprotective effect)
Despite all their health benefits, however, superfoods alone cannot meet all of a person’s nutritional needs. They should be eaten as part of a healthy, balanced and varied diet, and complemented with regular physical activity. Ultimately, strive for a varied diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables. And on that note, bon appétit!