In my integrative nutrition program there is a lot of talk about superfoods, and I’ve been having fun integrating them into my nutrition regimen. Now that I am coaching others on improving health and wellness, I’ve started talking to clients about superfoods too – but describing them and the many unusual names is not always easy. So I decided to write this very basic Superfoods 101 blog, just in case you were also curious what these “super” foods are all about and why we should all be consuming them.
What are Superfoods?
In a nutshell, superfoods are foods that are densely packed with all the nutrients and antioxidants that help our bodies function optimally. The average American diet has a fruit and vegetable intake that is well below recommended levels. By adding superfoods into your diet, you are giving yourself the needed antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber that will keep you healthier and more energetic.
Antioxidants – protect the body from weary and tear, whole strengthening the immune system, muscles, bones, and skin. help to stabilize cell-damaging free radicals. free radicals are created in the body through processed and sugary foods, stress, excessive exercise, extended sun exposure and some chemicals in our environment. the more antioxidants in the body, the less damage free radicals can cause.
Nutrients – are found in most super foods and consist of vitamins and minerals that are key to health, including vitamin A, vitamin C, the vitamin B folate, magnesium, and potassium. some super foods also deliver protein, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats (such as omega-3s and GLA [gamma-lionlenic acid]).
Fiber – aids digestion, improves absorption of certain nutrients and increases feelings of fullness, while decreasing the risk of certain diseases.
- acerola cherry
- blueberries, backberries, boysenberries, cranberries, elderberries, raspberries (high in antioxidants)
- camu camu
- chia seeds
- goji berries
- greens and grasses – green vegetables young cereal grasses (oat, alfalfa, barley, wheat), sea vegetables and algae (spiraling, chlorella)
- hemp seeds
- maqui berries
- royal jelly
David Wolfe has become a raw food expert touted in the nutrition world. Check out his Top Ten Superfoods here.
I am really only scratching the surface here when it comes to superfoods, so I challenge you to dig a little deeper and try some (or all) of them!
wishing you healthy, sustainable, and balanced living