Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with health benefits.
Superfoods are not new and have been around for centuries. Today, they are more popular than ever because they are natural foods with a very high nutritional value.
In fact, while 2 to 3 healthy proteins are found in most foods, some superfoods can contain up to 12.
What exactly are these foods? Why are they important? How to eat them? Discover them in this comprehensive guide to superfoods !
List of Superfoods and their benefits
I propose below a list of superfoods that I myself selected.
With as usual always an ecological concern, because as you can see below in this article, the overconsumption of some superfoods is not always without impact on the environment.
The best choice for a healthy and nutritious breakfast! Oats are particularly known for their contribution to minerals, their role in preventing cardiovascular diseases and maintaining the digestive system in good health.
Not very exotic, like other better-known superfoods, but garlic does indeed have very interesting virtues for our body. The antioxidants present in garlic counteract aging. Garlic also contains minerals and trace elements such as magnesium, calcium and iron, zinc and selenium. All elements that contribute to the proper functioning of the body, garlic calms blood pressure. But most importantly, research is looking at garlic allicin that could destroy cancer cells. It is particularly known against cancers of the colon, skin and lung.
Hemp seeds are one of the few foods of plant origin (along with quinoa) to provide all the essential amino acids to our body. Ideal for vegetarians or people who want to reduce their consumption of meat, indeed, complete sources of vitamins are generally foods of animal origin. The hemp seed is very nutritious; it balances the endocrine system, is beneficial for the digestive system, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and also improves sleep!
It is one of the healthiest oils, provided you do not get heated. Indeed, when the olive oil is heated, even at very low temperature it loses all its enzymes and benefits. To be consumed cold, seasoning salads or vinaigrettes, you can pour a net in your dishes or on bread. Its benefits include prevention of colon and breast cancer, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis and high cholesterol. It also promotes weight loss, improves metabolism, digestion and prevents aging.
It has one of the highest mineral densities for a fresh fruit. It thus contributes effectively to the coverage of the mineral needs of the body. The small, raspberry-rich grains speed up transit and help counter a tendency to constipation. The raspberry is also part of the fruit less rich in carbohydrates, so it can integrate a low carb or ketogenic diet. Raspberry ketone is the component that gives the fruit its aroma and is known for its appetite suppressant properties.
Apple cider vinegar
With its pure and natural acidity, apple cider vinegar allows our body to purify and regenerate itself. It contains many minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, iron, silicon and potassium (essential minerals to rebalance our intestinal flora). It helps to improve our digestive system, and destroys the bacteria in our intestines. It is also indicated against heartburn, joint pain, rheumatism and gout.
Spirulina is an alga, which because of its success is today produced in a controlled manner in the world, wherever the climate allows it. Low in calories it contains a mine of nutrients. Spirulina is not superior to fresh vegetables and fruits, but simply a simple and effective way to increase carotenoids, iron and protein intake with a single food. It is used to combat malnutrition, in several countries.
Ginger has long been consumed all over the world. It can be consumed in different forms, such as fresh, herbal teas, capsules, powder or syrup. It can relieve rheumatism, nausea, colds and headaches. Ginger is especially an excellent invigorating of the body; it effectively strengthens people weakened or sick. Its aphrodisiac properties are also well known, but they come mainly from its ability to strengthen the whole body.
Turmeric is a plant native to Southeast Asia. Consumed primarily as a powder, it has long been used in traditional medicine for its virtues to treat digestive disorders or to relieve inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis or osteoarthritis. Researchers believe that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric may play a role in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Indeed, the prevalence of several cancers would be lower in Asian countries where people consume a lot of turmeric.
This is our usual coffee in its unroasted version. Green coffee has some health benefits. It gives tone, accelerates brain activity and promotes intestinal transit and the elimination of toxins by the liver. Diuretic, it can also help with weight loss.
In recent years the virtues of Goji berries have become very popular in Western countries. However, these virtues are fueled more by marketing than by real data and research. In China, Goji berries have been consumed for thousands of years, in combination with several other herbs, to treat male infertility and respiratory disorders and to combat fatigue. Its high price and the lack of reliable clinical data do not justify, for the moment, their addition to our diet. Especially since we have access to a wide variety of local berries and vegetables, many of which have clinically proven beneficial properties.
Freshly consumed, acai fruit is relatively rich in protein, carbohydrate and fat. This fruit is therefore part of the medical and culinary traditions of the indigenous tribes of Amazonia. This little fruit is an excellent source of antioxidants. Its antioxidant activity can be compared to black cherries or cranberries. Since it degrades quickly after harvest, it is most often found in the form of powder or frozen puree.
How to consume Superfoods ?
The ideal is to consume them raw, in their original state and thus enjoy all their benefits. Indeed, in modern and industrial manufacturing processes, a large part of the nutritional values are eliminated.
Without being able to consume them raw, the only way to consume them preserving their natural properties is to dry and crush them to obtain a powder.
The powder can then be used for smoothies, pancakes, cakes, cereal bowl, granola or sauces. Some superfoods are also available in food supplement capsules.
What is the impact of superfoods on the environment ?
When quinoa became a fashionable food, its value increased to such an extent that Bolivians who had been eating it and growing it for over 7000 years are now unable to afford it.
There is also the problem of monocultures, because when a product becomes very profitable, farmers (often from economically disadvantaged countries) tend to favor the crop that is most profitable to them. This poses a biodiversity problem that is not without having a major impact on soils, leading farmers to turn to chemical fertilizers to increase their productivity.
And there is also the issue of transportation, as you certainly know, the transportation of food is one of the main causes of greenhouse gases. And diets that depend on food produced on the other side of the world contribute strongly to this.
There are many foods that preferably eaten raw and fresh, have real benefits on our health.
The term superfood is very often the product of marketing, and foods such as Acai or Goji berries, for example, have local alternatives, less known, more effective and less expensive.
From an ecological point of view, it is preferable, as for any other food, to favor the local product of the season, and the least transformed possible.
And you ? Do you consume super foods? What is your favorite? Share with me your recipes in comments!