What is a superfood?
It seems like there's a new superfood on the market every week. Because of this, we are left wondering what exactly makes a food “super” and how can we add these foods to our diet to optimise our health?
A superfood is a nutrient-dense food considered to be especially beneficial to our overall health. While no single food can do it all, superfoods stand out as super-charged, super-healthy foods because of what they can do for our bodies.
Each superfood has its own nutritional properties but are all generally associated with:
- Heart health
- A strong immune system
- Cancer prevention
- Reduced inflammation
- Lower cholesterol
The following is a list of 7 of the best superfoods you can add to your diet.
Turmeric is a bright, aromatic root belonging to the ginger family of root herbs. Turmeric can be consumed in its fresh or powdered form. Additionally, it is commonly used in skin care products due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Some nutritional aspects of 100g of turmeric include 340% of the daily recommended intake of manganese and 517% percent of iron. Turmeric is also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
In addition to these nutrients, turmeric contains the active compound curcumin, which is thought to contribute to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and potentially help to alleviate a number of health conditions.
There are a number of ways turmeric can be added to your diet. Whether it’s used as an extra seasoning to your favourite meals, added to smoothies, or made into this popular golden milk recipe, turmeric can be a great addition to your diet.
Our recommendation: Fushi Organic Turmeric Juice
What is spirulina? Spirulina is a blue-green algae hailed as a true superfood due to its high concentration of vitamins such as vitamins A, C, E, and B vitamins and minerals including calcium, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Spirulina is also a great source of plant-based protein containing 60% protein content.
Spirulina is also a powerful antioxidant containing phycocyanin - its main active component. Phycocyanin can fight free radicals that damage cells causing illness and aging, providing exceptional antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Additionally, studies indicate that spirulina can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising “good” HDL cholesterol and can also help lower blood pressure - the main driver of serious diseases including heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease.
With so many health benefits, it's no wonder this superfood is so highly recommended. You can add this food to your smoothies, or simply add it to a glass of water to super-charge your diet.
Our recommendation: Kiki Health Organic Spirulina
Thanks to social media, Matcha green tea has seen a rise in popularity and has been praised for its numerous health benefits.
A common question is whether there is a difference between matcha green tea and regular green tea and the answer is yes! The main difference between these two teas is their growth and extraction processes. Matcha green tea is grown under natural bamboo shade forcing a higher production of chlorophyll. When the leaves are harvested, they are steamed, and stone-ground, producing a fine powder unlike green tea, where the leaves are boiled and thrown out.
Like the foods listed above, Matcha is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties helping to support the immune system. Additionally, studies have shown that Matcha helps lower blood pressure and that drinking just one cup of tea a day is associated with a 10% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
Compared to other teas, Matcha green tea has a lower caffeine level but is still higher than green tea. Matcha is a great alternative to coffee in the mornings as well, providing you with a burst of energy while helping to reduce stress and anxiety
Our recommendation: Kiki Health Premium Ceremonial Matcha Powder
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are one of the oldest cultivated plants in existence and a staple in diets around the world. This legume is full of nutrients offering a range of health benefits.
Chickpeas are found to help increase satiety, boost digestion, keep blood sugars level, and protect against diseases among many other benefits. This powerhouse of a food is packed with nutrients such as folate, manganese, iron, and copper, and is a good source of calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, and selenium. If that still hasn’t sold you on this nutrient-dense superfood, chickpeas are also a great source of vegan protein.
So the next time you're stumped on what to make for dinner, try making yourself a filling chickpea salad and reap the benefits this food has to offer.
Our recommendation: Ancient + Brave Radiant Collagyn for Beauty
Known for its antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral properties - garlic is the most widely used medicinal plant in history. Garlic contains allicin, a strong antibiotic that is released when cloves are crushed or chewed. It may help the body resist or destroy viruses and other microorganisms by boosting the immune system.
Garlic supplements are known to boost the immune system, helping to reduce the severity of illnesses like the flu or common cold. A study found that garlic helped reduce the average length of cold symptoms by 70%.
Additionally, a single clove of raw garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese while also containing trace amounts of other nutrients such as selenium and fibre.
While garlic is an easy and delicious addition to your diet, if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications, talk with your doctor before increasing your garlic intake.
Our recommendation: The Naked Pharmacy Black Garlic
Maca is a root vegetable native to the Andes and cultivated by Peruvians for thousands of years. The harsh conditions in which it grows contribute to the high concentration of vitamins and minerals.
Maca is a great source of calcium and magnesium and contains varying amounts of zinc, iron, silica, phosphorus, and manganese. This tuber is one of the few non-animal sources of B-12 and is rich in other B vitamins, vitamin C and E, is high in fibre, and contains beneficial fatty acids.
Along with its use for its medicinal purposes, maca may also be beneficial for improving energy, fertility, libido, and memory. Promising research suggests that taking concentrated maca supplements may benefit those with low libido and may also help improve sperm concentration. Additionally, maca may improve skin health by speeding up wound healing and protecting against UV damage.
Studies show that maca is generally safe and that its use is not associated with adverse side effects; however, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should speak with their healthcare team before taking maca.
Our recommendation: Organic Maca & MCT Oil
Low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants, berries may be one of the most delicious and healthiest foods you can eat.
Berries are high in antioxidants like anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol which help to protect your cells and reduce the risk of disease. Antioxidant ellagic acid may help decrease signs of skin aging related to sun exposure. Studies suggest that berries may also protect your cells from high blood sugar and help increase insulin sensitivity. This was shown to occur in both healthy people and those with insulin resistance.
Additionally, berries are high in fibre and provide many nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K1, manganese, copper, and folate. Berries also have high anti-inflammatory properties while also lowering cholesterol levels, helping to decrease the risk of heart disease.
Berries are highly nutritious, provide many health benefits, and are delicious. You can enjoy berries on their own or add them to your favourite smoothies and salads.
Our recommendation: Super U Berry Beauty
Becoming our healthiest selves through food and nutrition is a goal many of us have. Rather than focusing on the latest food trends, you can achieve good health by incorporating a variety of nutritious food - including supergreens and superfood blends - into your everyday diet.
By including some, or all, of the foods in this list as part of a balanced diet, you can improve your health in a satisfying way and prevent a variety of chronic diseases.