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What Is A Superfood?

Posted on: Apr 3rd, 2017 by The Physio Movement | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

The word superfood has become a marketing term used to describe many foods with heightened nutritional benefits, although there are some medical discussions about the legitimacy of these claims.  Whether you call it a ‘superfood’ or something else, it refers to many nutrient-rich foods considered beneficial for health and well-being. These foods are encouraged as a part of a nutritious diet. Some superfoods may include:

Quinoa:

Quinoa contains more protein than other cereal grains and is considered a complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids we need for tissue development. Quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc, and lower in sodium compared with wheat, barley and corn. This gluten-free grain is also low in saturated fat.

Kiwi Fruit:

Kiwi is a nutritionally dense fruit, full of antioxidants. Kiwis are also a good source of potassium, fiber, and contain good amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E.

Salmon:

Salmon has an excellent omega-3 fatty acid content, which protect against certain heart diseases. Salmon is also very low in calories, low in saturated fat, a good source of iron and full of protein.

Broccoli:

It’s a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which helps with building strong bones. Broccoli has plenty of fiber and therefore gives the sensation of being ‘full’ which can assist in weight control.

Berries:

Berries are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. Add them to natural Greek yoghurt for a healthy breakfast or snack.

Turmeric:

Turmeric is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and can help ease those aches and pains. Research is currently investigating the use of turmeric with arthritic conditions with some early success.

Beans:

Beans are a great source of vegetarian protein and fiber, which can help control the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal, thus helping with mood and stress levels. Beans are low in fat, a good source of magnesium and potassium. The nutrients found in beans can help to lower blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.

Pistachio nuts:

Most nuts in general offer nutritious amounts of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat, making them one of nature’s perfect foods. Pistachios are especially rich in phytosterols and soluble fiber — two natural plant compounds that help control cholesterol levels. Pistachios are commonly known for being the least caloric of the nut family.

Spinach:

Spinach is filled with antioxidants, including vitamin C and beta-carotene. One handful of fresh spinach leaves also provides almost double the daily requirement for vitamin K, which plays an important role in cardiovascular and bone health. Spinach is an excellent vegetarian source of iron. Popeye was on the right track with this superfood.

Chia:

Chia is an edible seed that is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is also rich in antioxidants, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

Kelp:

Kelp is a great source of iodine, which helps to improve thyroid function, thus maintaining the health of our metabolism and immune system. Kelp has strong anti-inflammatory properties with the molecule fucoidan being present. Kelp is a good source of iron, which is an essential mineral responsible for supplying our blood cells with oxygen. The anti-cancer benefits of kelp are also well documented.

Cocoa:

Cocoa has been found to improve antioxidant status, reduce inflammation and correlate with reduced heart disease risk. Benefits of raw cocoa include:

  • 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries
  • Highest plant based source of iron
  • High in magnesium for a healthy heart and brain
  • More calcium than cow’s milk
  • Natural mood elevator ad anti-depressants

Spirulina:

Spirulina is a photosynthetic and multicellular edible microbe. It is the nature’s richest and most complete source of nutrition. Spirulina has a unique blend of nutrients that no single source can offer; B-complex vitamins, minerals, proteins, gamma-linolenic acid and the super anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamin E.

Maca:

Maca is made of many important components including amino acids, glucosinolates, phytosterols, and alkaloids. Maca is a herb that helps with increasing energy, reducing stress, and balancing hormones.

Acai:

Acai contains a remarkable concentration of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. It’s considered one of nature’s best offerings to combat premature aging thanks to its high monounsaturated oleic acid content. Oleic acid helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate cell membranes.

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