What Is A Superfood?

Courtesy of Michael Clarks-Header-WEBBarnett of Clarks Nutriton  

Superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being, increasing health and vitality,” according to the Oxford Dictionary. With this definition it might be possible that a lot of foods are Superfoods. The reason for the ‘super’ foods label is because of the benefits some foods provided                                                                              to health.

For example, cod liver oil is considered to be a super food. During the mid-1900’s cod liver oil was used to support immunity, joint, and cardiovascular disorders.  Cod liver oil is abundant in vitamins A & D and high in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid.   Cod liver oil is an example of a nutrient rich food that might provide benefits for individuals not consuming these nutrients, ultimately filling a gap in diet.

  • Vitamin A is essential for cell and bone growth, and eye function. According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), vitamin A has proven to be beneficial in the prevention of infectious diseases such as Measles in developing countries.
  • Vitamin D also plays a significant role in supporting healthy immune function.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids not only help regulate inflammation and aid in cardiovascular health, they also play a significant role in maintaining proper brain function, as well as several other critical functions in the human body.

One of the more popular Superfoods currently is “greens.” Green powders come in all varieties, but are mainly comprised of fruit and vegetable extracts.  Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients including vitamins and minerals.  More importantly, fruits and vegetables have an array of color. Often times color is attributed to phytonutrients, which are pigments that provide health benefits as well.  An example of a phytonutrient can be seen in lycopene.

Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes and watermelon red. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant in the skin and aids in protecting against breast and prostate cancers.  Because of its lycopene dense nature, tomatoes can be considered a Superfood. Most fruits and vegetables have great protective factors for your health.

Having a diet rich in whole foods is the best approach to getting today’s Superfoods. Whole foods include fruits and vegetables (not pealed or skinned), whole unrefined grains, nuts, seeds, beans-legumes, lean grass fed beef, free range hen eggs, chicken, and fish.

Try to avoid processed foods and simple refined sugars and high saturated fat diets. Those individuals with plant based diets rich in Superfoods tend to be less susceptible to disease.  So you may consider making plant based diets the focus.

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