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FOOD & RECIPES / Healthy Recipes

The benefits of superfoods

Superfoods 101

From SheKnows Australia
Looking to give your daily diet a boost? Do your body a favour and throw these nutritional superstars in your shopping trolley to reap the benefits of nature's "superfoods!"

Superfoods -- Berries

The term "superfoods" popped up in the '80s and refers to certain foods that offer superior nutritional benefits. They're essentially packed with a higher than average concentration of nutrients -- vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, etc -- and are believed to bring many amazing health advantages, from minimising the signs of ageing to improving digestive health to helping fight off cancer. So, put simply, they're extra healthy -- your body loves them and they love your body!

Some benefits of superfoods

Different superfoods obviously bring different benefits, but here are a few advantages your body can look forward to if you enjoy a balanced diet rich in superfoods.

Superfoods are known to:

  • Aid digestion
  • Fight cancer
  • Fight heart disease
  • Protect organs from toxins
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Reduce inflammation in the body

Our favourite superfoods

Various sources advocate different superfoods, but here's our list of favourites that aren't only delicious but are also very good for you. While many food product marketers are jumping on the superfood bandwagon, stay focused on selecting unprocessed, natural foods for maximum benefits. And of course it's important to include a broad range of food types in your diet -- they work better together, so include a variety of fresh fruits, veggies and wholegrains for a balanced diet and optimal health.

Oily fish: Fish such as sardines and salmon are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They're said to reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation in the body and boost your mood. Wild salmon in particular is rich in vitamin D and selenium, which will benefit your hair, skin, nails and bones -- and it tastes great too!

Berries: Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries are particularly high in antioxidants. Blueberries, in particular, are praised for containing the antioxidant ellagic acid, which some say can slow the growth of certain cancerous tumours. They also contain polyphenolic compounds, which are believed to help protect your memory and cognitive functioning.

Broccoli: This veggie is high in antioxidants and is a great source of fibre, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Broccoli lovers say it can help protect cells from free radical damage, benefit your reproductive and immune systems, build strong bones and even help prevent some cancers, such as lung, colon, rectum and stomach.

Tomatoes: These salad stars are high in lycopene, an antioxidant carotenoid that fights free radical damage. Tomatoes are also believed to help reduce your risk of developing certain chronic diseases.

Linseeds: These little guys are good for your bowel health, help keep you regular and offer omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and soluble fibre. They can also potentially reduce cholesterol.

Soy: Similar to linseed, soy is believed to help lower blood cholesterol levels. It's rich in protein and fibre and can help build strong bones, as well as lower the risk of heart attacks and blood clots.

Ginger: Ginger boosts our immune systems and helps fight infection, plus it's believed to help protect against cancer.

Natural yoghurt: It's important to choose your product carefully here, but a quality natural yoghurt is generally full of good bacteria, calcium, potassium, riboflavin, protein, vitamin B12, magnesium and phosphate (what a mouthful!). The good bacteria, or probiotics, helps boost digestive health and improves the immune system to help your body fight off infections.

Tea: Black and green tea are both high in antioxidants and can help protect your heart and boost your mood. What a great excuse to turn on the kettle!

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