Superfoods – How to Get Them Into Your Diet
martial arts costamesa website is a popular marketing term for food touted to confer numerous health advantages resulting from an unusually high nutrient density relative to other foods. The term is typically not used by professionals, dietitians, nutritionists and scientists, yet most of the claims by its advocates are disputed by other experts. Despite the disagreement among the various groups, a general agreement exists that superfoods assist with weight control, cardiovascular health, anti-aging, enhanced mental functioning and many other areas.
Generally speaking, there are two broad categories in which foods fall into the superfood category. Organic foods are those grown with insecticides, herbicides, antibiotics and other chemicals whereas non-organic foods are those grown with no chemical assistance whatsoever. So, they are healthier than conventional produce but may cost more. Superfoods that are organic may contain higher levels of vitamins and nutrients than do conventionally grown produce, but the difference is not enough to make them superior.
One segment of the food world has been enthusiastic about the supposed health benefits of foods labeled as “superfoods.” This includes members of the media that often refer to these foods as “the new diet.” As evidence of this, one only needs to turn to television shows like “The Biggest Loser” and “The Doctors” to see examples of the appeal of certain foods to today’s fitness obsessed public. One segment of this group even markets itself as the practitioner of the new superfood trend. (No word on whether it’s a real practice.)
Another use of the term superfood is when people speak of foods that are healthier than traditional foods because of the extra nutrient-rich foods that they contain. The superfood label is often used in conjunction with the phrase “complementary,” which is defined as a food containing a minimum number of essential nutrients required for optimal health. For example, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and other nutrient-rich foods are all essential to long-term health and disease prevention. By extension, any food item that contains a minimum number of such nutrients is a complementary food.
While whole grains and other nutrition-rich foods may provide some correlation to lower rates of diabetes, no direct relationship can be established. Whether or not eating a superfood causes a lower risk of developing diabetes is more of a question of personal choice and is unlikely to be associated with a traditional, plant-based diet. However, it is interesting to note that studies have found links between consumption of certain types of nuts and certain types of legumes and increased rates of diabetes.
Perhaps the most common examples of a superfood is blueberries. Blueberries have long been known for their powerful antioxidant properties and are now recognized as a highly beneficial addition to a healthy diet. The antioxidant anthocyanins (which are the “purple” pigment in the berry) are considered to be one of nature’s richest source of vitamin C. Anthocyanins have a host of health benefits including preventing cancer, supporting wound healing, inhibiting inflammation, improving cardiovascular health, and strengthening the immune system. In fact, several recent studies have linked superfoods to an increased risk of colon cancer.
But what about other superfoods? Have you ever tried quinoa or amaranth flour? Or maybe you’re a big fan of the nutritional powerhouse that is pinto beans? Both these foods make up an important part of a comprehensive healthy diet and offer their own range of health benefits. If you are looking for a convenient way to incorporate these superfoods into your diet, there are several good choices.
Quinoa and amaranth flour are both low in saturated fat and high in dietary fiber. This makes quinoa and amaranth a superb complement to a wide range of favorite quinoa recipes, such as wraps, salads, pasta dishes, or other foods that need to have a lot of fiber and protein. Meanwhile, blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients. Blueberries are also a great addition to any natural diet, as it contains plenty of healthful nutrients that help promote strong bones and muscles, while reducing the risk of heart disease.