What’s All The Buzz About Superfoods?
Superfood is a term applied to nutritionally dense foods that may have medicinal benefits. These foods have a high content of nutrients relative to the calories they contain. This is the opposite of many of the foods that make up the Standard American Diet, which contains many calorie dense foods that lack substantial nutritional value. Superfoods may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, boost energy and improve mood.
One category of food that fits the Superfood bill is berries. They are rich in antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory and protect the health of the eyes, brain, heart & liver.
Blueberries, bilberries and huckleberries contain nutrients that promote eye health, are rich in potassium which is helpful for muscle and nerve function, reduce cardiovascular inflammation and helps to lower blood pressure. They also aid blood sugar levels and help counteract the effects of diabetes.
Cranberries also contain powerful antioxidants and are known for maintaining a healthy urinary tract. They also help prevent dental plaque and have anticancer properties.
Goji Berries (also known as lycium and wolfberries) contains 15% protein, 21 essential and trace minerals, 18 amino acids, and has a high vitamin C content. It is known to protect the liver from environmental toxins and is supportive to for liver, kidney and eyes.
The fruit of grapes are alkalizing and help remove acid waste from the body while grape seeds contain high amounts of antioxidants.
Pomegranates help prevent oxidation of cholesterol, may help prevent blood platelet aggregation, improve oxygen uptake in the heart muscle, and may prevent or inhibit the growth of both prostate & breast cancer.
Acai Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, are high in B vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids and also contains the EFA oleic acid (omega-9).
Remember the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Apples have an alkalizing effect that can be beneficial for a congested and overworked liver. They are also helpful for kidney pain, migraines and skin eruptions, have fever reducing properties and support the gall bladder and digestion of fats.
Mangosteen is high in antioxidant compounds, is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal. It may also help block histamines, can inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and has cancer-inhibiting compounds.
Dark green leafy vegetables are also Superfoods, including kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, barley grass and wheat grass. These foods are rich in chlorophyll, which is deodorizing, antioxidant, blood building and oxygenating. Greens are a great source of magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and other minerals.
Cruciferous vegetables, which come from the mustard family have pungent taste that comes from sulfur compounds, which aid the immune system and support liver detoxification. They also tend to be high in beta-carotene, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K and many other nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, turnips and turnip greens, radishes, and watercress.
Another group of foods that contain sulfur compounds are alliums. These also help to lower blood pressure and balance cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, heart disease and stroke. These foods include garlic, onion, leek, chive, scallions, and shallots.
Other Superfood include tomatoes, hot peppers, Shiitake, Maitake, and Reshi mushrooms, yams, squashes, avocado, nuts & seeds, green tea and dark chocolate.
Rachel Anzalone is a Naturopath and Herbalist at Holistic Lakewood. http://HolisticLakewood.com