Eating Healthy is a Philosophy!
The people can be divided into two types. The first type lives to eat and the second type of people eats to live. The first type feeds not just their bodies but also their souls. The second type nourishes just their bodies. There is absolutely no point of conflict between these two types of people because both philosophies are correct. As human beings, it is natural and expected to execute even the most primal needs with flair and pomp. Hence, the first philosophy is correct. It is also necessary to ensure that what we eat doesn’t deteriorate our health and gradually kills us. Not everything that we can digest is healthy or gives us adequate nutrition. Therein the second philosophy rings true and the conversation of superfoods begin.
What are Superfoods? A Fad or a Worthy Addition to Our Diet?
So, what are superfoods? Superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that are highly beneficial to our bodies. These foods are mostly plant based but there are some meat and dairy options as well. There is no specific definition as such for superfoods. All types of fresh foods have some nutrient or the other in them but there exist some foods which are more nutritious than others and if consumed on a daily basis then they will give us long lasting health benefits. Superfoods contain a host of vitamins and minerals and many medicinal properties. Together they reduce the risk of many health complications thus giving us a long and healthy life.
Another characteristic that superfoods must have is that they should impart as little calories as possible. There high count of nutrients should not be associated with a lot of calories. There is an ongoing critique of superfoods that it is merely a marketing gimmick. It is alleged that the term and concept of superfoods have been invented to give a ‘brand status’ to nutritious food in order to benefit the coffers of businesses involved in the food industry. But whether that allegation is true or not is a whole new debate altogether, and there is no doubt of the fact that superfoods are indeed highly nutritious food. So you might very well give it a try.
What are the Benefits of Adding Superfoods in Your Diet
- Keep illnesses at bay
Superfoods reduce the risk of developing many diseases like cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, arthritis, cancer, immune deficiency and many other diseases. Obesity is the root cause of many diseases and a superfood diet prevents obesity. Superfoods are rich in fibre and low in calories. The first keeps you full for a longer time so that you don’t binge eat or overeat and the latter do not increase your calorie count. By preventing obesity, superfoods prevents a host of diseases.
- Promotes a healthy and long life
When diseases are kept at bay, you live a healthy life and your longevity increases. You get more time to enjoy this beautiful world.
- Improves physical appearance
Healthy eating makes you skin radiant and your hair soft and shiny. Both of these improve your physical appearance markedly. Signs of ageing like wrinkles, sagging skin and grey hair are also reduced as a result of having a healthy diet and you look much younger than your years. Besides, superfoods do not allow rolls of fat to develop on your body thus your physique looks attractive.
Superfoods can be tossed into a healthy salad. They can also be eaten as snacks like the nuts. This gives you an option prepare a healthy, filling dish in a jiffy and saves you much time and effort.
13 Superfoods for a Healthier Lifestyle
We have learnt about superfoods and its benefits and now it is time to learn about some popular superfoods, their nutritional values and content, and what health benefits they give. Follow this BP Guide to know about 13 such superfoods:
Avocado has become very popular in recent times after it became the favourite health food of the Millennials. It has become the key component in many dishes which is commendable as avocado contains a host of nutrients to benefit our health. It is a rich source of magnesium which plays an important role in counteracting magnesium deficiency, and regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Besides, it has fibre and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are healthy that looks after your heart health. If you replace saturated fats in your diet like butter with avocado spread then you reduce the risk of heart disease considerably.
Berries are the king of superfoods. Every edible berry on this planet is flush with a variety of nutrients that do our bodies a lot of good. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blueberries are packed with fibre and are low in calorie content. These two characteristics make berries ideal as breakfast food because they keep you full for a longer time without adding much to your calorie count. Berries are also steeped in antioxidants that reduces the risk of cancer by fighting cancer causing free radicals. Though all berries are rich in nutrients and provide innumerable benefits to our bodies, there is one that deserves a special mention, and that is the blueberry. Blueberries contain a high quantity of anthocyanin pigments that act as powerful antioxidants which lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, heart diseases and diabetes.
Pomegranates are high in both nutritional value and medicinal properties. They are a rich source of potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and a host of other vitamins and minerals. They protect the human body from obesity and type 2 diabetes. Regular consumption of pomegranates helps in improving digestion and bowel movements. It helps in regulating blood flow and reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and the Peruvian maca are rich in a variety of nutrients. They help in reducing the risk of cancer and prevents heart attacks and strokes. These vegetables are also rich in fibre that encourages smooth bowel movements, and helps in weight loss as fibre keeps you full for a longer time without adding calories. They also contain a compound called indole glucosinolates that maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in the stomach. This prevents digestive conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Mushrooms have been a popular superfood for centuries for its high nutrient content and medicinal properties. They are still used in traditional Chinese medicine to increase longevity of life and to cleanse the body of toxins. Mushrooms have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and it would be best if they feature in your daily diet. Mycotherapy or the use of mushrooms to treat illnesses is used as a complementary treatment of breast cancer. Though there is not enough clinical research for this yet the data that has been gathered so far is promising.
Nuts are the stars among superfoods. They are rich in protein, fibre and good fat. Flaxseeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds are a great of source of vitamins and minerals. Almonds are good for the heart while cashews are good for your cognition. Brazil nuts can help against cancer. Walnuts, the megastar among the nuts, contain antioxidants and can prevent certain types of cancer. Nuts also keep you full for a long time thus negating the necessity to binge. This helps in prevent obesity. More importantly, nuts is a healthier option among snacks. Most of our snacks are unhealthy, containing deep fried food thus even a light snacking takes a toll on our health. Replace those unhealthy snacks with nuts and you don’t have to worry about putting junk in your body.
Seafood is full of healthy fats and proteins. It has Omega-3 fatty acids which are highly beneficial to our bodies. The Omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack, helps in alleviating depression and aids in infant development. Unlike red meats and processed meats, seafood do not harm our bodies and should make it to our plates more often. In fact, it will be better if we treat seafood as our main source of protein.
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, grapefruits and limes are rich in Vitamin C and fibre. They are also low in calorie counts and high in water content. There sweet and sour taste also make them delicious to munch on or sip them as a juice. Besides providing us with much needed Vitamin C, fibre and hydration, they have been known to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
Nutritionists say the darker the colour of a vegetable, the more is its nutrient content. Dark, leafy green vegetables like kale, collard greens, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard and lettuce have vibrant colours because of the presence of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll keeps the plants healthy. These greens are rich in dietary fibre, folate, potassium, magnesium, ascorbic acid and Vitamin K. They are low in lipids. There is also plenty of B-carotene flavonoids and phytochemicals in them. Leafy green vegetables lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. High fibre and magnesium content along with low glycemic index make them beneficial to people who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Legumes and Beans
Beans and legumes are sources of plant based proteins and hence they are important superfoods for vegetarians. As for non-vegetarians, they are healthier sources of protein as unlike meat, beans and legumes are low in saturated fats which reduce the risk of rising cholesterol levels and consequent heart diseases. All types of beans and legumes are densely packed with nutrients. They are a source of low fat protein. The insoluble fibre in beans and legumes lowers cholesterol levels while the soluble fibre makes you feel full for a longer time thus discouraging you to do harmful binge eating. Besides, they contains loads of vitamins and trace minerals. Those tiny nuggets really packs a punch when it comes to providing health benefits to our bodies.
A dessert option under superfoods is always a good news for people who enjoy those after meal sweet delicacies. Dark chocolate, contrary to sweet milk chocolates and white chocolates, is healthy and may have health benefits for our body. Cacao present in dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants, may have a role in cancer prevention, and promote weight loss and heart health. Dark chocolates have also been known improve cognition, prevent memory loss and boost mood if consumed daily.
Root vegetables have been considered superfoods for long time. Potatoes, yams, beets, parsnips and carrots are highly nutritious and have sustained human life for centuries. Unlike most other superfoods, they are easy to grow and have a surprisingly long shelf life. One such root vegetable, the sweet potato, deserves special mention. A study in the nutrient content of root vegetables have shown that they can be helpful in preventing obesity, cancer, diabetes and a host of other health conditions. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Moreover, sweet potatoes are gluten free so they serve as the dietary alternative to people suffering from celiac disease.
Garlic might smell pungent but what they lack in the olfactory department, they make up for it in taste and nutritional value. It has sufficient quantity of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, selenium, fibre and manganese. Research has shown that garlic is effective in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also supports the functioning of our immune system. Moreover, garlic has sulphur compound in it and that may be helpful in preventing some types of cancer. It can also effectively combat common cold and flu. Studies have shown that garlic has antioxidants that combat free radicals which are responsible for ageing process. This way garlic fights many illnesses that are associated with ageing.
Supplement Your Diet with Superfoods.
With incredible and immensely vital nutritional benefits, why not give Superfoods a try? Containing anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidants as well as various vitamins, Superfoods are one of the best ways to getting healthier. Superfoods have minerals and elements such as magnesium helpful in controlling blood levels and pressure. They also help one steer clear of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Diabetes and Heart Diseases.