Superfood has pretty much been the word of the decade, while some people believe it is just a marketing term used to describe anything natural, in actuality there has been some definitions which justify why a food may in fact be super.
A superfood is anything that is densely packed with large doses of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols. It is often a natural ingredient and can take the form of a fruit, vegetable, nut, seed etc. These substances shield our bodies from cell damage, prevent diseases and regulate glucose levels therefore garnering the status of being a superfood. Lets have a look at a few superfoods which you may not have made your list before but are surely ones to swear by now!
Cinnamon is best known for its antioxidant properties, outranking 26 other spices on the OTAC scale. The type of antioxidant in cinnamon called polyphenols, targets oxidative stress in the body which helps to fight disease as one ages. Given its naturally sweet taste, incorporating cinnamon to your everyday diet is an absolute gift. Top your fruit, yogurt, tea, bread with a dash of cinnamon to add a bit of zest to the meal as well as lowering the glycemic load of your meal, making you full for longer.
Didn’t expect to see chocolate on a superfood list, well think again! Raw organic cacao (that hasn’t been processed and loaded with GMOs), has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Cacao is also one of the best sources of magnesium which is what helps turn glucose into energy, so it can help your brain to receive signals faster enabling clarity and focus. If you’re stuck on ideas on how to incorporate cacao into your diet, think adding a spoonful to your baking, to your hot drinks or simply as a topping to fruit and yoghurt balls. Minimise the bitter taste by adding some coconut sugar, honey or even stevia.
Maca is a root that belongs to the radish family however is most commonly available in powder form. Its benefits include a positive effect on hormone balance, energy levels (both physical and mental) and a health booster. After consuming maca powder people feel more energetic and alive which is thought to be due to its ability to restore proper hormone balance and elevate good endorphins. Its ability to stabilise blood sugar levels and therefore decrease energy spikes and dips often can ensure you have enough energy throughout the day making it easier for you to focus and be productive.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Not extremely popular among the mainstream health population, Apple Cider Vinegar (aka ACV), is a natural cleanser for your body due to its high probiotic content, natural acidity and alkalinising ability. Digesting hydrochloric acid (which is packed in ACV) will allow your stomach to stimulate the proper digestion of food, this will relief your digestion from acid reflux and minimise inflammation of your skin and glucose levels. Making ACV a great way to achieve healthy skin. Add ACV to your daily routine as a salad dressing, adding a few tablespoons to your water/juices/smoothies or simply as a topical alternative to help kill bacteria from your skin.
Being part of a a chenopod subfamily (where spinach and quinoa fit in), beets have all the properties that you need to superfy any food. They contain Vitamins A, B and C which protect our immune system, manufacture red blood cells and produce collagen. They are packed with potassium which is what keeps your organs running efficiently and fibre to help with digestion. Differentiating itself from other superfoods, beets also have high concentration of betaine, which is an amino acid that forms chemicals in our brains which keep our body’s natural antidepressants in check. In addition to this betaine is known to reduce cancer cells multiplying.
Turmeric itself isn’t a superfood but its main active ingredient, curcumin, is what allows it to wear this label. Turmeric stems a long list of benefits from aiding those with arthritis to reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons. Again the inflammatory properties of this spice can improve indigestion, ageing, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It does this by inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels in tumours. Easily add it to hummus or to your hot drinks to reap the benefits.