Have you ever heard of superfoods? These foods are particularly rich in nutrients, which are believed to contribute not only to weight loss, but also to improving daily well-being and even to preventing chronic and cardiovascular diseases.
These are foods that should not be missing in a proper diet because the consumption of superfood combined with a balanced diet and constant physical activity, would have a very positive impact on our health. In fact, some of these foods are already present on our tables as they are part of several dishes typical of the Mediterranean tradition, others we are less used to consume them, even if they have a delicious flavor.
What are Superfoods and Why Should They Be Eaten Every Day?
Superfoods are foods with multiple nutrients, which can help us to have a healthier life: some of these superfoods are rich in antioxidants and minerals, so they would have anticancer properties and would be able to fight cellular aging, while others would be able to prevent the onset of certain cardiovascular diseases because they help to improve blood pressure.
These foods are present in nature, we speak of berries, seeds, spices, shoots that would be able to produce beneficial effects to the body responding to both food and energy needs. However, the precaution is to consume them in their raw state, in order to enhance the assimilation of their nutrients.
Why “Super” Food
The term “super” is due to the fact that they are foods with a high nutritional density, rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, healthy acids and other substances that have beneficial effects on the body. Most of these foods are red or blue in colour (acai berries, acerola, pomegranate grains, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, currants, red grapes) and contain flavonoids that have antiviral, antioxidant and blood vessel toning effects. The super green foods (algae, avocado, kale, spinach, cauliflower) are rich in magnesium, potassium and mineral salts; among the yellow foods, foods such as papaya, pineapple, ginger, maracuja are rich in carotene and vitamins B, C, E that help digestion and purify the body.
Some of these foods are as if they have been rediscovered recently, at least by the food industry. These are really foods rich in important nutrients, but it is also true that they are not more so than many other foods in common use. The superfood label is an invention of marketing, dietitians and nutritionists in fact do not use the term; on the subject was also expressed by the European Union, which, to avoid a market without brakes in the hands of more aggressive marketing, since 2007 has banned the advertising of food products with the indication of super food, unless there is an authorization of EFSA, granted on the basis of scientific experiments.
What are Superfoods?
In the ranking of superfood we find many foods of tropical origin, but also commonly used in Italian cuisine:
- Goji berries – strengthen the immune system and are rich in zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that helps to counteract the degeneration of eye tissue that occurs with increasing age:
- Blueberries and raspberries – rich in vitamin C and fiber, help maintain a healthy digestive system, have antioxidant properties, anti-cancer and help to lose weight;
- Beans – source of iron and vitamin C – help maintain stable cholesterol levels;
- Broccoli – contain vitamin C, A, K, help prevent cancer and maintain healthy teeth, gums and bones;
- Nuts – contain unsaturated fats and, thanks to the properties of omega3, help the heart in its normal function, reduce cholesterol and have beneficial effects on mood;
- Eggs – contain protein and vitamin A, which is useful to the eye;
- Sweet potatoes – have vitamin A useful for bones, sight and the immune system in general;
- Spinach – rich in vitamins (A,B, C, E, K), fiber and also contain iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium;
- Yoghurt – contains protein, vitamin B12, phosphorus, zinc and potassium;
- Chia seeds – have a very high content of omega 3;
- Ginger – has anti-inflammatory and digestive properties;
- Avocado – rich in mono-unsaturated fats, but with a high calorie content;
- Beets – have a high concentration of nitrates;
- Coconut water – contains a lot of potassium which helps to absorb water, is considered a natural alternative to drinks for sportsmen.
If you’re a sportsman and want to keep fit before and after training, maybe you’ll need to know what to eat before the gym!