While most natural, plant-based foods are good for your overall well being, superfoods are those that are extra rich in nutrients.
Each superfood has different benefits
challenged the use of the term "superfoods," there's no denying that some foods have more health benefits than others and I am so proud to be able to say that during our cooking workshops, we use many of these awesome *SUPERFOODS on an ongoing and regular basis as part of our ‘Home.MADE’ sustainable menus.
Turmeric is a vibrant, yellow spice that has been used for thousands of years. It is native to South Asia and has been used as coloring and flavor in Indian curries. Studies have found that this spice is not just a great addition to dishes, but also bursting with health benefits.
Curcumin, a substance found in turmeric, is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It’s been proven to help reduce DNA damage in cancer patients. Turmeric also has a positive effect on the brain's function and is linked to the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and depression.
Almonds are one of the most popular nuts and full of B and E vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients They are also a major source of healthy fats that can lower cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
The magnesium content in almonds can also help lower blood pressure levels, while vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and has been linked to lower chances of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and several types of cancer.
Blueberries contain anthocyanin, a compound responsible for the berry's color and health benefits. They also contain 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, which your skin relies on to keep healthy. Regular consumption of blueberries can improve the texture of your skin and inhibit damage from the sun and pollution.
Blueberries are linked to decreased rates of colon, pancreatic, prostate and lung cancers. These tiny powerhouses are filled with phytonutrients and vitamins A and C. These compounds are antioxidants that have the ability to prevent the growth of tumors and reduce inflammation in the body.
Ginger is one of the healthiest spices in the world and is often used in traditional medicines. It’s known to help ease symptoms of nausea caused by travel sickness, pregnancy, and cancer treatments, and it’s great for digestion. Consuming a cup of ginger tea after a big meal can ease the emptying of the stomach.
Ginger is often used as a treatment for colds and flu. It’s also a diaphoretic and warms the body up from the inside as well as stimulating the production of sweat. Regular consumption also has the ability to reduce muscle pain.
This leafy green vegetable is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is rich in vitamin K, which helps calcium absorption and reduces calcium lost through urine, leading to stronger bones. People with low vitamin K levels are more susceptible to bone fracture.
Kale also has high levels of beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for skin and hair growth because it keeps them moisturized. It’s also needed for immune function, healthy eyes, and reproductive function.
Mushrooms have long been used in traditional medicines, and their health benefits explain why. The high antioxidant content in mushrooms is thought to help prevent diseases such as lung, breast and prostate cancer. This may be because mushrooms contain vitamin D, which may reduce the growth rates of some cancers.
Mushrooms are great for heart health because they contain fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Potassium and vitamin C have the ability to regulate blood pressure, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels. Shiitake mushrooms are an especially good source of fiber.
Spinach is an iron- and magnesium-rich food. These two minerals are needed for energy metabolism and muscle and nerve function. The antioxidants in spinach help fight free radicals that can cause oxidative stress, which in turn heightens the risk of diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Spinach is excellent for you because it is full of zeaxanthin and lutein, which are carotenoids. They work together to inhibit macular degeneration and cataracts, the leading causes of blindness. Carotenoids are also believed to reverse some existing damage in the eyes.
Salmon is a fatty fish, and apart from being tasty, it's also full of nutrients. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are an 'essential fat' and must be consumed through diet, as your body doesn't have the ability to make it. The health benefits include lowering blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and making sure the cells lining your arteries are kept healthy.
Salmon is also rich in protein, which is an essential nutrient for your body. Protein helps your body mend after being injured, protects the health of your bones and sustains muscle mass when you lose weight or age.
Seaweed is, perhaps surprisingly, full of nutritious value. It ranges in color and shape and is very versatile. It contains iodine and tyrosine, which are essential for a healthy thyroid function. Iodine and tyrosine help the thyroid release hormones that help your body grow, produce energy and repair damaged cells.
Seaweed can help with weight loss since it contains large amounts of fiber. As well as not having any calories, fiber makes you feel longer, delaying the feeling of hunger. Studies in animals have shown seaweed to reduce body fat, and this may be true for humans as well.
These creamy fruits aren't just great on toast. They're also packed with antioxidants that are needed for healthy eyes. Studies have shown that consumption of avocados over a long period of time can minimize the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which is frequent in older people.
Anyone wanting to lose weight should consume avocados. Don't let the fact that they are full of healthy fats deter you — these fruits actually help weight loss. They are high in fiber and low in carbs, which keeps you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer, eliminating the desire to snack between meals.
Eggs contain choline, which is an important nutrient that most people lack. Choline is responsible for building cell membranes and generating signaling molecules in the brain. Eggs are also high in proteins, which are needed to build muscle and optimize bone health. A single egg contains roughly six grams of protein.
You may also have heard that eggs are high in cholesterol. While this is true, it is not necessarily a bad thing. HDL cholesterol is known as the 'good' cholesterol and lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. Eating eggs can actually raise the levels of HDL cholesterol.
Throughout ancient history, garlic was commonly used for its medicinal benefits. It is a well-known antibiotic and can combat the common cold and flu. Studies have found that daily garlic supplements reduce the length and number of colds by more than half compared to a placebo.
Additionally, garlic can also reduce blood pressure, and studies have suggested that a 600 to 1,500 mg dose of garlic extract may be equally as effective as the drug Atenolol at lowering blood pressure. Garlic also prevents Alzheimer's disease and dementia due to its high antioxidant content. This prevents free radicals that contribute to the aging process.
Quinoa is a highly nutritious gluten-free grain. It contains all nine amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. This makes quinoa a great plant-based protein option for vegans and vegetarians alike. It also has a low glycemic index, which means it’s good for blood sugar control.
This ancient grain contains the plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol. These molecules have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects. Quinoa also contains high levels of essential minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc, which most people don't get enough of in their diet.
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks, and its compounds can improve brain function. Like coffee, it contains caffeine, but the difference is that it has just enough to generate a response without adverse effects. Caffeine enhances brain function by improving reaction time and memory. Green tea also contains L-theanine, which increases dopamine, the chemical responsible for lifting your mood.
Green tea is excellent for weight loss and is often used in fat burning products as it increases the metabolic rate. The caffeine content also improves physical performance since it mobilizes fatty acids and makes them available to use as energy.
Oats are a gluten-free whole grain and are incredibly nutritious. They contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which can reduce cholesterol, blood sugar levels and insulin responsiveness, and it can increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Since it forms a thick solution in the stomach, it helps maintain a feeling of fullness for longer.
Studies have found that introducing oats into a child's diet in the early stages of their life may greatly reduce the risk of childhood asthma. Oats are also a great remedy for relieving constipation, as oat-bran is very rich in fiber.
Olive oil, especially virgin olive oil, is high in oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat that helps reduce inflammation and in turn the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and obesity. Olive oil is also packed with antioxidants such as oleocanthal, which has similar effects to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory painkiller.
Regular consumption of olive oil can help reduce pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. When combined with fish oil — which is full of omega-3 fatty acids — the effects are even better and have been shown to improve grip strength and decrease joint pain.
Broccoli is excellent for a healthy bowel function as it is full of fiber and antioxidants. Having healthy bacteria in your colon is essential for your digestion, and consuming broccoli helps to maintain bowel regularity. The high vitamin C content in this vegetable also contributes to a healthy immune system.
Some of the nutrients in broccoli, such as vitamin C, calcium and kaempferol can help prevent dental disease. Additionally, sulforaphane can reduce the risk of oral cancers. The calcium and vitamin K in broccoli help maintain strong, healthy bones.
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks and has been found to have numerous health benefits. The caffeine content in coffee can significantly increase energy levels and help you feel less tired. This simultaneously improves brain function, such as memory, mood and reaction times. Coffee also increases your metabolic rate, which is linked to fat burning and weight loss.