Rise of the Superfoods

05/10/2017

Superfoods have had a huge impact over the last few years, as people look for efficient and effective ways to boost the quality of their diet and improve their overall health. While it's always important to watch your entire food intake and make adjustments where necessary, everyone can benefit from adding certain nutrient-rich foods to their existing diet. Superfoods are often measured according to their antioxidant content, molecules that inhibit oxidation and reduce free radicals in the body. While some so-called superfoods, such as kale, have a healthy measure of antioxidants, the foods listed below have levels that are through the roof.

The Middle Eastern spice sumac is an amazing example of a superfood, with this tasty natural salt substitute working well in salads, rice dishes, or anything that needs a little lemony zest. Royal jelly is another superfood that often flies under the radar, produced by honeybees to feed their Queen and help her live 40 times longer than the workers. Royal jelly contains a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and has been shown to improve bone development, skin complexion, and overall immune system response. While clinical trials have focused mainly on royal jelly’s ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, it has also been used traditionally to treat insomnia, stomach ulcers, kidney disease, bronchial asthma, and liver disease.

Hemp has become the superfood of 2017, with this plant-based food a rich source of omegas, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Not only do hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food group, they are the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right amounts to meet our nutritional needs. Hemp food products were recently approved for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand. Cocoa is another food group with super amounts of minerals and antioxidants, with raw cacao powder derived from unroasted beans an even better way to preserve the nutritional value of this amazing plant.

When it comes to superfoods, there are more choices available to consumers than ever before. Things like acai berries and chia seeds are available from most modern supermarkets, with more exotic foods such as milk thistle and ubiquinol increasingly available from health food stores and online retailers. When shopping for superfoods, it's important to check ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) levels to measure total antioxidant capacity, and equally important to buy foods that taste yummy and fit with your existing diet so they will actually be used.

 

Image source:  marilyn barbone/Shutterstock