What are superfoods, and do they really exist? Well, I’m here to answer that question.
The vast majority of superfoods are plant-based; however, fish and some dairy products fall into the superfood category.
These superfoods are considered to be nutritionally dense and jam-packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds, such as antioxidants.
Superfoods; Myth or Misnomer
According to the American Heart Association, the actual guidelines and regulations regarding what a superfood actually does not exist. In other words, superfoods are not put into their own special or unique category at this point in time.(1)
What’s actually inside superfoods that lead scientists and researchers to refer to them as “superfoods”? Well, these superfoods do contain high levels of essential nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are deemed beneficial to overall health and well-being.
These superfoods are also rich sources of beneficial fats and phytonutrients that can help prevent or mitigate diseases such as diabetes and digestive problems.
Phytochemicals are the compounds found in plants that give them their beautiful, vibrant rainbow colors. They are thought to be powerful allies in eradicating harmful free radicals from the body.
Brief History On The Term Superfood
How long ago did the term “superfood” originate, and who came up with the term? Interestingly enough, the term did not derive from a person qualified in nutrition or health sciences; it actually came during World War I.
An organization named the United Fruit Company actually came up with the term after launching an ambitious promotional campaign to advertise their import of bananas. They distributed informational pamphlets that gave facts about the nutritional benefits of bananas and how easy they were to incorporate into the daily diet.
They sprouted other attributes such as being easily digestible, readily available, can be eaten cooked or not, and even went as far to market the skin as “being sealed in a nature germ-proof package.”
Two Powerful Superfoods You Might Not Know About
Royal Jelly is a highly nutritional food due mainly to the large number of proteins it contains. The jelly itself is produced by young bees and is creamy in texture with a slightly bitter taste.
Contained within Royal Jelly are also twenty-nine amino acids, the most plentiful being aspartic acid. The sugar content comprises 90% glucose and fructose, with the remaining 10% being various glycosides.
Royal Jelly also contains numerous fatty acids, which are critical in acting as a natural antimicrobial agent. Another essential ingredient found in Royal Jelly is the peptides that give the jelly its antibacterial properties.
Royal Jelly appears to contribute to muscle and skeletal tissue strengthening due to its high amino acid count. The presence of high amounts of vitamin B, which can act as a neurotransmitter, has been connected to improving neurological and metabolic disorders.
Finally, vitamin B1, along with tryptophan and phosphorus found in Royal Jelly, has been shown to increase the level of red blood cells and slow anemia, which is often observed in elderly populations.
Kefir is a type of fermented milk that is very refreshing and easy to digest. The fermentation process which produces kefir involves alcoholic and lactic microorganisms.
A Russian study successfully proved the beneficial effects of drinking kefir regarding its aggressive action against microorganisms that enter the body through the digestive tract.
Kefir has an extremely high concentration of amino acids and vitamin B complex, giving the drink potent power in proteins’ hydrolysis. One unique characteristic of kefir is the abundant amount of Co2 it contains, which contributes to making a gel that lines the digestive tracts so nutrients are better absorbed.
It provides substantial amounts of beneficial yeast and bacteria that filter out the lactose, making it an ideal drink for lactose intolerant ones. The vitamins, minerals, and proteins found in kefir have a very high biological value, even higher than yogurt.
Research has also shown that consuming kefir regularly helps treat anemia, positively affects the digestive tract, helps prevent hypertension, and shows potential anti-cancer effects.
With high levels of calcium and magnesium, kefir helps with new cells’ growth and helps maintain overall body health.
Does The Term Superfoods Have Negative Connotations
One of the downsides when it comes to the term superfoods is that it can give people a false sense of security.
Making sure that you eat a well-balanced diet gives you the best opportunity to get all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need to stay healthy and guess what? It keeps your meals exciting, nutritional, vibrant, and yummy!!
Examining the scientific literature, the multiple benefits of superfoods are clear. High levels of antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, fiber, fatty acids, and vitamins make including superfoods in the diet essential.
We’ve observed superfoods‘ role in preventing cardiovascular, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity. One of the notable benefits of eating superfoods is that they comprise high amounts of bioactive elements and are nutrient-dense but have a meager calorie count.
However, it is understood that superfoods should not be exclusively consumed but fused into a healthy nutritional strategy with consistent daily exercise. With the ever-increasing fast pace of our lifestyles, superfoods help connect the gap and plug any dietary insufficiencies.
Consumers must be prudent in their research and source data from qualified scientific studies and content.