There is no scientifically based or regulated definition of a super food, but a food is promoted to super food status when it contains high levels of desirable nutrients, is linked to disease prevention, or is thought to provide several simultaneous health benefits in addition to nutritional value.
In this article, we shall be discussing five super foods you should be consuming more of and their health advantages.
Healthy eating might look different for everyone but there are general cautions one should definitely look out for to stay healthy. For example, staying away from ultra-processed foods like potato chips, cookies, granola bars that contain highly refined starchy flours and highly processed seed oils is a good start, but that is not our focus today.
Our focus today is on the small additions or exchanges we could make to our diet to ensure we feel fuller, stay healthier and look better. Small good decisions we can have at our fingertips the next time we stop by the market for our grocery shopping. These can seem like small acts but they yield big differences in our lives in the long run.
Five superfoods to consume more of and their health benefits
Let’s jump straight in and discuss the five superfoods you should incorporate into your daily diet.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Swapping up all the ultra-processed seed oils like corn oil, canola oil, and all vegetable oils for Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a strategic step towards better health. Olive oil contains Oleocanthal which is a type of plant phenol that stimulates the bodies’ own repair mechanisms and possess strong anti-inflammatory properties even comparable to a small dose of Ibruprofen.
Seed oils on the other hand are toxic, highly inflammatory and contain mostly Omega-6 fatty acids and Trans fats. You can use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in all your cooking but is especially recommended for low heat cooking and is a great addition to salads and can even be drank raw for maximum benefit (a tablespoon or two a day).
Eggs are a super power house and contrary to popular beliefs, do not increase your risk for cardiovascular and other heart related diseases several research has shown. Eggs contain a little bit of every vitamin and mineral required by the body including but not limited to vitamin A, B12, E, selenium and zinc.
Eggs also contain a chemical called Choline. Choline is responsible for a healthy and flexible cell membrane and is also a learning and memory neurotransmitter. Therefore, make it a point to enjoy eggs daily by frying, poaching or soft boiled as not to destroy the egg yolk’s valuable fats while reaping maximum benefits.
As the saying goes, vegetables are your brain’s best friend. The benefits of eating vegetables especially the dark leafy ones cannot be over-emphasized. Greens contain high amount of chlorophyll responsible for their color. Research has shown that ingesting chlorophyll can improve digestion, reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin.
Let’s face it, with all the sickness going around today, who does not want these benefits? It’s pretty simple, ensure that a large part of your plate contains these greens on a daily basis to take back control of your health and hence your life.
4. Low Sugar Fruits
The daily consumptions of low sugar fruits like Avocados, watermelon and oranges present a wide range of health benefits without the overload of Fructose. New research has shown that fructose which is the most abundant sugar found in fruits (hence their name) present some health challenges which include but is not limited to increased metabolic disorders and obesity.
Eating low sugar fruits helps to reduce the dangers of fructose overload while reaping all the benefits of fruit consumption. Avocados for example are highly nutrient dense, containing several vitamins and minerals as well as very high in fibre. High consumption of fiber feed the microbes in our gut and keeps them happy, a happy gut leads to a happy person. The next time you go shopping, make sure to load up on these fruits.
5. Dark Chocolate
Last but not the least, the proverbial cherry on top. Did you know that Cocoa is one the richest natural food sources of magnesium? Yes, and magnesium is most essential for all cell functioning. Cocoa is also a naturally fermented food loaded with Flavanols.
Flavanols have been shown by many researchers to reverse signs of cognitive aging, improve insulin sensitivity and increase blood flow to the brain. Whenever you purchase dark chocolate though, ensure to buy ones that have NOT been processed with alkali and is at least 80 percent dark in order to reap all the cocoa benefits.
So, have you been convinced to make some of these changes the next time you go grocery shopping? How and what changes do you intend on making? Be sure to leave a comment below.
This article was authored by Mrs. Samira Mohammed, a food science expert currently employed at the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana.
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