Healthy and nutritious. That’s what comes into mind when someone mentions superfood. How accurate is this, though? What are superfoods? Superfoods are nutritionally dense, providing the majority of the body’s nutrients and minerals. However, a majority is far from all. No single food can wholesomely provide for the nutritional requirements of the body. Balance is vital for healthy diets, and the only way to achieve this is through variety. “Super” or not, no single food can offer the whole nutritional package. Read on about top 10 superfoods!
What Are Superfoods?
The term superfoods encompass a wide array of foodstuff, not just a single category. Most of the foodstuff that is considered super is plant-based, with some dairy and fish products making the list. There are no set scientific criteria for determining which food is “super.”
Over the years, surreal importance has been attached to Superfoods. This term is just a marketing term used for generating super sales, not a scientific one. The nutritional values and composition of superfoods are what give them an edge over other foodstuffs. For instance, superfoods often contain:
- Antioxidants. These molecules help fend off diseases like cancers which can be caused by free radicals in the body.
- Fibers. Fibers are instrumental in preventing digestive problems, colorectal cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
- Phytochemicals like beta carotene that may reduce the risk of cancer (10).
Listed above are some of the benefits that arise from the consumption of superfoods. Too good to be true, right? You probably want to rush to the nearest grocery store and buy these superfoods and tap into their glory. We’ll get there, but first, let’s look at the top 10 superfoods that have most of these beneficial nutritional aspects.
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Top 10 Superfoods List
As much as superfoods are generally suitable for our bodies, one may decide to use them for a specific purpose, like weight loss. On the other hand, some superfoods are considered to be more effective in particular genders. Superfoods come in varieties, making it possible to consume some of them raw, while others require cooking. What are the top 10 superfoods?
Below is the top 10 superfoods list, explained with their nutritional value.
Sensational. We know it; we love it. This fruit does not stop at delivering rich flavor and taste. It provides nutritional value too. Its nutritional makeup comprises about 20 essential minerals and vitamins like vitamin C, folate, and potassium (7). Also, avocados contain monounsaturated fats that are considered to be healthy fats and fiber (7). With this fruit, you can never go wrong.
Berries are small fleshy fruits that are exceptionally sweet. Their rich colors are an indication of the high level of antioxidants that they contain. Also, berries have a high fiber content that goes a long way in preventing digestive problems (1). These fruits are taken raw, explaining their tendency to be among the top 10 raw superfoods to eat.
While it is true that nutritionists generally consider dark leafy greens to be superfoods, kales are an exceptional bunch. Kales are very nutritious and contain high levels of vitamins K, A, and C, minerals, and phytonutrients (10). The vitamins K and A help in clotting blood and improving vision, respectively. Its appearance in the top 10 superfoods to eat is well deserved.
Are chia seeds good for you? Is there any truth behind the glowing reputation that they have? Food scientists consider these seeds to be very nutritious. They contain lots of dietary fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins (15).
Chia seeds are flat ovular seeds with high fiber content, omega three, and essential antioxidants and minerals. These nutrients may significantly reduce risk factors associated with illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease (15). Taking chia seeds is a healthy choice considering just how much it improves one’s digestive health.
Fermented foods like yogurt have maintained their appearance in the top 10 superfoods to eat over the past few years. Gut health is fast becoming a crucial aspect of nutrition. The best way to keep your gut healthy is by using probiotics that can be found in fermented foods like yogurt (1). These living cultures protect the body from harmful bacteria.
Potatoes are also a worthy competitor in the top 10 superfoods. Nutritionally, potatoes provide a substantial amount of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber for digestion (2). Their high carbohydrate content has also made it a preferred food choice in the top 10 superfoods for men.
Yes, it slows you down when you’re hungry because you have to crack it, and that isn’t very pleasant. However, nuts are one of the healthiest snacks available. They contain a considerable level of unsaturated fats and omega-three fatty acids that provide many nutritional benefits (14).
Fish like Sardines and salmon have considerable levels of omega- 3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease (8). Also, these types of fish contain essential vitamins like riboflavin and vitamin D. Also, fish is an excellent source of minerals like iodine and magnesium.
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Soybeans are the perfect source of fiber, plant-based protein, and folate. The nutrients in these legumes can help reduce the risk of heart disease (14).
Top 10 Superfoods For Weight Loss
It is natural for people to feel self-aware about their bodies. Therefore, maintaining a fit and flexible stature is something we all aim to achieve. Weight loss is particularly not an easy thing to realize. Various factors contribute toward achieving this goal, like lifestyle, exercise, and level of physical activities. Superfoods also contribute to weight loss by providing compounds that help the body burn fats faster.
The following superfoods can be of great aid if losing weight is your goal:
An apple a day will keep the fat away. Apples have soluble fiber that forms a gel-like material when it dissolves in water. This material significantly prevents cholesterol build-up and contributes to fullness, which aids in weight loss (5).
Catechins found in green tea may raise the body’s metabolic rate and help burn fats quicker (12). Also, its diuretic nature helps decrease water weight. Green tea has even been said to decrease the body’s ability to absorb fat.
Olive cooking oil is cholesterol-free and contains oleic acid that allegedly breaks down excess fat (12). This cooking oil is recommended for people who want to lose weight because it greatly aids the process. It is also full of heart-healthy unsaturated fats which make it a good choice no matter your weight goals.
Lentils are a great source of slow-digesting carbohydrates which have an appetite-lowering effect (3). This effect allows you to stay full longer while reducing your food intake.
Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber found in oatmeal that helps lower LDL cholesterol and can make you feel full (9). As a bonus, oatmeals are also available in different forms like instant oats and oat groats.
A pinch of cinnamon is believed by some to help spark up cellular metabolism caused by an increase in the metabolism rate of glucose. When metabolism rates rise, fats burn faster, thus helping in weight loss.
Consuming too much unhealthy fat in our food may lead to gaining weight. Coconut oils have medium-chain fatty acids (13). These fatty acids are said by some to increase metabolism.
These seeds have a nutritional structure containing high amounts of magnesium, zinc, and iron. Magnesium and iron may raise energy levels in the body, while zinc may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides (6).
Red-Hot-Chili-Peppers, we’ve all heard of that phrase. And, no, not the band. I’m talking about the fruit.
Capsaicin is what gives chili its fiery taste. Capsaicin boosts metabolism making the body burn the extra calories. What is exciting about chili is that it can be taken in any form.
Nutritionists agree that it is now time for spinach to join its cousin kales in the top superfoods to eat. The unique properties that spinach contains warrant it a spot in this list. Spinach contains meager calories and carbohydrates, has lots of vitamins and thylakoids.
Thylakoids found in leaves of green plants contain lipids, vitamins A, E, K, and carotenoids. These compounds may stimulate the release of the satiety hormone cholecystokinin (11).
Cholecystokinin then initiates the production of pancreatic enzymes that delay the absorption of fatty acids. Also, thylakoids inhibit the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin (11). These actions cumulatively contribute to weight loss through less food intake and reduced absorption of fatty acids.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not an easy task. This type of lifestyle is reliant on several factors like physical activity and food intake. We should particularly pay great concern to the kind of food we take because they determine our bodies’ nutritional nourishment.
Superfoods provide a lot of these nutrients. However, they do not provide a balanced diet when taken alone. A balanced, nutritious diet is what we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So always make sure to have a balanced meal, and throw in a superfood to make it even better.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility.
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- 10 superfoods to build a healthy diet ( 2020, havard.edu)
- 11 Foods Men Should Eat Everyday ( 2020, eatthis.com)
- Are Lentils Good for Losing Weight? (2018, sfgate.com)
- Best Superfoods for Weight Loss (2020, health.com)
- Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet ( mayoclinic.org)
- Effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Hass avocado composition and potential health effects ( pubmed.gov)
- Health Benefits of Fish (wa.gov)
- Oatmeal (webmd.com)
- Phytochemicals in cancer prevention and management? (2015, bjmp.org)
- Thylakoids Reduce Hunger and Help with Weight Loss (2019, naturalhealthresearch.org)
- Top 10 Superfoods For Weight Loss You Must Include In Your Diet (2018, ndtv.com)
- Top 15 Superfoods for Weight Loss (bmicalculatorusa.com)
- What are Superfoods? (2019, livescience.com)
- Whole grain, bran, and germ intake and risk type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study and systematic review (2007, pubmed.gov)