An important part of a healthy lifestyle
foods rich in compounds which are beneficial to our health
While not technically a scientific term, superfoods is “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person's health.”
The health benefits of these superfoods go far beyond just their nutritional value. Therefore, when included in a healthy diet, superfoods can promote cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, aid in weight loss, and even offer cancer-fighting properties.
Today, superfoods are bound to catch the attention of health-conscious people who strive to capture the proverbial fountain of youth with foods that provide beneficial antioxidants, minerals, essential fatty acids and polyphenols that help to fight the signs of aging by reducing inflammation, improving the immune system, and removing harmful toxins from the body.
THE HISTORY OF SUPERFOODS
The term “superfood” was actually coined by Dr. Steven G. Pratt, M.D., who authored SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life in 2003, bringing to the forefront, the healthful benefits of these some of these nutrient-dense foods.
While the term superfood has been around a relatively short time, our ancestors were well aware of the nutritive qualities of these foods long before eating healthy was deemed cool.
Take quinoa, for instance. An ancient food dating back more than 7000 years, quinoa was a staple of the ancient Incas and other Andean civilizations throughout the years.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NLM-NIH), the quinoa is an excellent example of functional food that helps to lower the risk of various diseases, appealing to the “scientific community for its high nutritional value, being rich in proteins, lipids, fibers, vitamins, and minerals, with an extraordinary balance of essential amino acids.”
As early as 3500 B.C., Chia, a powerful, nutrient-packed little seed, served as a staple in the civilizations of Aztec, Teotihuacan, and Toltec.
Then, there is garlic. Garlic, according to The Journal of Nutrition, is noted as being “one of the earliest documented examples of plants employed for treatment of disease and maintenance of health.” Many cultures used garlic to improve strength and work capacity for their laboring classes.
Today, garlic is stilled used for its performance-enhancing abilities, as well as for its antibacterial properties
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The beauty of superfoods is that they are generally easy to find and reasonably priced at your local farmer’s market, grocery or health food store. While there seems to be a seemingly endless array of such food, here are some of the better-known superfoods.
According to the NIH, studies have suggested that acai may reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels in overweight people, as well as provide an antioxidant effect which helps to reduce inflammation.
Almonds are well-known for their health benefits, providing vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, protein and healthy fats that have been shown to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as reduce blood pressure.
Avocado lovers can rejoice over the findings of recent clinical studies reflecting that avocados help support cardiovascular health and may provide anti-aging, as well as weight loss benefits.
Blueberries have long been known for their antioxidant properties. A recent study led by Harvard Professor, Dr. Eric Rimm, demonstrated that eating blueberries and strawberries at least three times a week helped to reduce the risk of heart attack in women by 34 percent. Another 12-week study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry demonstrated the humble blueberry’s positive effect on memory function in older adults.
Broccoli, along with its superfood cousins kale and cauliflower, is touted for their cancer-fighting properties, namely glucosinolates.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? And, the best part, is that dark chocolate consisting of 70% percent cacao and greater can actually increase your brain’s neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability to learn and memorize, as well as to recover from injury or disease.
Chia seeds pack a big punch in a tiny package. According to the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Chia seeds are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids which cannot be made by the body. These seeds are beneficial in reducing cholesterol, regulating blood pressure, and promoting weight loss.
The use of Goji, also known as Wolfberry, dates back to ancient Asia when Chinese and Tibetan healers used the berry to strengthen muscles and tendons, protect from illnesses, and longevity. Today, research studies have shown the use of Goji can safely control blood sugar levels, promotes healthy vision, increases testosterone levels, as well as offer cancer-fighting benefits.
While used in Asia for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, the jury is still out on whether green tea all it’s cracked up to be. However, there is some evidence according to the NIH, that tea, both green and black, may be useful in reducing heart disease, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
Generally consumed in juice form, a recent study demonstrated that this tropical fruit cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia is an excellent antioxidant aiding in the reduction of inflammation
THE POWER OF NATURE FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
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