Category Archives: Superfoods

What are Superfoods?

Superfoods is still a major buzz word in the health industry, but many people still don’t know why some foods are more “super” than others. Which foods are deserving of the superhero cape? Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to be a superfood.

What are Superfoods?

In order for a food to be considered a “superfood,” it needs to be a nutritional powerhouse. These foods give you more bang – or nutrients – for your buck.

A large percentage of superfoods are plant-based, but you’ll also find some fish and dairy products in this category. These foods are all nutritionally-dense.

Kale, blueberries and salmon are three of the most well-known superfoods, but there are dozens of others that pack a ton of nutrients and antioxidants in a tiny package.

With that said, there is no concrete criteria for determining which foods are superfoods. Many dietiticians and health experts say the term is really more of a marketing buzz word to get people excited and interested in nutritionally dense foods.

Still, these foods are very healthy and often contain free-radical-fighting antioxidants as well as phytonutrients.

The Truth About Superfoods

Superfoods really are great for your body and your health, but it’s important to be realistic about your expectations. Many people are under the impression that they can eat one or two servings of these foods per day on top of an otherwise unhealthy diet and protect themselves from chronic disease. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Superfoods can kick your health into overdrive, but only when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Which Superfoods are the Biggest Superstars?

There are dozens of superfoods, but some are more “super” than others. Some of the top superstar superfoods include:

Garlic

GarlicGarlic helps boost the immune system by promoting white cell growth, which is the body’s natural defense system. But garlic also has antimicrobial properties, meaning that it can help slow the growth of yeast, bacteria and fungi.

On top of these great benefits, garlic also helps to lower harmful cholesterol.

Fresh garlic is the most nutritious, but the powdered version of this plant is just as effective at lowering cholesterol.

Onions

An excellent complement to garlic, onions are another superfood superstar. It gets its superpower from quercetin, an antioxidant that strengthens and protects damaged cells.

Onions also raise your good cholesterol levels while thinning the blood and lowering your blood pressure.

Kale

High in fiber, kale is a dark leafy green vegetable that’s similar to spinach and is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.

Kale is high in vitamins C and A, which are great for your skin and have anti-aging properties. A single serving of this green veggie contains more than half of your recommended dose of vitamin C.

Broccoli

broccoliHigh in vitamin C and magnesium, broccoli is the vegetable your mom has been telling you to eat since you were a child. And that’s because this green vegetable is considered one of the most potent immune boosters.

Wild Salmon

Wild-caught salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as iodine, zinc, potassium and vitamin D.

Organic Foods for People On the Go

You want to eat organic, and you want to be able to eat on-the-go. If this sounds like you, there’s good news: you can eat organic even if you’re super active and have little time to spare for yourself.

The best organic foods for people on-the-go include:

1. Berries

Berries are packed with flavor, vitamins and minerals. Some of our favorite snacks include berries, and since you can pick them up and eat them without cooking them, they’re a great healthy snack to have in your home.

But berries are also part of the dirty dozen.

What this means is that they’re riddled with pesticides and are often GMO, so you’ll always want to go with organic berries if you want to stay away from these harmful pesticides. The berries that people like most include:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries

Darker hues often contain the most nutritional benefits. You’ll also find that berries are often considered a super food because they’re very high in antioxidants, which help fight free radical damage.

2. Bananas

Organic bananas are delicious. The sweet taste is accompanied by ease of digestion and a quick jolt of energy that can fuel your workout. The great thing is that bananas provide energy for up to two hours, so you’ll often find athletes eating a banana before their big game.

Filled with potassium, bananas will also work to fight off those dreaded muscle cramps you hate so much.

If you plan on going for a run or engage in rigorous rowing sessions like we do, a banana is a great treat that can be brought with you on-the-go.

3. Chia Seeds

chia seedsI’m not a huge advocate of most seeds because they leave me hungrier than if I didn’t eat them. Although tasty, most seeds don’t make it into my daily routine. But, Chia seeds are different. This seed is filled with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals.

Athletes benefit from eating chia seeds because they absorb 12 times their weight in water.

Since the seeds absorb so much water, they allow an athlete to remain hydrated even after a long session on the field. If you’re not a fan of eating the seeds raw, you have the option of grinding them up and placing them in water.

You have no reason to skip your daily dose of chia seeds if you mix it into your water.

4. Fruits

Fruits of all kinds can be brought with you on-the-go and eaten at your leisure. A few fruits that are easy to eat and stay fresh in a bag or on their own include:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Mangos
  • Papaya

If you can pick it up, rinse it off and bite into it, it’s a good fruit for on-the-go eating. Just remember that you have a lot of options at your disposal.

The goal of on-the-go eating as an active and healthy person is picking foods that can be picked up and eaten as quickly and effortlessly as possible. If a lot of effort needs to go into your food, it’s not a good choice if you have a hectic schedule.

The Benefits of Eating Kale

Kale tops the list when it comes to nutritious greens, but for decades, this vegetable was used primarily for decoration in buffets and restaurants. In fact, there are still many chefs who say kale is only good for making other food look pretty.

But this hardy green vegetable packs a ton of nutrtion into a tiny package.

If you’ve yet to include this vegetable in your diet, you’re missing out on essential nutrients that can improve your health.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating kale:

1. Kale is a Natural Detoxifier

Like other leafy green vegetables, kale has natural detoxification properties thanks to its high levels of sulfur and fiber. Both of these nutrients support liver function, your body’s natural detox system.

A good-functioning liver will keep your metabolism running smoothly and filter out toxins.

2. Kale Helps Boost the Immune System

Kale contains high levels of vitamin C, which helps support and strengthen the immune system. Along with vitamin C, this vegetable contains sulforaphane, which nourishes the immune system.

Sulforaphane also helps control your body’s metabolism and hydration while improving your complexion.

3. Kale is High in Vitamin K

Vitamin K is considered a cancer-fighter, but it also helps keep the bones strong. This essential vitamin plays an integral role in the blood clotting process, so lack of it may prevent clotting and can lead to death.

4. Kale Helps Strengthen Bones

Along with vitamin K, kale also contains a fair amount of calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth.

In fact, kale has more calcium in it than milk.

kale smoothie

5. Kale Boosts Heart Health

Like many other green vegetables, kale helps support heart function and the entire cardiovascular system.

This leafy green helps lower bad cholesterol levels and is rich in potassium, which may help prevent heart disease.

6. Kale is Rich in Fiber and Fat-Free

We all could benefit from more fiber in our diets, and kale delivers on that need without adding any extra fat to your meal. While healthy fats are still an essential component of optimal health, kale prevents you from overdoing it.

7. Kale is Anti-Inflammatory

Most health experts will tell you that the biggest benefit to eating kale is that it contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Kale has slightly more omega-3s than omega-6s, which helps reduce inflammation.

8. Kale Boost Infant Brain Development in the Womb

Consuming a diet rich in kale can help improve an infant’s brain development while in the womb, and that’s thanks to its high levels of folate.

Kale can help ensure that the baby is born at a healthy weight, that the face and heart are properly developed, and healthy neural tube formation occurs.

9. Kale May Help Prevent Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, the glucosinolates in kale can help prevent cancer. Glucosinolates contain sulfur compounds that help prevent cancer cell growth after they’re broken down during digestion.

These compounds are known as thlocyanates, Indoles and Isothiocyanates.

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and known as one of the top superfoods available. If you haven’t already, start adding this leafy green to your diet to improve your health.