What is all the fuss?
Although the definition of a superfood; "a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being" is not a scientific one, with quantifiable numbers and percentages, a ton of research has been done on a variety of foods ultimately identifying those with the most nutrients, and consequently the most healthful. And you certainly cannot argue that loading your diet with these healthier options is a "super" idea.
So, it is quite simple, consuming healthier foods (aka superfoods) will improve your overall health and ultimately your quality of life.
The anatomy of a superfood.
Superfoods are high in antioxidants, substances that protect cells from damage and disease, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. Many are also high in fiber.
But all carbs are not created equal, and only unrefined carbs earn the superfood distinction. Foods loaded with these unrefined good carbs include fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
And just like there are good and bad carbs, the same applies to fats as well. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and a diet incorporating these fats helps control hunger, lower cholesterol, absorb and transport important nutrients throughout the body, and protects vital organs. Olive oil, canola oil, fish and almonds are some of the best sources of healthy fats, and make the distinction as superfoods.
Avoid saturated and trans fats, including fatty cuts of meat, butter, cream, shortening, lard, and processed foods. Well known for increasing the risk of heart disease, bad fats should be limited or eliminated if possible.
It’s a matter of balance.
Since no single food offers all of the nutrients our bodies need eating a variety of high- powered foods is critical. Foods that fuel our bodies over time. Foods that ultimately lead to better health and well-being. Foods that make our minds and bodies thrive and keep us running at peak performance.
What is the best way to achieve the best health? Select nutrient-rich options from across all food groups.
But don’t forget that even the healthiest foods contain calories. Yes, they are “good” calories but consuming even more “good” calories than you burn, will increase your weight. So, when looking at the nutritional value of each superfood, also be mindful of the calorie count.
Achieving a healthy pattern of overall consumption leads to the best results. Research, including the recently released 2019 Canadian Diety Guidelines, emphasizes the relationship between consumption and overall health. Maintaining a healthy eating style reduces blood pressure, decreases the risk of heart disease, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and even prevents certain types of cancer.
We agree that “you are what you eat”, so certainly consuming healthy, nutrient-packed foods will help your mind and body perform at its best. So, it just makes sense to consume as many of these nutrient dense foods as possible, in the right quantities. With so many tasteful options available, dig in.