Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you would have heard about this amazing food concept called ‘superfoods’. You may have started noticing this term appearing on supermarket shelves, at the markets or on food packaging. Your Facebook feed may be clogging up with friends and family going on a health kick and consuming copious amounts of these foods. Or it is likely that you have been on Instagram where you may have been bombarded with the proliferation of images of green juices with ingredients such as kale, goji berries, maca and chia seeds.
No longer just for the health-crazed hippies, superfoods are now in the mainstream but many people are still scratching their heads trying to work out why these foods are called ‘super’.
Like many words overly used by marketers and advertisers, superfoods is a term that is often used to describe food that is much better for us. However the fact remains that there are some foods that are naturally higher in nutritional content than others and this is an attempt to distinguish exactly what they are.
In a nutshell, a superfood is a naturally grown food that is low in calories, filled with antioxidants and nutrient dense. Superfoods seem to be more ‘superior’ then other foods due to the higher nutritional value and health benefits they provide when consumed, hence the term ‘superfood’.
Superfoods can be further classified into the following groups: green superfoods, herb superfoods, fruit superfoods and nut and seed superfoods.
Green superfoods are the ‘green’ types of foods usually of the leafy variety, and are packed with vitamins and nutrients and antioxidants. Green superfoods are the kinds of foods that might belong at the bottom of the ‘healthy eating pyramid’. They are great for digestion, a great source of energy, have high alkalinity and help to keep you lean. Some common types are kale, spirulina, wheat grass, spinach, alfalfa and broccoli.
Herb superfoods are herbs that are high in vitamins and minerals, large concentrates of antioxidants and that help boost the immune system. Common types of disease-fighting herb superfoods include nettle, turmeric, aloe vera and ginseng.
These golden children of the fruit world are high in antioxidants, great for the metabolism, good source of energy, packed with nutrients. Fruit superfoods that are highly commended are coconuts (regardless of whether you eat the coconut, drink coconut water or use coconut oil), noni, acai berries and goji berries.
Nuts & Seeds Superfoods
Nuts and seeds are a wonderful source of protein and calcium, are low GI and high in vitamins and minerals. Choose walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts are they are the holy grail of the nut kingdom offering more health benefits than other types of nuts. For seeds, choose chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.