What are superfoods?
If you’ve ever looked into supplements, plant-based diets, or just healthier eating, you’ve probably heard the term ‘superfood’ - you’ll see it used in our articles too! It’s not a scientific term with set criteria, but it is a commonly agreed upon term for foods that stand out among others for their specific benefits.
What is a superfood? What makes a superfood different from other healthy foods?
We all know that some foods are healthier than others - superfoods are healthy foods recognised for being particularly nutrient dense in comparison. Some of the best known examples are blueberries, cacao, kale, acai and acerola. These foods, like other superfoods, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants - essential nutrients your body needs, along with compounds that protect your cells from damage.
What’s in a superfood?
Superfoods are often known for containing:
- Antioxidants - these help to protect your cells from damage and may help to lower the risk of heart disease and other diseases.
- Vitamins and minerals: the essential nutrients are needed for your body needs to perform and stay immune fit.
- Healthy fats – necessary for cell growth, energy fuel, brain function, protecting your organs, vitamin absorption, and to help you with your cholesterol, blood pressure and heart health.
- Flavonoids: recognised for their super antioxidant effect and once known as vitamin P, are found in almost all plants and veges, and are said to help ward of toxins, inflammation and disease.
- Fibre: from plants is helps to support digestion, cholesterol health, blood sugar levels, and heart health all critical areas for a long and healthy life.
- Phytochemicals: the compounds that plants produce (like flavonoids) and give plants all their colours and smells, they can help to protect your cells from damage and disease.
What foods are superfoods?
- Avocado - rich in healthy fats and potassium
- Beans (legumes) and whole grains are great sources of fibre, and vitamins and minerals that are usually missing from a diet high in processed foods
- Chia seeds - rich in fibre, protein, antioxidants, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc
- Cinnamon – helps to support healthy blood sugar and healthy cholesterol levels
- Fruits, especially berries - exotic fruits like acai, dragon fruit, rambutan, and pomegranates are exciting and nutrient dense, though more accessible fruits like blueberries, raspberries, tart cherries and cherries are just as good
- Garlic and ginger - tasty immune supportive spices that also help with inflammation, and also nutrient-rich
- Green tea - fantastic antioxidant and yummy substitute for less healthy drinks
- Kale, and other dark leafy greens such as silverbeet and spinach. They’re loaded with Vitamins A, C, and K, plus fibre, calcium, and other minerals
- Kumara, pumpkin, and other squash - great source of fibre and vitamin A, and their natural sweetness makes them easy to eat without extra salt, butter, cream or sugar
- Lentils - high in protein, folate, iron, and potassium
- Nuts and seeds contain heaps of minerals and healthy fats, making them a more filling snack food
- Salmon and other fatty fish are a great source of omega 3, but environmental and dietary concerns may make you want to switch them for a Vegan source of Omega 3
- Yogurt and kefir - probiotics, calcium, and protein from diary based yoghurts
What to keep in mind when looking for superfoods…
A superfood is great fresh, but the extra processing to make them more accessible might reduce their benefits. Watch out for added sugars in fruit juices, added ingredients that act as fillers that dilute the goodness, and processing that might reduce the fibre content. Always check the ingredients and nutritional panel to make sure you’re not getting lots of extra sugar or filler, and the dietary fibre content is where it should be.
How do I eat more superfoods?
Eat the rainbow! Yup, that old piece of advice is still around because it’s the best way to make sure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients (and flavours!). Throwing a bit of everything in a smoothie or salad can be an easy way to jam pack nutrients into an everyday meal, but some days you just need something really quick and easy to make up. We’ve got lots of great superfood supplements here at Lifestream, whether you’re looking to fill one little gap, or need an all-over nutrition boost. Spirulina is the superfood that built Lifestream, and we’ve now got three great options for you to try. Our Greens, Berries, and Fibre Blends are a simple way to add lots of extra nutrients and fibre to your diet. Brain Fuel Nootropics, our latest addition to the range, takes advantage of the amazing nootropic superfood Galangal, combined with Spirulina for extra energy, to support cognitive function fast. That means it helps with focus, clarity, problem solving, memory and concentration, so you can forget that extra cup of coffee. It’s non-stimulating so there’s no crash, works within 1 hour and last for up to 5 hours to give you sustained support.
There’s so many more to choose from, so have a browse, and get in touch with any questions.