When it comes to superfoods, the list grows every single day. With the craze on the rise, people are always on the lookout for the "next big thing" in the superfood world. Now, more than ever, people are turning to nutrition to help heal illnesses and prevent disease as the research increase showing us the positives that come from superfoods.
What Are Superfoods?
Certain foods that research proves to contain excessively high amounts of vitamins, minerals or nutrients often get awarded the 'Superfood' label. Within in the past 5-10 years, we have seen the list grow dramatically as we discover more and more foods that have profound healing properties as well as the ability to treat and prevent several illnesses because of their high-than-normal nutritional profile.
Only until a few years ago, some of the known superfoods were just know as food, as we hadn't needed the "Superfood" label as our food quality was a lot higher. It sort of goes to show that the rest of our food is not 'Super'? "So if I want to be super, I should only eat superfoods?"
When I would write down a list of 'Superfoods' I would have a slightly different philosophy when it comes to outlining the best foods that our diet should contain. Certain foods like spinach, walnuts and free range meat are not exactly listed as 'Superfoods', but still deliver a lot of vital nutrition our body craves and NEEDS. So when I talk about 'Superfoods' I am more so referring to the foods that have been added to the list over the years that are often overlooked, unheard of or often too expensive for the average Joe to be able to afford or justify.
Why Do Superfoods Work?
Superfoods are great at what they do, and this varies from food to food, because they have a higher amount of a certain nutrient/mineral/vitamin present in them that allows us to get better bang for our buck, at the same time as spending the extra buck or two!
Let's take a quick look at a quick example to show just why 'Superfoods' can pack such a punch!
- Raw Cacao: in 1 cup of raw cacao powder (roughly 86g), it contains 430mg of magnesium. Compare this with 1 cup of spinach, which is also listed as a great source of magnesium on the conventional food list, it contains around 157mg of magnesium. Magnesium is the #1 vital nutrient to help with sleep and rest. It's also a muscle relaxant to help you reduce tension and built up stress.
My Top 10 Superfoods
- Raw Cacao Powder: Raw cacao is one of the highest sources of magnesium on Earth! The more the merrier. Add it to your smoothies, desserts, baking etc.
- Maca Powder: an excellent addition into any diet to help increase energy production and libido in men! Also known to regulate hormone production in women and men. Since it is a dried, then powdered root of a plant, in a single serving, you'll gain around 400mg+ of fiber to help out your digestion and waste removal.
- Chia Seeds: a source of Omega-3's, fiber and a great alternative protein source. Soak them in water to create your own instant jelly like snack.
- Almonds: an excellent source of dietary fat and fiber. Almonds can be eaten whole, blended into raw food bars , turned into almond meal or even into a spreadable butter.
- Kale: rich in chlorophyll to help with weight loss and enhance skin quality. Also a high amount of potassium (use organic where possible). You can eat in salads, juice, add to your smoothies or bake to make kale chips.
- Free Range Eggs: High protein and high dietary fat to help support muscle growth and repair. Free range is important because the animal will be healthier, and therefore more capable of producing a healthier egg with a high quality nutritional profile. The yolk is also an integral part of the egg as this is where all your dietary fat is contained, and the egg white is your protein source. The fats and protein are both important for overall health of your body.
- Broccoli: High in Vitamin A and C, as well as packing in some fiber to match. Easily added to salads, stir-frys, curries, or your simple meat and veg dinners.
- Sauerkraut: a healthy fermented vegetable to add to meals that will deliver a wide range of good gut bacteria into your digestive system that will help you break down food and fight off gut-born diseases.
- Quinoa: A healthier alternative to conventional carbohydrate sources like rice and noodles, quinoa is just as versatile and can be used as a fantastic wheat-free alternative. Being a complete protein source, quinoa is also a great protein alternative for both meat eaters and non-meat eaters.
- Avocado: These little wonders are so full of nutritious goodness, it's hard to know where to start. Filled with high levels of dietary fat, plus some good quality carbohydrates full of extra health promoting goodies. In half an avocado, you're looking at roughly 15g of fat and around 9g of carbs. Mash it with some lemon juice for your guacamole, or simple slice it up and top it on your omelette.
As you can see from my list, most of these are foods you've heard of, but they live on the upper end of the 'Superfoods List'. By now fine tuning your weekly shopping list to also include some, or all, of the above foods, you can now really begin to shift your health from where it is now into a really heightened version of it!