Incorporating Superfoods Into Your Diet

Incorporating Superfoods Into Your Diet

Incorporating Superfoods Into Your Diet

The idea of ‘superfoods’ and their growing popularity is the subject of intense debate within the health and fitness industry. In recent years, more and more people have become receptive to the idea that some foods, known as superfoods, are particularly rich in certain nutrients. Accordingly, regularly consuming a variety of these superfoods has been linked to a range of significant health and lifestyle benefits. As a result of growing rates of obesity, the powerful health benefits of superfoods have become increasingly popularized in the media and health industry. The availability and low cost of highly processed foods containing enormous amounts of sodium, fat and sugar can make it difficult to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. However, contrary to popular belief, incorporating superfoods into your diet can be achieved with relative ease and is one of the best ways to decrease your consumption of unhealthy meals and snacks. In order to do this, you need to be informed when it comes to the benefits of superfoods and the best ways to integrate them into your daily eating habits.

A Brief Overview

Despite the term being widely used within the health and fitness industry and mass media, many people are still confused about what ‘superfoods’ really are. While there is no set criteria or defined food group for superfoods, the popular term largely refers to food items that have an unusually high proportion of nutrients. Simply put, superfoods are foods with a high amount of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Millions of people across the world have low-level, undiagnosed nutrient deficiencies and only notice the poor state of their own health after increasing their consumption of superfoods. The previously listed nutrients are essential to strengthening your body’s immune system, regulating bodily processes and reducing your risk of contracting dangerous health conditions. However, some dieticians have publicly criticized the term ‘superfoods’, equating the popular word with a marketing strategy that can confuse and mislead people into purchasing foods with a lower nutritional value than advertised. This sort of nomenclature is common within the health and nutrition industry, making it important for customers to be informed about which foods are really super foods and which are misrepresentations.

Some of the most popular and most beneficial health foods include:

  • Blueberries
  • Acai
  • Salmon
  • Kale
  • Ginger
  • Linseeds of Flaxseeds
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Goji Berries
  • Yoghurt
  • (Raw) Cacao Powder
  • Chia Seeds
  • Avocados
  • Green Tea
  • (Extra Virgin) Coconut Oil
  • Turmeric
  • Matcha
  • Spirulina
  • Macca Powder

This list is by no means extensive and merely functions as a snapshot of the vast array of superfoods available in most supermarkets. When it comes to fake or less effective superfoods, the onus is largely up to you to research foods prior to shopping and closely read the label of any suspiciously marketed ‘superfoods’. One food item that is often marketed as a ‘superfood’ is Instant Whole Grain Oats. While regular steel cut or rolled oats are healthy source of fibre, protein and iron, the instant variety is often heavily processed, removing the majority of nutrients that make oats a superfood.

Some Key Health Benefits

Different superfoods will convey wildly different health benefits with varying degrees of impact on your daily life. Some of the most recognisable nutrients in popular superfoods are: omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, soluble fibre, vitamins, calcium, proteins, iron, amino acids, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants. Specifically, consuming superfoods drastically reduces your chance of low-level nutrient deficiencies like scurvy, anaemia, pellagra, rickets and beriberi. On a personality level, nutrient deficiencies can make you moody, irritable and mentally exhausted. The potential health risks of long term nutrient deficiencies are even more damaging and can result in painful muscle cramps, chronic fatigue, migraines, swelling, reduced growth, nausea, hallucinations, constipation, irregular heart rhythm and even brittle bones.

Generally, consuming superfoods and maintaining a balanced diet can reduce stress, increase energy levels, reduce your chances of developing heart disease or other serious illnesses, reduce inflammation, promote greater immunity as well as giving you a clear, healthy complexion. Studies have also shown that regular consumption of superfoods as part of a healthy diet can greatly improve concentration.

Incorporating Superfoods in Your Diet

Incorporating superfoods into your diet does not have to be stressful or overly expensive. Almost every supermarket will have a specified ‘health food’ aisle that provides consumers with access to a large number of different superfood alternatives. Although it can be slightly more expensive to buy superfoods compared to normal processed foods, it’s important to remember that investing a little bit more money in these foods is an investment into your own health and wellbeing. Simply choosing a few different superfood items that are within your budget is more than enough to ensure you’re receiving all the benefits they have to offer.

With an enormous number of free apps and websites offering great superfood recipes’, there is no excuse not to incorporate superfoods into your everyday meals. This can be as simple as changing your usual vegetable oil with coconut oil, or adding chia seeds to your regular breakfast smoothie…the possibilities are endless and usually very tasty.

If you don’t have the money to spare on purchasing superfoods every week, there are many viable alternatives. Most reputable chemists have begun offering an extensive range of superfoods in both their raw form and in capsule form. Taking a nutrient rich capsule, such as a multivitamin, is a great way to ensure you’re still getting the benefits of superfoods, without having to try and incorporate them into your diet. This is particular helpful if there are certain superfoods that you may not enjoy. For example, if you do not enjoy eating fish, Omega 3 capsules can be a great alternative, making sure that you’re still getting the nutrients your body needs.

With the onset of new, scientifically proven information, a slew of tasty recipes and growing availability of superfoods, there doesn’t seem to be a better time to supercharge your diet. Evidently, by integrating superfoods into your diet, you’re doing your body and mind a world of good.