In recent years the term “superfood” has been widely seen on food packaging and in the media.
It is a part of a new trendy diet that highlights the importance of food with multiple benefits. By populating the food industry market and the households of people, superfoods are the new drivers for consumption.
According to Google Trends (2021), the term “superfood” was searched for more times in 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic than in previous years.
Unlike other regulatory categories of food (e.g., organic food or fair-trade foods), the concept of superfoods is relatively vague. There is no official definition of “superfoods”. However, commonly, a superfood is claimed to represent foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. They have beneficial properties that prevent degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
The most common superfoods are:
Berries: the high level of flavonoids in berries have been shown to lower the risk of heart attack. Acai berries and goji berries are considered the most powerful superfoods among the berry family.
Acai berries are native to Brazil and are considered superfoods, as they lower the cholesterol, prevent oxidative stress and reduce risk of type-2 diabetes. They represent a natural alternative sweetener to sugar, as they taste sweet and contain 0g of sugar in 100g.
Goji berries are native to Asia. They have been used in traditional Chinese culture medicine for over 2000 years, due to their vitamin A and C content. They can strengthen the immune system and boost your eyesight. They have also anti-aging properties that have allowed Chinese people to live longer. Legend shows that 2000 years ago a doctor visited a village in China where everyone was more than 100 years old. He discovered that they all drunk from a well that was surrounded by goji berries. The fruits were ripening and leaving their vitamin content into the water. Still today Chinese women tell this story to their children to make them eat this fruit.
Turmeric and ginger: turmeric is a spice containing bioactive plant compounds called curcuminoids that have very strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is recommended to boost gut health and it has recently been found to play a key role in the prevention and treatment of various illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Ginger contains the compounds gingerol and shogaols which help to counteract nausea and improve digestive issues. The plant was well known by the Greeks who used to eat ginger wrapped in bread to combat nausea. It was also used in folk medicine to treat coughs, cold and flu. Nowadays, it is used all over the world for different purposes: in India and Nepal is prepared as a paste to cure headaches and offer relieves of cold. In Indonesia, ginger is believed to reduce fatigue, prevent rheumatism and improve digestion. In the Philippines, it is taken to sooth sore throat. In the USA, it is used to alleviate motion sickness and heat cramps. Finally, in Japan it is administered to improve blood circulation.
Quinoa: this grain is considered a superfood, as it is a complete source of protein, naturally gluten-free and easy to digest. It is a sustainable grain and resilient to agro-ecological extremes, in terms of soil, rainfall, temperature and altitude. It is mainly grown in South America where it has been used as a staple food for centuries. Quinoa is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids that offer cardiovascular protection. Moreover, quinoa has a low glycaemic index (GI), so it helps to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Chia seeds: they are a member of the mint family, and they originate from Central and South America. They are rich in minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which are beneficial for bone health. 25g of chia seeds contain approximately 158 mg of calcium. Moreover, chia seeds contribute to prevent heart related diseases, as they contain healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega- 6 fatty acids as well as dietary fibre.
Maca: derives from the root of a cruciferous vegetable native to Peru and is related to broccoli, cauliflower and kale. It is typically consumed as a ground powder in smoothies or tea. It is considered a superfood for its top 5 benefits:
- Improves libido, sexual function and fertility.
- Relieves menopause symptoms
- Boosts mood
- Increases energy and improves performance
- Improves memory (It is said that native Peruvians use maca to improve children’s abilities and memory at school).
Spirulina: is a blue-green algae usually consumed either in powder form or as a supplement. It is a nutrient-dense food, as it is packed with vitamins such as vitamin A,C,E,B and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. It is also a rich source of protein and there is evidence that it may improve muscle strength and exercise performance.
The above superfoods are only some examples of products that provide multiple benefits and therefore are classified “superfoods”. There are many others which are less common but not less important. We can briefly mention fermented koji for the iron content, wheat bran for the vitamin A content, Chlorella for its vitamin B12 content and acerola for the vitamin C content.
Including super foods in your diet is an easy way to get the more nutrients, helping your body perform at its best; something we aim to help you achieve. All our meals are designed with your health in mind.