Have you ever truly taken the time to get to know what super foods really are? You've probably heard the term superfood thrown around before, but never fully appreciated what it meant. Today, hopefully that's about to change, and after reading this to the end, you have a newfound appreciation of what super foods are.
Spoiler alert – super foods are simply foods that have an exceptional density in one or more nutrients. Now without further ado, let's see the exciting ways superfoods may benefit your body.
Super Foods May Help Support Digestive Health
The majority of superfoods are plant-based; being fruits, vegetables, and even some pseudo-plants such as the mushrooms.
But how exactly do super foods contribute to digestive health? For one, is thanks to their amazing fibre content. The majority of fruits and vegetables are extremely high in soluble and insoluble fibre, which add bulk to food and shorten transit time of waste material through the body.
This is a good thing, as shorter transit time prevents constipation. In addition to this is the fact that many plant-based super foods act as a source of nutrition for the probiotic bacteria, which surprisingly comprise about 70% of the body's innate innate immune system[i].
Ensuring the health of these probiotic bacteria can help lower your risk of infections and many digestive issues.
May Help Balance pH Levels
Your body’s pH is a measure of the relative acid to alkaline balance, which under normal circumstances is supposed to be neutral to very slightly alkaline. Unfortunately, the current Western diet encourages the consumption of processed foods that are acidic in nature in which throw our bodies critical pH out of balance.
The plant-based super foods are primarily alkaline, or alkaline forming when consumed. What this helps to do is neutralize the harmful free radicals that are more abundant under acidic pH, and return the body to optimal levels.
Many chronic inflammatory processes are believed to be affected by suboptimal pH include those such as diabetes, heart disease, or even vascular damage that can cause high blood pressure. Cancer cells are also thought to proliferate in acidic pH environments.
Superfoods May Help With Weight Loss
Many of the plant-based foods are high in fibre and low in sugar which generally contribute to healthy weight loss strategies. Fibre, for instance, creates a feeling of fullness that reduces the number of calories consumed, plus the treasure trove of nutrients they contain aren’t too shabby either. Certain superfoods (such as green tea) may also increase metabolic rate and enhance fatty acid utilization[ii].
May Assist With Detoxification
Certain super foods are very effective at detoxification[iii], as is particularly evident in the case of the cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and spinach, which not only help to support liver health but can also break down estrogen to the milder forms that are easily metabolized and removed from circulation.
This benefit is highly sought-after in natural male athletes as an effective estrogen reducing supplement
What Are The Best Superfoods?
While there many superb super foods, we have compiled some of the best that you can start to take advantage of the. These include:
- Cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower to name a few
- Olive oil
- Citrus fruits
- green tea
- seaweed (spirulina, chlorella)
- Salmon and other fatty fish
How Much Should You Be Consuming Daily?
While you can definitely attempt to get all the superfoods we mentioned in the list, it is likely going to be a very tough ask. Rather, it may be a better idea to consume an effective superfood greens supplement, which contains many of these in the recommended amount and which is fortified with vitamins and minerals. If you are vegan or vegetarian becomes even more important.
Super foods aren't just important for athletes, but have profound benefits for people of all walks of life. If you think you haven't been getting enough of these life changing foods it’s time you make a concerted effort to start doing so or at least use a good greens/superfood powder supplement.
[i] Govers C, Berkel Kasikci M, van der Sluis AA, Mes JJ. Review of the health effects of berries and their phytochemicals on the digestive and immune systems. Nutr Rev. 2018;76(1):29-46. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nux039
[ii] Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Physiol Behav. 2010;100(1):42-46. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.02.005
[iii] Hodges RE, Minich DM. Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. J Nutr Metab. 2015;2015:760689. doi:10.1155/2015/760689