What Makes a Food a Superfood?




Superfoods can be defined as foods “whose nutritional composition is ideal for strengthening and promoting the proper functioning of the human body,” [1]. This means that superfoods have a higher content of nutritional value, usually “a dozen or more unique properties," earning their ‘super’ prefix [1].


So why should we eat superfoods? Well, superfoods can help to increase a person’s overall health, being that they are more nutritional than regular foods. The most important part of the superfoods is their antioxidant activity. Antioxidants protect the body’s cells from certain molecules that can cause heart diseases and cancer. Some of the antioxidants found in superfoods are “vitamins A, C, and E, flavonoids, selenium, β-carotene, zinc, lycopene, albumin, uric acid, bilirubin, coenzyme Q10 and polyphenols such as anthocyanidins,” [1]. Superfoods are becoming more in demand due to the increase in degenerative diseases. Luckily, this search for superfoods has pushed for “a series of recent scientific studies that have highlighted the importance of various superfoods such as hippophaes, Goji Berries, blueberry, spirulina, kefir, royal jelly, and others,” [1]. As time goes on, the list of superfoods increases. Here are some important superfoods (that are also pretty common) and how they can help the body:


  • Fruits:

  • Blueberries - can reduce the “risk of declaring Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases by reducing symptoms such as loss of balance and coordination and prevention of memory loss,” [1]; can also reduce blood pressure

  • Pomegranate - juice is beneficial for “high-risk populations of atherosclerotic and cardiovascular diseases, as well as people with a high-risk factor for diabetes,” [1]

  • Goji Berries - aids in the “prevention of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes” as well as “the strengthening of the immune system,” [1]

  • Herbs

  • Tea - prevents inflammation, reduces stress, and can relatively decrease the risk of cancer

  • Ginger - contains great quantities of “potassium, zinc, and polyphenols,” which all contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, anti-inflammatory agents, and a positive impact on digestion [1]


Overall, superfoods have a high nutritional value and will usually prevent a person from developing certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is important to make sure you are eating an agreeable amount of these foods to ensure the best results.


References:

1. Proestos, C. (2018, December 24). Superfoods: Recent data on their role in the Prevention of Diseases. Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science Journal. http://www.foodandnutritionjournal.org/volume6number3/superfoodsrecent-data-on-their-rolein-the-prevention-of-diseases/