'Superfoods' and Super Foods for Health

The term “superfoods” is as regulated as the words “healthy” and “natural.” Seemingly anyone can use it, whether their food’s super qualities are legitimate or quite simply, overstated.  

You wouldn’t guess it from the modern day superfood trend, but the term was first coined to describe bananas, as far back as World War I! But there’s still no official definition of a superfood.

In fact, many nuts, legumes, herbs, roots, fruits and vegetables are so healthful that they really are super foods! The closer an edible food gets to coming from the ground, off of a tree, and in its original form, the more likely it will help your body out.

So what’s with our obsession over superfoods? The appeal might lie in easy, convenient nutrition. We look for food items that are labelled as nutrient-dense, said to have health-protecting qualities, and make us feel awesome about our diets.

There’s no harm in complementing an already healthy diet with superfoods for extra nutrients. So let’s bring some powerfully healing, everyday foods into the picture too.

Here are just a few “superfoods” and super foods to boost a healthy diet:  

Amla (Indian Gooseberries)

You probably haven’t heard of these and you probably won’t see them in the produce aisle. But you can find these berries in freeze-dried, powdered form like the ones here.

Amla does indeed stand out in the crowd in terms of antioxidant content. Other listed benefits of these berries go on and on, with some studies showing effective use against certain cancers, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Cacao Powder

Not to be confused with your average Easter bunny chocolate, cacao powder is a great addition to things like smoothies, porridge and DIY healthier chocolates.

By leaving the fat and sugar found in chocolate bars behind, you can reap some serious benefits from this delicious powder. Cacao contains phytonutrients that can improve artery function, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol while boosting good cholesterol.

Chia seeds

Now here’s an easy to source superfood that everyone has heard about! These seeds are incredibly versatile: thrown into baked goods, as chia puddings, into porridge, smoothies and crackers.

They come loaded with ALA omega-3s for conversion into health-promoting long-chain fatty acids. They are also high in fibre, protein, zinc and calcium.

Reishi Mushrooms

Is there anything mushrooms can’t do? They offer undeniable flavour and versatility, loved by nearly every cuisine around the world, and--because it’s officially the future--are even used for making eco-friendly leather.

While even your average white mushroom appears to have breast cancer fighting abilities, medicinal mushrooms are popping up everywhere. Take reishi mushrooms for example, which are fungi used in traditional Asian cultures. These have potential human benefit in the form of increased cellular immunity and quality of life in some cancer sufferers.

Garlic

Garlic doesn’t just make for great flavour in meals, it’s also arguably one of the healthiest foods. Its long list of beneficial traits include protecting our DNA from carcinogen damage and acting as an antimicrobial, combating bad bacteria in the gut while nourishing good gut bacteria.

It seems even the most humble of foods are pretty super, too! Enjoy these and others to help support your well being.