Superfoods are mostly plant-based foods but also some fish and dairy products that are believed to be nutritionally rich and therefore good for health. Blueberries, salmon, cabbage and acai are just a few examples of foods that have earned the "superfood" label. However, according to the American Heart Association, there are no fixed criteria for determining what a superfood is and what isn't. Superfoods do not have their own food group, they are often used for marketing and profit purposes despite having objectively positive properties
Superfoods contain a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants, which protect us from cancer. They also have good fats for preventing heart disease; fiber to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; and Phytochemicals: The chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and odors, which can have numerous health benefits. Consuming them is definitely a good idea. What are these superfoods?
Blueberries often top these superfood lists because they are packed with vitamins, soluble fiber, and phytochemicals. But the same nutrients found in blueberries are also found in many other types of berries, including strawberries, grapes and raspberries. A study published in 2013 in the journal Circulation found that a high intake of phytochemicals known as flavonoids - found in blueberries and other types of berries can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. But why are blueberries the most famous? Simply because they have been studied more frequently than others.
Kale is another superfood, but also most dark and green leafy vegetables such as chard, kale, or radishes, spinach and broccoli. These dark vegetables are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber, calcium, and other minerals.
Sweet potatoes and squash are also usually part of the superfood list, for reasons similar to those listed for leafy vegetables. Both types of foods are generally excellent sources of fiber, vitamin A, and more. They're also naturally sweet and don't require the butter, cream, or salt typically added to potatoes.
Beans and whole grains are included. Beans are a low-fat source of protein. These food nuggets contain insoluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol; soluble fiber, which provides a longer feeling of fullness; and loaded with vitamins and trace minerals largely absent from the typical Western diet, such as manganese. Whole grains - so called because, unlike refined grains, they are not deprived of the nutrient-containing bran and germinating part during processing - they have similar benefits to those found in beans, although they do not have a complete protein picture, but which combined with legumes reacquire
Nuts and seeds contain high levels of minerals and healthy fats. While these are commonly added to superfood lists, they have the drawback that they are high in calories. So it's okay to add them to the diet, but paying attention to the quantities
Salmon, sardines, mackerel, and some other fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The benefits of consuming fish may far outweigh the health risk of the mercury contained in these fish.Some fish, such as swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, contain higher levels of mercury than smaller fish, such as sardines and anchovies. So prefer the latter
Any superfood list also contains an "exotic fruit of the year". It could be acai berry, noni fruit, dragon fruit, rambutan, or pomegranate. These fruits are healthy, but like many other fruits; scientific studies do not show that they are healthier than other less exotic (and therefore less expensive) fruits, such as local grapes. Some of these fruits can be particularly dense in certain types of nutrients. Pomegranate, for example, contains ellagitannins (ellagic acid), which may have anticancer properties. But red raspberries, which are probably just as delicious as pomegranate seeds, also contain ellagic acid. Then ?
So the term "superfood" is largely a marketing tool, with no roots in academic research.
In an effort to sway public opinion on the health benefits of macadamia nuts, for example, Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, the world's largest supplier of Hawaii's coveted crop, has lobbied the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to do a claim that linked macadamia nut consumption to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. The FDA responded by issuing a carefully worded statement noting that consuming 40 grams of macadamia nuts per day as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet could potentially "reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." It wasn't exactly a blaring endorsement, but the macadamia nut industry took it to the press and consumers went nuts.
Another general criticism of the use of the term "superfood" is that while the food itself may be healthy, the processing may not be. For example, when green tea is freshly brewed, it has several antioxidants. Green teas in bottles, on the other hand, are often cut with lower quality teas and prepared with abundant quantities of sugar and lose their properties'. Many types of "super juices" squeezed from acai berry, noni fruit, and pomegranate may also include large amounts of added sugar and be harmful to health.
Likewise, whole grains are often processed to make them more palatable, making them less healthy. For example, instant whole-grain oats are not as healthy as overly refined white bread, as they quickly raise bloodstream sugar levels once consumed, promoting insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes.
When we label some foods as 'super' and 'healthy', people think they can eat them in unlimited quantities, that's not the case.
Superfoods could be a good thing to introduce into your daily diet (fruit, vegetables and seeds, as well as fish and dairy products), but let's not get confused, they often have the same properties as common foods we already eat and which cost much less. Therefore, the important thing is to eat the food groups for which the healthful properties of the Mediterranean diet are known and the rest will be done by the body, without being attracted by expensive supplements
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