The term “Superfood” is often used by the media. It is always used in health articles, whole food groceries, specialty stores and etc, but is there really such thing as the superfood?
Experts say that using the word “superfood” is just a marketing strategy by health and food companies in order to emphasize the nutrients in their products. There is no legal or medical definition of a superfood. In fact, the so-called superfoods are simply foods that are nutrient powerhouses filled with a large dose of vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and antioxidants.
Fad diets and news report may claim super benefits from superfood such as slowing aging and weight loss. However, superfoods are not magic potions that will instantly improve your health or cure ailments. Nutrition experts still recommend variety intake of lean protein, fruits, vegetable and whole grains. This diet recommendation is superior to taking one or two of the nutrient-dense food on top of a poor diet.
Eating too much of one type of food may prevent you from getting the nutrients you need. Studies show that many people in the United States don’t get enough potassium, dietary fiber, Vitamin D, and calcium. Since the identification and categorization of superfoods are not criteria-based and basically, the term can be used loosely without the basis of research. You have probably heard countless times the benefits of blueberries, kale, and salmon but there are less common superfoods that would be a great addition to your diet.
Nutritional yeast is from the deactivated yeast with no leavening power. It is a non-animal source of protein and often consumed by vegans as their source of vitamin B12 which is important for normal brain and nervous system function. Vegans usually use nutritional yeast as their cheese substitute and as a seasoning to achieve that umami taste.
Black garlic is prized by Asians for its health benefit. The garlic bulb is fermented through prolonged exposure to heat and humidity; thus resulting in its sweet and mellow flavor with an inky hue. Moreover, the sulfuric compound found in garlic is healthy for the heart and has anti-cancer benefits. Also, the fermented food stabilizes the intestinal flora and strengthens the immune response.
Maca is a root vegetable that is dried and processed into powder mix. Maca is used to boost energy, libido, and endurance. It has adaptogen properties which promote renewal, regeneration, and repair of the cell. Due to its earthy flavor and nutty taste, maca powder can be added to smoothies and baked goods.
Sumac is a spice used in the Middle Eastern cuisine. It ranks very high in the ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) chart, which ranks food based on its antioxidant capacity. Sumac has the capacity to neutralize the free radicals that can cause heart disease, cancer and signs of aging.
Turmeric ranks high in the ORAC value. Turmeric is one of the highly researched superfoods because it contains curcumin. Curcumin is an active ingredient that inhibits inflammatory. It is known that inflammation contributes to almost every major disease. Studies suggest that turmeric is beneficial for cancer, osteoarthritis, infections and neurogenerative diseases.
Aside from the physical health benefits, superfoods are also proven beneficial in maintaining mental clarity and help regulate brain chemicals. As such, these foods are helpful in the treatment of mental illness like depression, anxiety and mood disorders. For more information about superfoods, it is best to consult a healthcare professional like nutritionist or dietician. This article can help you find a therapist near your location.