Osteopath and Naturopath Susannah Makram, writes our latest guest post, which looks at why superfoods are beneficial to your health, wellbeing and even sex drive…
What is a superfood exactly?
So, while there’s no legal or medical definition, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses. That means they pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals into every bite. Polyphenols are that specific ingredient that helps to protect cells from free radicals. Eating superfoods may reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life. Including superfoods in our diet can also help aid weight loss, increase energy levels, improve skin and hair appearance and reduce the risk of digestive problems.
Here comes the science
The best superfoods are known to fight dangerous free radicals, a type of oxygen molecule that is thought to be a factor in causing a number of diseases including diabetes and cancer, as well as contributing to the ageing process. Polyphenols (synthetically modified or directly provided by human diet) scavenge free radicals by H-atom transfer and may thus decrease noxious effects due to oxidative stress.
Top Tip! -> It’s important to read ingredient labels and know what you’re buying. Try to stick to natural foods. A survey by the British Dietetic Association (BDA) showed that 61 per cent of people questioned had bought a specific food or drink just because it was labeled as a superfood.
What’s so Super About Superfoods?
The superior nature of superfoods should be taken with the view that above all, restoring balance is key. Every body has different needs but we can say, if there is no contraindication to their consumption, that superfoods strengthen our body’s inherent ability to heal itself via our immune system. As well, they lend a helping hand to providing the building blocks of healthy cell repair and regeneration for glowing skin and healthy, lustrous hair.
What are the best Superfoods?
The base is rich in vitamin C and fibre. A member of the cabbage family, kohlrabi’s superfood status comes from its high potassium levels which help regulate fluid levels, commonly see with puffiness in the under-eye area.
2. Ginger Root
This deliciously spicy root can relieve your digestive system as it’s loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These have also been shown to have a potent anti-nausea effect. Eating 2g of gingerroot per day has also been shown to significantly reduce exercise-induced muscle pain.
3. Broad beans aka fava beans
Like other beans, favas are a good source of protein and also contain concentrations of vitamins C, A, and B, as well as potassium. Beans are loaded with fibre, folate and magnesium, and studies have shown these legumes can actually help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Fava beans have high concentrations of L-dopa (dopamine), an amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in the brain, so may improve memory, energy, sense of wellbeing, and sex drive.
There are lots of types of seaweed so if you don’t like its taste or texture, chances are you’ll find one that suits your palate. Seaweed contains plenty of thyroid-supporting iodine, is protein and calcium rich and low fat.
Seaweed boosts detoxification so it helps your skin cells rid themselves of toxins that would otherwise prevent them from working as they should. There’s also plenty of skin loving zinc, magnesium, omegas and antioxidants in every mouthful.
Seaweed contains chlorophyll – it’s the green pigment found in seaweed (amongst other green leafy vegetables) and has been shown to help suppress hunger and reduce inflammation. Also it improves energy levels as it helps carry oxygen around the body.
These Scandinavian berries have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are in fact in competition with blueberries – having 30% more antioxidant power. Lingonberries can be considered one of nature’s antibiotic and – as is not always the case with superfoods- the benefits of lingonberries, including their richness in a notable range of essential vitamins such as vitamins A, B and C and minerals such as magnesium and calcium, have been proven in human tests as well.
Foods like blueberries are known to be high in antioxidants, which protect against free radicals.
7. Acai Berries
Acai berries contains phytosterols, hormones with several healthy benefits, amino acids and provide all vital vitamins and most important minerals, so all in all that’s a pretty good superfood!
Susannah Makram is an, Osteopath, Naturopath and the Founder of The Functional Healthcare Group.