Superfoods. What is this term that is so hot in the nutrition world right now? The term “superfoods” does not have one singular definition. There are no standards created to qualify if the food is considered “super” or not. In fact, in some ways I believe all food is super! Even though the term “superfood” does not have a singular definition you will find that most foods that are described as a “super” are high in antioxidant, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Antioxidants and phytochemicals are both important to include in a well balanced diet. Antioxidants help protect the body from damaged molecules called free radicals. There are studies connecting free radicals to blood vessel disease and cancer. Antioxidants have been shown to help prevent that. Phytochemicals are a chemical compounds found in plants. There have been studies that have shown the these help fight atherosclerosis which is the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls. So what are some examples of common “superfoods”? Take a look at the list below:
Berries - Blueberries and strawberries are both great examples. They both contain high levels of phytochemicals called flavonoids which are important for cardiovascular health.
Tomatoes - Tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is helpful in removing the “bad” cholesterol which improves blood vessel health and can help prevent heart attacks. They are also high in potassium which is heart healthy!
Dark Chocolate - Dark Chocolate that is made up of at least 60-70% cocoa contains flavonoids called polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and inflammation. Dark chocolate is high in fat so it is important to not over consume.
Cinnamon - Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants, such as polyphenols. Cinnamon has also been shown to help with inflammation.
Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potatoes are high in phytochemicals and vitamin A. Vitamin A in a vitamin that plays an important role in eye health.