Okay so I know everyone is talking about these, but what exactly are they? These foods are said to help cholesterol, lower blood pressure, protect organs from toxins, promote digestive health, regulate metabolism, reduce risk of heart disease and cancer, prevent or reduce inflammation, are packed with vitamins and can even improve your mood. It makes you want to eat them right now!
I am a firm believer that your diet affects everything else. I have heard stories of people with late stage cancer changing to a raw food diet (that is also meat and dairy free) and reversing their disease*. I am not a vegan, but I do try to limit my intake of meat and dairy, or at least find suitable substitutes for them.
Superfoods contain Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), antioxidants, or fiber. Some of these help lower or help regulate blood sugar which helps in prevention of diabetes, obesity, wrinkles, and plenty of degenerative diseases.
Here’s a list of some Superfoods I’ve compiled:
Beans and Lentils
Spinach, Kale, Broccoli (Greens!)
Yogurt and Kefir
Almonds (most nuts and seeds in general)
Okay so you know they’re good for you. But why are EFAs, antioxidants and fiber good for you? I’ve been doing some research and will try to explain in the most easy to understand way.
Yes, fat is that awful thing we’re trying to get rid of, but we can’t live without it- literally. Your body is unable to produce EFAs and must get derive from food. They are Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and Omega 6 (linoleic acid) fatty acids.These are fats needed for biological processes and are not just used as fuel. These processes affect cellular function, inflammation, mood, behavior, and cellular signaling. Fat is essential to the body to complete these processes. This is what we mean by GOOD FATS!
We all know they’re good for you… but um, what are they? So the best definition I could find was that they are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may protect your cells from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are basically unstable molecules. They are known to damage cells, weaken the immune system, and may contribute to heart disease, arthritis, cancer and other diseases. They can occur naturally in digestion, or during a viral or bacterial attack, or they’re environmental- such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke…etc.
So basically what these free radicals (unstable molecules that are missing an electron) do is take electrons from molecules in our cells. This starts a chain reaction, because an unstable molecule “steals” an electron from the next closest molecule. This could cascade, and the end-result being the disruption of the entire cell.
Antioxidants give electrons to free radicals. Antioxidants don’t become free radicals after donating an electron, because they are stable in either form. So if we eat foods rich in antioxidants, free radicals take those electrons instead of ours, and thus preventing cell or tissue damage.
Fiber is another one of those things that is good for us, but we have no idea why. Basically it makes you feel fuller for longer. Fiber slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Fiber rich foods like beans or grains regulate your glucose levels, which regulates your hunger. So fiber keeps you full. It also moves through your body faster- another way of signaling your body that you are full. Fiber keeps your bowl movements regular (and softer), and cleans your colon, which reduces risk for colon cancer.
So now that you know what they are, start cooking! Keep an eye out as I add a great list of recipes with plenty of superfoods in them!
What are your favorite Superfoods?
*I in no way condone self-diagnosing or self-medicating, even if its just with a food or herb. Although many of these foods have reported medical benefits you should always consult your doctor for serious ailments.
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