What’s So Super About Superfoods?
The term ‘superfoods’ has gained in popularity over the past few years. At one time, these ‘super’ foods were simply what humans ate as regular food. But, in our modern world where busy lifestyles have led to quick microwave meals, take-outs, and restaurant dining, with an oversupply of additives like flavouring, salt, and preservatives, it’s no wonder that the practice of eating more natural foods holds within it something ‘super’.
The promotion of superfood in NZ has particularly gained traction as an addition to a more active lifestyle. So, what exactly are superfoods, and what makes them so great?
A big identifier of superfoods is their ‘naturalness’. Most basically, anything that’s organic, fresh, and can be eaten raw can be considered a superfood. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Not all foods are made equal, as some offer greater nutritional value than others. In general, green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach; berries, including raspberries and strawberries; and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds are all considered to be superfoods.
Avocados; salmon; nuts; and various spices, like cumin and turmeric, are also categorised as superfoods due to their health benefits. These foods contain valuable vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats that can help in improving heart and liver function, lower hypertension, and even reduce the likelihood of developing certain types of cancers.
Of course, it is important to temper expectations associated with superfoods. One cannot overeat, eat a lot of junk food, drink a lot of sugar, or not exercise and expect something like the addition of kale to miraculously make someone healthier. Making superfoods a primary part of one’s diet, along with limiting less healthy options can, however, go a long way to promoting weight reduction, increasing energy, and improving overall health.