Superfoods are foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They provide many health benefits to the human body, including boosting the immune system and helping to prevent disease.
Amy Fischer, an American registered dietitian, recently shared on the Good Housekeeping website her list of the top 10 superfoods:
1. Fermented foods
Fermented foods are generally rich in various live and active cultures that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, thereby maintaining gut health. Consuming fermented foods also helps maintain weight and reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Stanford University researchers randomly assigned 36 healthy adults to a 10-week diet that included fermented or high-fiber foods. The results showed that eating more fermented foods promotes microbiome diversity and elicits an immune response.
The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) has noted that not all fermented foods contain live cultures. Many products undergo post-fermentation treatment, which can kill or eliminate living microorganisms. Some examples of fermented foods that do not contain live microorganisms when consumed include bread, soy sauce, chocolate, and most beers and wines.
Fermented foods that contain live cultures include yogurt, aged cheese, kefir, sauerkraut and other unheated fermented vegetables, tempeh, and kombucha.
2. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins, including carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamin C and folate. They are also rich in glucosinolates, which are compounds that break down into potent cancer-fighting substances such as indoles and isothiocyanates, as shown in vitro and in animal studies.
Several studies have shown that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables is inversely associated with the risk of cancer, including pancreatic, lung and breast cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens, which can interfere with the absorption of iodine. Therefore, people with hypothyroidism should avoid consuming raw cruciferous vegetables and cook them before consuming them.
Common cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, and radishes.
3. Ginger and Turmeric
Ginger and turmeric are functional foods belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. They are widely used as tea, spices, dietary supplements and natural medicines, due to their anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
Eating ginger can help relieve nausea and vomiting and relieve exercise-induced muscle pain.
In a meta-analysis published in Molecules, researchers concluded that ginger is a “valuable candidate” for the treatment and prevention of dementia.
Curcumin is one of the active ingredients in turmeric. Studies have shown it to be an effective anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agent, exhibiting anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic effects in vitro and in animal models.
A study published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications established that curcumin may have beneficial effects in animal models of diabetes by lowering blood sugar and improving long-term diabetes complications.
Curcumin is rapidly metabolized and cannot be adequately utilized by the human body, but piperine can improve its absorption efficiency. Studies have shown that consuming turmeric with black pepper can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%.
Berries are a natural source of phytochemicals with powerful antioxidant activity. They are rich in polyphenols, which have both antioxidant and antibacterial properties and may protect against free radical damage. Consuming berries can help prevent osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases and inflammation.
Berries are high in anthocyanins, which can help prevent cardiovascular disease, certain metabolic diseases, diabetes, cancer, and microbial infections. They have neuroprotective effects and can also improve visual ability.
Researchers have found that a high intake of anthocyanins may reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in young women, based on an 18-year follow-up of 93,600 women aged 25-42.
Common berries include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, black currants, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
Legumes are a rich source of bioactive compounds such as carbohydrates (polysaccharides and oligosaccharides), proteins, phenolic compounds (phenolic acids, flavonoids and proanthocyanidins), as well as various minerals and vitamins beneficial to human health.
Studies have shown that legumes contain a high amount of resistant starch, which can help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and support a healthy gut microbiota. Peptides released from legumes by gastrointestinal proteases during digestion also exhibit antithrombotic and antihypertensive properties and may help prevent hyperglycemia.
Common legumes include peas, chickpeas, soybeans, kidney beans, lentils, and black beans.
6. Hemp seeds
The seeds of the hemp plant can be eaten or used to make oil after removing the outer shell. Hemp seeds have excellent nutritional value as they are rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) and other polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) needed by the human body.
Hemp seeds contain almost as much protein as soy and are rich in vitamin E and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc and iron. Additionally, hemp seeds contain high concentrations of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are beneficial for cardiovascular health.
According to a study published in Frontiers in Immunology, foods containing hemp seeds are a source of healthy fats that do not contribute to obesity and may even protect the gut and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Studies have shown that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, head and neck cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and breast cancer. liver.
A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that, compared to non-coffee drinkers, people who drank three to four cups of coffee a day had lower all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality and significantly reduced the risk of develop cardiovascular disease and liver disease.
However, excessive coffee consumption should be avoided. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), healthy adults should consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, which is roughly the equivalent of four to five cups of coffee. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those with other health conditions should be especially careful about consuming caffeine. Excess caffeine consumption can lead to insomnia, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, anxiety, and upset stomach.
Pomegranate is an antioxidant food rich in flavonoids, anthocyanins, tannins, punicic acid and alkaloids; it has antihypertensive, antiatherogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, pomegranate juice has stronger antioxidant potential than red wine or green tea.
Pomegranate can prevent and treat various diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It is also beneficial for the reproductive system and can promote wound healing.
9. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate contains heart-healthy nutrients, such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols and stearic acid, which can reduce inflammation and raise good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
In a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers found that eating chocolate more than once a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 8%, compared to eating less than once. per week.
The artichoke is a common ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Artichoke extract supplementation can significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, which may benefit patients with hyperlipidemia undergoing lipid-lowering therapy.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that supplementation with artichoke leaf extract (ALE) may help prevent the progression of liver diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and fatty liver disease.
It is important to note that while some foods can be beneficial to health, processing them can make them less healthy. For example, commercially produced bottled green tea is often made from poor quality tea leaves cut into small pieces and infused with sugar. Likewise, many commercially available fruit juices contain high levels of added sugars.
Some superfoods may provide additional benefits to a healthy diet, but diversity and moderation are just as important. Indeed, the human body needs a range of vitamins and minerals. Not only should we incorporate a variety of foods, but we shouldn’t eat them in moderation either. Some superfoods can interfere with medications and treatment for people with chronic conditions. It is essential to consult a doctor or a nutritionist before incorporating them into your diet.