#HealthBytes: What are superfoods and why are they important?
What started out as a marketing strategy to highlight certain forgotten foods has now become the buzzword in the fitness industry. Since superfoods aren't really a well-defined food group, there are no set guidelines to term something as a superfood. However, here are some common attributes in all of these food items that can establish their importance in our daily diet.
Superfoods are known to have high nutritional value, including a good amount of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients come in many types and are essential for your body. Responsible for carrying out hundreds of roles in the body, vitamins and minerals strengthen your bones, heal wounds, and improve your immune system. They also convert food into energy and repair cellular damage.
Another common characteristic of superfoods is that they contain antioxidants, the molecules that occur naturally in foods. These are good for neutralizing your body's free radicals (the byproducts of energy production). Free radicals are harmful to the body and are closely linked to issues like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, etc. This is why superfoods are considered effective in keeping health problems away.
Superfoods are sometimes recommended for improving heart health as some of them contain healthy fats that are great for the heart. These fats are also essential for providing energy to the body and supporting cell growth. Other functions of healthy fats include protecting organs, keeping the body warm, helping the body to absorb nutrients, and producing important hormones.
One similarity shared by all superfoods is the fiber factor. These food items usually are sources of dietary fiber, which is extremely important for our body. Fiber primarily helps in regulating your digestive system, which includes maintaining your gut health and tackling digestive problems like constipation. This nutrient also aids in lowering cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar levels, and weight loss.
Here is a list of numerous superfoods that you can easily find in your nearby market: Cruciferous green vegetables like spinach, collard greens, kale, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Legumes such as kidney, black, red, and garbanzo beans, soybeans, and peas. Whole grains like bulgur, oatmeal, and brown rice. All kinds of nuts are great, too. Fruits, including all types of berries, and avocados.