The Importance of Superfoods
If you’re looking to improve your health, the best way to do so is to change your diet. We’re always being told what we shouldn’t eat – cut back on sugars, carbs, processed foods, stop going through the drive-thru – but rarely told what we should eat. Many diets fail to stress the importance of eating superfoods, nutrient rich foods that can improve your health and overall well-being. Getting into the habit of eating a variety of superfoods can even help prevent various diseases down the road.
What Are Superfoods?
The criteria for superfoods is a bit vague – any nutrient dense food can be called a superfood, there aren’t any strict requirements. What are some of the healthiest foods you can think of? Maybe you’re picturing leafy greens, like broccoli and spinach, antioxidant-rich blueberries and cranberries, or more trendy health foods that have gained recent popularity like acai and quinoa. While the nutrients and health benefits they provide are different, they’re all considered superfoods.
Why Superfoods Are Important
The importance of superfoods is scientifically proven – countless research into the benefits of these foods has proven that they’re an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Superfoods are dense in vitamins, fiber, protein, and other nutrients our bodies need to feel energized and ward off disease. Nutrient deficiencies, on the other hand, can have devastating effects. A lack of vitamin D in your diet can lead to bone weakness later in life, and an omega 3 deficiency can cause fatigue and even depression. Most of these nutrients can be taken in without swallowing pills. You can avoid the harmful effects of vitamin deficiency by increasing your superfood intake, or by taking supplements.
How to Add Superfoods to Your Diet
If the importance of superfoods is so great, why do we even have fast food joints? Why doesn’t everyone eat what’s best for their health? While most superfoods aside from raw fish and meat can be consumed as-is, most people prefer a cooked meal, and cooking takes time. It’s understandable that in our busy lives quick sometimes wins over quality, but choosing quick processed meals all the time isn’t good for your health and can make you feel sluggish and fatigued.
Cooking superfoods does require a bit of extra effort, but the benefits are worth it. Here are some superfoods you can easily incorporate into your everyday meals:
• Walnuts don’t just look like our brains, they’ve been proven to improve brain function. Studies have shown adding these nuts rich in omega-3’s to your diet can improve memory and even help prevent Alzheimer’s, a devastating brain disease with no cure. Add walnuts to your yogurt, salad, or just have some plain for a snack.
• Kale is an easy superfood to add to your diet because it can be the base of one of the easiest meals to make – salad. Tossed with fruits, almonds, and cheese, kale is rich in iron, an important mineral that supports red blood cell health.
• Salmon and other fish are a superfood that can be substituted for less healthy red meats. Full of heart healthy omega 3’s and protein, salmon can quickly be cooked up in the skillet and tossed onto a salad or served with a side of veggies. Salmon has been shown to help lower cholesterol and ward off heart disease.
• Berries, especially blueberries, are well known for their antioxidant properties. Strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and get their color from flavonoids, a nutrient that’s been shown to reduce inflammation and help prevent brain and heart disease. Add berries to salads, oatmeal, and yogurt.
While you should cook and eat superfoods when you can, there are nutritional supplements and capsules for when you can’t. Powders are popular supplements that can be mixed into water and are easy for the body to absorb. If you dislike the taste of or are allergic to certain superfoods, a supplement can fill the gaps in your diet by providing the nutrients that you’re missing. Supplements are a great way to add nutrients to your diet, but you can’t expect to reap the benefits of a supplement on top of a diet of nothing but junk food – balance is key. A combination of healthy foods and nutrient supplements or capsules is ideal for your health.
Start Benefiting from Superfoods Now
Superfoods are a necessary part of any diet – they provide nutrients that our bodies just can’t do without. It’s crucial to know the importance of superfoods and how you can add them to your diet, whether that be through cooking, supplements, or a mixture of the two. Some benefits come quickly – weight loss, more energy – but others, like disease prevention and increased longevity, can’t be seen or felt immediately. The sooner you start to include superfoods in your diet, the better off your body will be.