What is a Superfood, What makes food a vegan superfood?
We all are well familiar with foods from our childhood. Also, foods that we eat are the building blocks, hence the works in the development of cells and tissues. We choose foods like vegetables and fruits very wisely so that we get the maximum benefit from consuming those foods. Superfoods are in trend from the last decades where every professional’s gym instructors, dieticians, and health freaks talk about the benefits of eating superfoods. Superfoods, in simple terms, means nutrient-rich and dense foods. There are various synonyms given to superfoods like “Hype-food” or “Power food.” It does not come in a separate group, nor any criteria categorize one, which is a superfood and which is not a superfood. The Superfood term, ostensibly used for better marketing purposes in the Food Industry.
What is the definition of superfoods?
Frankly speaking, there is no scientific, official, and exact definition of superfoods in the nutritional field. Still, some honourable dictionaries can help you to understand the term and brush up you to know the concept of Superfoods. According to the Oxford dictionary, Superfoods are nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary, A superfood is defined as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fibre, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health.” According to the Harvard study, a food that is promoted to superfood status when it offers high levels of desirable nutrients hence, linked to the prevention of disease. Also, it provides several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value.
How did the concept of superfoods originate?
Are you interested in finding out how we found superfoods and How it became essential as well as an integral part of life? You will love to know the story behind this. The first superfood was banana, being omnipresent, cheap, highly nutritious, easily digested as fruit, cooked in dishes, and an essential feature is that it is pre-packaged by germ proof covering. It was an accidental kind of experiment for naming it as superfoods during the years of world war I; moreover, it was a well-planned, profitable market strategy of The United Fruit Company. Yeah, you read the name right, and it was not any dietician or nutritionist behind the superfood’s creativity. The company wisely used informational pamphlets, including Points About Bananas and the Food Value of the Banana.
To encourage people to eat more, the company came up with the idea of adding bananas in cereal for breakfast, instant energy drinks like making banana shakes. More options are there like oats porridge garnished with banana slices, mixed fruit salads, and fried with meat for dinner. The reason behind the banana diet was due to findings of physicians and publishing in journals treating celiac disease and diabetes. Here’s The American Medical Association announced that bananas in a children’s diet would provide relief and prevent celiac disease or cure it. The studies and benefit of eating a superfood supported the Company’s Marketing strategy and boosted sales for bananas. Later in the 21st century, another superfood got fame, which is blueberry. Blueberries have unique phytonutrients, anti-oxidant properties, and fighting off diseases like cancer.
Types of superfoods
Superfoods are a full package of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, along with minimal calories. Superfoods can be eating healthy at a dime, along with there is an immense number of benefits of eating superfoods on the body. So, to have the goodness of superfoods, one should know what different types of superfoods, as well as its nutritional benefits, are. Superfoods can be vegan, filled with the antioxidant property as well as promotes weight loss. Plant-based superfoods preferred over animal because:-
- Low in calories,
- They are nature-driven(source-natural),
- Unprocessed with high nutrient density,
- One of the cheapest sources of nutrition,
- Readily available can be freshly consumed,
- Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals,
- It promotes a healthy heart and reduces the risks related to heart diseases.
Wow, are you thinking of becoming a vegan? That’s great, Finally you are thinking about your body, your wellness, saving the environment and our animals too. Are you afraid of becoming nutrient deficient if you avoid all the animal and dairy products? Don’t worry vegan diet is proved to be one of the best diets for body functioning and is a secret behind living a long, healthy as well as joyful life. Here are some vegan superfoods that can be highly beneficial for your body and working mind.
- Hemp seeds taste the nutty flavor. The other products derived from hemp seeds are hemp milk, hemp oil, hemp cheese substitutes, and hemp-based protein powder.
- Hemp milk is extracted from hulled hemp seeds, water, and further adding a sweetener.
- Hemp oil has a definite “grassy” flavor.
- The seeds are rich in vitamin C, trace amounts of vitamins A, vitamins B, vitamins E, and minerals like magnesium and phosphorous are also present.
- Hemp seeds contain low unsaturated fats and are absent from trans fats.
- It is a rich source omega-3 fatty acid (healthy fat), also called ALA(alpha-linolenic acid)
- It also contains a specific omega-6 fatty acid called GLA(gamma-Linolenic acid), and hemp oil contains an even higher percentage of GLA.
- One of the powerhouses of the antioxidants, rich in the pigment anthocyanin, which gives deep blue color.
- The oxidants present helps to eliminate the free oxygen radicals from the body.
- Eating Blueberries helps in lowering the risks of cardiovascular diseases, reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and also promotes good heart health.
- Blueberries can be useful in preventing brain diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s diseases, and also helps in boosting brain health.
- Blueberries rich in dietary fibers promote proper digestion, hence, also known as a digestive superfood.
- These are also full packages of vitamins like vitamin c, other minerals and has a natural sugar along with tart taste.
- Watermelon seeds superfoods benefits on the skin, additionally effective against preventing the acne outbreak, removes the blemishes and dullness of the skin.
- The watermelon seeds can provide an instant source of energy; a handful of roasted watermelon seeds can boost one energy and nourishes the body with nutrient levels as well as increases the metabolism level of the body.
- It helps in preventing and curing osteoporosis condition in humans. Further, it strengthens bone density and avoids bone fracturing.
- Watermelon seeds can also be helpful in the thinning and conditioning of hairs as well as prevent further hair loss in humans.
- These beautiful light green pistachio nuts are extremely tempting in nature and abundant in nutrients, fibers, antioxidants, and minerals.
- Pistachio nuts are a full package of vitamins and minerals like Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B-6, Thiamin.
- It is low in calories as well as contains little fat, which is healthy fats.
- Pistachios help in improving cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure levels.
- Out of all the nuts, Pistachios had the most potent effects on reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- The regular eating of pistachios benefits in weight loss and proper management of weight if consumed in dietary portions.
- It’s a good source for proteins for vegans as they contain the maximum amount of protein when compared to other nuts as wells as good for skin tightening, hair growth.
- It promotes good eyesight pistachios are good sources of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that are essential for eye health.
- Pistachios are a great source of antioxidants like the presence of γ-tocopherol, phytosterols, xanthophyll carotenoids to fight against cancer.
- It is also known as a digestive superfood as maintaining the good bacteria in the gut, promoting better digestion, and preventing constipation.
- Kiwi fruits or Chinese gooseberry is initially grown in South Asian countries. Kiwis were introduced to New Zealand by the schoolteacher and named after the bird kiwi.
- They are nutrient-dense and rich in dietary fibres, vitamin c and antioxidants.
- Kiwis can be useful for cheaply getting good skin. Daily eating of kiwis helps in the production of collagen fibres and gives one youthful skin.
- Kiwis can be useful in curing and prevention of constipation issues.
- It is rich in vitamin K that helps in clotting of blood and building strong bones. It helps in the prevention of osteoporosis disease.
- Seaweeds, generally found and grown in waters or near waters. They have an immense number of benefits with fewer in calories like cyanobacteria (spirulina), nori, wakame and kelp.
- They are rich in nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fibres, polyunsaturated acids and minerals.
- Seaweeds contain an abundance of vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, iron and iodine, respectively.
- They help in preventing diabetes by regulating blood glucose levels and insulin level in the body.
- They help in maintaining a healthy gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria and adding algae to the diet helps in generating prebiotics.
- Eating superfoods helps in weigh loss like seaweeds are rich in dietary fibres, keep you full for a more extended period and are fewer in calories.
- Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage paste or a sauce. It is rich in dietary fibres, preventing as well as curing the IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
- Regular Eating of Sauerkraut is rich in natural probiotics and considered good for maintaining the health of the gut.
- Sauerkraut has an immense amount of Vitamin C, hence helps in boosting the immunity of the body.
- Sauerkraut is good for digestion and known for digestive superfoods. Easy to digest and relieves from constipation.
- Sauerkraut is abundant in vitamins A, B, C and K. As vitamin A helps in maintaining proper vision and overall growth of the body.
- Vitamin K improves cardiovascular health as well as builds strong bones increasing its density
- Soy is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin.
- It has nutritional content such as soy and is low in saturated fat, high in protein, vitamin C, and folate.
- Soy is one of the best plant-based proteins for vegan and can be consumed as soy milk or soybeans.
- Soy helps in increasing HDL and improves cardiovascular health, eliminates triglycerides, LDL, and cholesterol.
- Isoflavones in soy help in better management of weight and killing obesity.
- Additionally, Isoflavones helps in reducing the risk of cancers, including breast as well as prostate cancers.
- The Brazil nuts show an immense nutrition profile.
- The presence of nutrients like selenium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and sodium.
- Selenium is an essential mineral for better working, functioning, kicking up the metabolism.
- It also plays a crucial role in the reproductive process as well as boost the immunity of the body.
- Brazilian nuts are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, hence decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and also decreases the bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein(LDL).
- Selenium present in the brazil nuts helps in the treatment and curing of Thyroid in an individual.
- Due to the rich in anti-inflammatory properties, it helps in the treatment of chronic illness such as chronic Kidney disease.
- The presence of selenium in the body improves insulin resistivity and hence treats diabetes.
- Acai powder is extracted from dried Acai berries.
- The powder is rich in antioxidants and contains high levels of essential fatty acids (mainly oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids).
- It also contains proteins (19 amino acids), and dietary fiber with tremendous health benefits.
- Acai powder has a generous amount of anthocyanine, a pigment that helps to prevent proliferation and multiplication of cancerous cells as well as activating the detoxifying enzymes.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties as well as an antioxidant that helps in eliminating the cancerous cells.
- Regular consumption of Acai powder helps in the prevention and cure of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- It also helps in improving cardiovascular functioning by increasing the HDL(High-Density lipoproteins) amounts and reducing the LDL (Low-Density lipoproteins)amounts.
- The pink color in Beetroot juices comes from betanin pigment and has powerful health benefits and dense nutritional contents.
- Eating of beetroot lowers the blood pressure as the presence of high-level nitrate in the beetroot causes the antihypertensive effect.
- Beetroots are rich in antioxidants that reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol and guard against heart disease and stroke
- Beetroots also help in the protection of the heart walls.
- It is a tremendous detoxifier and blood purifier in the body.
- It also helps in curing anemia by increasing RBCs count and also builds stamina in the individual.
- Beetroot is a full package of dietary fiber and minerals like iron, potassium, and manganese are vital for good health.
- Although chia seeds are smaller in size but is a full package of nutrition and health benefits.
- Chia seeds are a powerhouse and abundant source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that help in raising good cholesterol which is HDL(High-Density Lipoproteins).
- The HDL helps in fighting off sudden heart strokes and eliminating the bad fats from vessels.
- Chia seeds are high in dietary fibres, diverse minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, as well as a good source of iron, and calcium.
- Chia seeds on eating keep one full for a more extended period and help in weight loss.
- It helps to prevent and treating of diverticulitis disease.
- You can also read about the diverticulitis diet that will help in reliving one.
- Chia seeds can be helpful in digestive issues and are also called digestive superfoods.
- It also helps to treat obesity and diabetes issues.
Green powder superfoods
When you do not consume enough fresh green vegetables, a dietary supplement replaces and avoids the body becoming nutrient deficit. Green superfood powders are nutritional supplements that are consumed by mixing into water, milk, or any other liquid. The natural plant-based substance is dried and ground finely in powder. It can also be extracted in a dehydrated form and lacked with preservatives. Some of the green powder superfoods are Seaweed like Spirulina, Kelp; Grasses like wheatgrass, barley grass, leafy or cruciferous vegetables like the evergreen spinach, kale. You can also have other fruits supplements powder like the goji berries, blueberries, and many more.
The green powder superfoods are comfortable for student living in a hostel and staying out of their houses. It is easy to carry and an excellent supplement to fulfil the nutrient portion in a balanced diet. These drinks are low in calories if consumed in other liquids. Taking in other liquids adds up the calorie intake. It is recommended that if you consume freshly green cruciferous vegetables, then drinking such green powders. It is also essential to choose products that have fewer preservatives. These drinks can be helpful in detoxification of the body and also work as instant energy drinks. Before taking any kind of green powder, you should talk with your nutritionist and take their advice seriously.
Advantages of Superfoods
- There is an ample number of advantages and benefits of eating superfoods daily. You should incorporate these superfoods into your diet plan. Here are some of the benefits of eating superfoods daily:-
- Superfoods are an excellent source of dietary fibres, vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, E, and minerals in the body.
- Eating superfoods for weight loss and also aid in better management of weight.
- The superfoods are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients such as beta carotene helps in fighting off cancerous cells.
- It also helps in preventing and reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases (hypertension and cholesterol), diabetes, and other chronic illness.
- You can also supplement the advantages of superfoods by performing these easy and simple breathing exercises. And build strong immunity to fight off the diseases.
Disadvantages of Superfoods
- See consuming superfoods can not only give you benefits, but it also harms your body.
- People continue to eat a single food on an entire day, and it adds extra calories as well as results in weight gain.
- Some people just neglect the benefits of other food products, and that results in nutrient deficiency.
- Sometimes people are allergic to kale or seaweeds like spirulina, so it is necessary to take superfoods in full attention.
Yeah, the above superfoods list does not stop here. There are many more superfoods and some are yet to be discovered for their multi-dimensional benefits.
Now we have read about a lot of superfoods such as Vegan superfoods, Green superfoods. You should be eating daily to boost your health, and they promote weight loss. You know the simplest way to increase fibre intake is to eat more and more plant-based. Yes, plant-based and plant-derivative foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, as well as unprocessed grains. So its time to reorganise your kitchen stalls and start filling it up the superfoods. To make it more fun, you may take help with your children, husband, and other family members. Besides, they may also know some facts and the importance of having it a part of life and gradually see the benefits of eating superfoods. You can also do some easy and less time-consuming exercises to get results sooner.
We hope this article helped you to know about What is a Superfood and what makes food a vegan superfood. You may also want to see our guide on How to manage or overcome Binge eating disorder (BED) and Best foods that can help you to improve sleep quality at night.