Superfoods, Eating For Vitality
There is no single food that can offer all of the nourishment that the body needs to function and perform at its best. Fortunately, superfoods come relatively close to achieving this. So what are they and what do they do? Can they really improve our health, wellbeing, and vitality?
WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
Superfoods come from all different food groups. There are fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, roots, seeds, nuts, oils, even micro-algae! In general, to be labeled as super, the source must be rich in beneficial compounds such as fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.
In fact, when incorporated with a healthy diet and lifestyle, there are remarkable internal and external changes that can occur…
- Improvements in overall health, wellness, and vitality
- Strengthen and boost the immune system
- Lessen the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases
- Reduce and manage chronic pain and inflammation
- Improve cognitive health and function
- Lower and manage healthy blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels
- Support healthy metabolic function and response
- Improve bone and joint-related diseases including osteoporosis, osteopenia, rheumatoid/psoriatic/osteoarthritis
- Lessen symptoms of fatigue and physical exhaustion
- Reduce signs of aging
- Remove and protect the body from harmful toxins and oxidative stress
- ….this list could go on and on
SUPPORTING VITALITY THROUGH WHAT YOU EAT
It’s amazing what these nutrient powerhouses can achieve and the evidentiary benefits that continue to be discovered through science-backed research studies. I’ve worked with many nutrition clients who were dealing with health complications that would’ve otherwise received traditional treatment. I can say that I’ve witnessed firsthand just how super-superfoods!
Client (a) followed a superfood rich diet with one-on-one nutritional coaching and programming. This client was successful in managing psoriatic arthritis and achieving weight loss. Client A’s lean muscle mass also improved with lowered inflammatory markers.
Client (B) focused on a combination of superfoods, holistic supplementation, and one-on-one nutritional coaching to help manage and alleviate menopausal symptoms and related weight gain. She found an great balance between these areas and was able to succssfully handle the hormonal changes. What’s more exciting is that she was able to achieve a healthier mindset and overall body composition.
These are just two of the many experiences I’ve had over the years, but how exciting and amazing is it to know that our diet can heal and provide a better quality of life.
A LOOK AT SOME POPULAR SUPERFOOD SOURCES
This group of supers is loaded with antioxidants that help control free radicals, lower oxidative stress, protect cells, and lower inflammatory markers. In addition, berries are also low on the glycemic index and contain essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and manganese.
Two of my favorite superfood fruits are apples and plums! Apples are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and are a concentrated source of flavonoid antioxidants.
Plums are full of health-protective plant compounds and are rich in hydroxycinnamic acids that help reduce cellular damage.
It’s no coincidence that the term healthy is commonly associated with the color green. This is the same color as one of the most powerful and amazing superfood groups. Check out these 3 reasons why dark leafy greens are super healthy.
1. Extremely nutrient-dense and loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and phytochemical properties to reduce illness-disease-chronic pain and inflammation-toxins-cellular damage-cognitive decline and signs of aging; 2. Contain active compounds like nitrites that play a role in converting fat-storing white cells into fat-burning brown ones; 3. Support oxygenation, alkalization, and detoxification.
Vegetables are an essential part of a well-balanced diet. If you’re selective about what veggies you eat, consider those from the superfood category first.
Pumpkin contains an amazing immune boosting combo of vitamins A, C, and E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Garlic is effective in reducing bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Sweet potatoes are abundant in potassium, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. And have been found to support healthy blood sugar levels.
NUTS AND SEEDS
To keep it simple, here’s one nut, one seed, one spice, and one grain.
Compared to other nuts and seeds, the pistachio contains greater amounts of antioxidants. What could be better? They also provide the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two vital properties for healthy eyes.
Hemp seeds are a great fat and protein source. First, they provide high amounts of the essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3. Second, 25% of hemp’s total calories come from high-quality protein.
Turmeric contains the bioactive compound curcumin. Acting as a strong natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric supports inhibition of cancer cell death and therefore a reduction in cancer growth/spread.
Kamut is an ancient grain that provides 17% of men’s daily fiber and 25% of women’s. This high fiber count helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.