Feel Great

What Defines a Superfood?

by Jocelin Lamprey, NEPA

Everywhere we go these days, it seems like there is a new ‘Superfood’ right around the corner. So what exactly is the buzz about these foods and why are they coined ‘Superfoods?’ As of now, there is no straight definition of what a superfood can be. The best way to describe SuperFoods is that these foods tend to be unprocessed and nutrient dense.

An unprocessed food means that it is in a raw state. You can find unprocessed foods in nature. Good examples of unprocessed foods are: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean fish. If you are familiar with many superfoods, they most always belong in one of those categories.

What sets raw and unprocessed foods apart from other foods is their nutrition content. The nutrition content of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are what enable a lot of them to become the next ‘Superfood.’ These particular foods have so many beneficial vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, it is no wonder they’re given the ‘Superfood’ title. This category of food also has lower calorie content versus processed foods for the most part. Part of having a nutrient-dense food is that you get many more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals compared to calories. Superfoods should be eaten in abundance and every day.

Some of the most popular superfoods are broccoli, salmon, blueberries and avocados. All of these foods contain great amounts of very healthy nutrients for the human body. Broccoli is known as a superfood for its contents: folate which is beneficial for fetal development in babies, vitamin A which is good for vision,  and vitamin C, which helps your immune system. Salmon is high healthy fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats help brain development and are important to eat on a daily basis. Blueberries are extremely high in antioxidants which help slow the effects of aging. Avacados contain many vitamins, minerals and healthy fats as well.

Now that we have explored what SuperFoods are and why they are named as such, there is good reason for their popularity. Although many foods are advertized and sought to be healthy, it is always important to do research before believing health claims on products. A good rule of thumb is the closer the food is to its raw state and if the calorie content is relatively low, there is a good chance you’ll be getting the many health benefits. Try grabbing a few SuperFoods next time you’re at the store—you won’t regret it.

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