Wednesday June 12, 2019
A superfood is a food that has more nutrients (antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals) for your body when comparing calorie to calorie with another food.
Did you know? Superfoods are also referred to as “functional foods” because the term refers to the superfood’s ability to affect more target functions of the body compared to foods that aid basic survival.
Superfoods consist of the following:
- Clean protein
- Essential fatty acids
- Amino acids
- Rich in phytochemicals
Examples of superfoods you may be familiar with are:
Acai berries: These small purple berries are grown in South America. Acai berries contain 19 amino acids and powerful antioxidants.
Goji berries: This small red berry is native to Asia. Goji berries are high in vitamin C and E, along with various flavonoids.
Dark chocolate: Research has found that dark chocolate is high in flavonoids. Flavonoids contain antioxidant properties, and support the immune system.
Wine and grapes: Resveratrol, the polyphenol found in wine that made grapes "heart healthy". Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes. Other flavonoids found in grapes is quercetin, is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to protect against the damage caused by LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Quinoa: Quinoa has mild nutty flavor and is one of the only grains that provide all nine essential amino acids our bodies can't produce themselves. This makes quinoa a complete protein.
Kale: One cup of kale provides 550 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K, equivalent to over 680% of a person's daily value. Kale is an excellent source of nutrients including folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber.
Garlic: Closely related to onions, garlic is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B, and selenium. Research indicates that garlic may be effective in maintaining cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as immune support due to its antioxidant properties.
Green Tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds and anti-inflammatories. One of the most famous antioxidants in green tea is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. Research also indicates that the combination of catechins and caffeine in green tea may make green tea an effective weight loss. Click here for more weight loss tips
Curcumin: Originally from India, curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. It has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. Studies show that curcumin may aid in pain reduction and support heart health.
Avocado: Avocados are high in monounsaturated (healthy) fats. Oleic acid, the most predominant monounsaturated fats in avocado. Monounsaturated fat is linked to anti-inflammatory function in the body.
Mushrooms: Though nutrient content varies depending on the type, mushrooms contain vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and several antioxidants not present in most other foods. We know what antioxidants are good for, anti-inflammatories.
Noni is a raw superfood
Naturally low in carbs, noni fruit contains over 165 beneficial compounds. Nitric oxide, quercetin, and rutin are among them. Noni fruit also contains 17 out of the 20 amino acids. This means, noni fruit can aid the body in maintaining blood sugar and blood pressure levels already within the normal range, as well as support immune system functions. The important thing is how has your noni fruit been processed? If it is fermented and pasteurized most of the beneficial compounds found in the raw pulp have been destroyed. That is why at Hawaiian Organic Noni on our organic family farm we grow, pick and process all of our noni for maximum potency-not fermented and low-heat processed below 115F.
These tips can help you get more superfoods into your diet:
- The more colorful your plate, the more flavonoids and antioxidants you are consuming
- Add greens (like kale, cabbage, and spinach) to soups, chilis, and stir fries.
- Ensure you have a fruit or a vegetable every time you eat. Bananas are an easy, travel friendly option (link to noni fruit leather banana blog)
- Make turmeric, cumin, oregano, ginger, and cinnamon your go-to spices to increase antioxidants in your food (click here for recipes)
- Snack on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit instead of crackers and chips
Quality matters over quantity
Even those of us who eat primarily superfoods aren’t off the hook! Industrial agriculture is also slowly draining nutrients from America’s soil, spraying toxic chemicals, and polluting our water sources, with the result that even fresh fruits and vegetables may not be as nutritious as they were when your parents were children.
Only by knowing your farmer and understanding the practices they use to ensure fertile soil and low contamination can you trust that your food is really safe, sustainably grown, and maximally nutritious. We know most of you don’t live in Hawaii, which is why we publish so much information about our farm and our farming practices on our blog!