Veetee Blog UK: What Are Superfoods?
22 July 2016
One of the food trends that people often claim can reduce the risk of chronic illness and disease is "superfoods". It has been claimed that some superfoods offer health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, but what exactly are superfoods and what makes them so super?
There is no official definition for a superfood, which means there are no set criteria or specifics that make one food better than another. No, that doesn’t mean you can indulge on cakes or chocolate and get away with calling them superfoods!
While there is no definitive list of superfoods and not-so-super foods, the former are widely considered to be foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These foods offer a high level of nutrients that you don’t get from eating other food groups.
What are considered superfoods?
There are some food types and groups that are considered to be superfoods for their nutritional value. The most common foods that are referred to as a superfood are things like blueberries, salmon and acai berries. Berries and some other fruits are known to be high in antioxidants, which are recognised to help lower the risk of disease in some cases. Salmon in particular is high in omega-3 fatty acids, much like other types of oily fish, and are important for maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Wholegrains and beans are also widely accepted as superfoods. Both of these food types are considered to be superfoods because they are a great source of low-fat protein, as well as being high in fibre and vitamins. Wholegrains and beans often tend to provide a longer lasting feeling of fullness thanks to their soluble fibre content. Not only this, but they can help to lower cholesterol and are an all-round healthy option for meal times.
Importance of a balanced diet
Although the term superfood isn’t a scientific definition, there seems to be plenty of "solid evidence" being shared around that eating larger amounts of so called superfoods will improve your health. However, many studies are based on concentrated samples of superfoods and don’t take into account the amount you would have to eat to actually benefit from the food's nutrients.
It’s important to remember that a balanced diet is always the best way to eat healthily. There are plenty of foods that aren’t considered to be superfoods that are also important for your diet. We don’t recommend changing your diet too heavily and start eating large amounts of superfoods, as this could have a negative impact.
What are the benefits?
Despite the fact that superfoods are not necessarily proven to improve your health or reduce the risk of disease, they do still offer a number of benefits. Superfoods are generally rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can make your diet healthier. If you don’t include any superfoods in your diet then you could be missing out on a number of these important nutrients.
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Many people eat healthily but are undernourished because they don’t have a balanced diet. Introducing superfoods in smaller amounts can be extremely beneficial for your diet. By substituting superfoods for unhealthy snacks in your diet, you could improve your health massively and help to reduce the risk of chronic illness.