Superfoods are foods that are deemed to have special health benefits and few, if any, negative nutritional properties. They tend to be, for example, extremely high in nutrients and low in toxins and saturated fats.
Some superfoods are naturally high in anti-oxidants and are thought to have anti-aging benefits. Others, such as raw cacao, are believed to be excellent at targeting specific ailments and are eaten to reduce high blood pressure.
Superfoods are super because they are unusually efficient as a nutritional source. The term “superfood” is a buzz word at the moment, but one thing is certain, superfoods are healthy and very effective at boosting energy levels.
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Why Are Superfoods So Important?
Superfoods contain a much higher nutrient-to-calorie ratio than most other foods and are, therefore, considered by many to be the best foods to eat. Superfoods are, of course, whole foods; they are not man-made or processed.
Many think it’s their unadulterated properties that make them so special. The list of superfoods is growing ever longer and it can be confusing, trying to decide which superfoods are best for your needs.
A good tip is to try and eat foods which are from as broad a spectrum of colours as possible, to obtain the maximum health benefits. So, you could choose leafy greens, brown cacao, red strawberries, blueberries and yellow bananas for a colourful rainbow of superfoods.
Here is a list of some more superfoods that are great for instantly boosting flagging energy levels:
Quinoa is perhaps the ultimate superfood. It is a grain predominantly grown in South America and it has the highest levels of protein of all grains. Quinoa is also gluten-free, high in fibre and quick to cook, making it popular with health-conscious people the world over.
Quinoa was once held sacred by the Incas who respected its amazing powers as a superfood, believing that it gave them added powers of stamina and endurance.
Today, we believe that quinoa helps to reduce the symptoms of anaemia, amongst many other health benefits. It is very rich in iron, which is essential for the circulatory system, and carrying oxygen around the body. A bowl of quinoa will release energy slowly and is an excellent way of improving your energy levels.
2. Dried Mulberries
Dried white mulberries are becoming increasingly popular in the UK as they are a source of raw food protein, which is rare in the fruit and vegetable world. As well as containing numerous vitamins and nutrients, mulberries are a good source of resveratrol which is an antioxidant believed to have a positive impact upon heart and cardiovascular health.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate, you might be able to enjoy fresh white mulberries. In the UK, however, only dried mulberries are available in health food stores and a growing number of supermarkets. Enjoy them on their own as a snack, or blended into smoothies, or sprinkled into a granola mixture for an energy boosting breakfast.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables, especially very dark green ones such as kale, spinach, and chard are packed full of vitamins and nutrients which will improve your energy levels and help your immune system to ward off colds. These vegetables are usually very inexpensive, which is important in these straitened times.
Full of fibre, low in fat, and high in many nutrients, leafy dark green vegetables help to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent constipation. Eat plenty of these, and you will have a spring in your step!
A good quality organic salmon fillet is high in protein and rich in essential fatty acids. Salmon is a superfood as the high levels of protein are used by the body to rebuild damaged muscles. The high levels of protein stop hunger pangs and cravings, whilst maintaining energy levels, making it a good choice for slimmers.
5. Natural Peanut Butter
A natural jar of peanut butter, without any added ‘extras’ is a superfood as peanuts are absolutely full of cholesterol-reducing fatty acids. Peanut butter is a good protein source for vegetarians, and a serving of peanut butter on wholemeal toast is a delicious energy-boosting meal.
6. Raw Cacao Beans or Powder
Cacao is truly a superfood as it raises endorphin and serotonin levels in the brain, as well as containing a wide array of nutrients. Raw cacao powder has an abundance of anti-oxidants and sulphur. Sulphur, in particular, is very good for your skin.
Raw, organic cacao beans or powder has very high levels of magnesium which helps to energize muscles, increase brain power and help the growth of strong bones. A cupful of cacao is a cheery way to instantly raise energy levels.
Coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut flesh; all are extremely good for you. Coconut oil, although high in fat, is the healthiest of all oils. Coconut water is a deliciously refreshing drink that is fat-free and high in potassium and easily digestible enzymes.
Coconut flesh is very high in fibre, vitamins and amino acids, and has always been regarded as a healing food in Polynesian cultures. Coconuts are often used by athletes to replenish their energy levels.
Flaxseeds have been cultivated for centuries and have recently seen a resurgence in popularity. This is because they are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as lignans, phytoestrogens and fibre. It is available from health food shops in seed form, ground into flour or as an oil.
Enjoy flaxseeds sprinkled onto yogurts and cereals. They can be hard to digest, so you could try soaking them in a glass of water overnight for a nutritious morning drink or you could bake them into muffins. Flaxseeds are great at providing energy boosts as they have high levels of proteins.
Like dark green vegetables, seaweed is a superfood, although seaweed is arguably even better than land-grown vegetables. As the roots of seaweed sink deep into the seabed, seaweed is rich in trace minerals not found in land. Chlorophyll-containing algae are thought to be particularly good at improving energy levels.
Bananas are perhaps the best superfood for providing instant, sustainable and significant boosts of energy. As well as providing enough energy for a vigorous 90 minute aerobic workout, bananas are high in fibre and contain tryptophan, a natural chemical that the body converts into serotonin.
This results in a sense of well-being and happiness. Low in calories, high in carbohydrates and rich in potassium; the banana is undeniably a “superfruit”.
Health by choice, not by chance.