Like many other health-conscious consumers, you may be well-familiar with the most popular superfoods out there. But here’s the thing. With ‘superfoods’ seemingly spanning over a few food groups (plant-based, fish, and even dairy!), one can’t help but wonder: “What’s a superfood, exactly?”
Don’t worry. This article is designed to help shed some light on the matter so you can effectively cut through the confusion and misinformation surrounding superfoods.
What defines a superfood?
According to several authoritative health sites (e.g. the American Heart Association), there aren't any standard criteria for determining what is – and what is not a superfood. Before you hang your head and despair, note that it’s not all doom and gloom.
It's still widely accepted that superfoods are foods with high levels of nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of antioxidants– including vitamins A, C, and E, plus the minerals copper, zinc, and selenium – that help prevent disease and shield our bodies from cell damage. Other typical characteristics to look out for include:
- High in fibre: This important nutrient helps keep your blood sugar levels normal, digestive system regular and promotes satiety (which boosts weight loss efforts).
- High in phytonutrients: Phytonutrients are natural compounds produced by plants. Some of the most common phytonutrients include carotenoids, flavonoids, and resveratrol – and they're also known to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of chronic health diseases (e.g. heart disease).
5 top superfoods to stock up on
Of course, the following is by no means an exhaustive list of all the superfoods available. But it's an excellent start to what they have to offer.
These dark-purple berries (aptly nicknamed ‘purple gold’) are chockful of fibre, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and even calcium. Thanks to all these compounds, research has found that acai berries may help improve health on several fronts, including improved cholesterol levels, enhanced memory and learning, and even strengthened immune function.
In addition to being the perfect plant-based protein source (since they contain all 9 essential amino acids), these delightfully crunchy seeds are also rich in fibre, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Expect to experience the following health benefits through incorporating these delightfully crunchy seeds into your diet: improved blood sugar control, lower blood pressure, and decreased risk of diabetes.
Ah, coconut oil – just the smell of it evokes thoughts of all things good, like that beach trip a few summers back. But did you know that it's also good for your health? It's true. Coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), shown to suppress appetite, support the immune system, and boost energy and brain function.
Green coffee bean
Green coffee beans aren't quite literally coffee beans that are green in colour. But they are, instead, simply unroasted coffee beans. As a result, they still contain compounds known as chlorogenic acids that exert potent antioxidant effects, which can ultimately help lower blood pressure and boost weight loss efforts.
Also known as eleuthero, Siberian ginseng has been used for thousands of years as a healing remedy. It contains many bio-active ingredients (e.g. amyloid beta-peptides, glucosides, and lignans) – and research has shown that these compounds help boost energy, metabolism, and even physical performance. Siberian ginseng is also known to exert positive effects on the immune system.
Sneak superfoods into your drinks with Lean Blend
When it comes to superfoods, the challenge isn't knowing which foods to include – but, instead, actually working more of these into your daily diet, especially if you’re not a fan of their taste or texture.
Here's a secret: it doesn't have to be complicated! Especially not with Lean Blend's Superfood Infused ESPRESSO and LATTE, which delivers some of the most potent superfoods around along with what's quite possibly anyone's favourite beverage in the world: coffee. There's nothing like it — taste for yourself.