Superfoods load a big punch of nutrition in a small crunch. Dietary substances that provide large proportions of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants etcetera are referred as 'superfoods'. They are a vital part of a truly balanced diet. Superfoods have gained quite a popularity in the recent days as the food trends evolve rapidly over the social media. They may perhaps not fulfil your gluttonous cravings, but they will definitely fulfil your body's nutritional requirements in a rather small quantity.
In addition to being a powerhouse of nutrients and providing all the essential ones, they have various other health benefits as well. Some superfoods have specialised benefits as well, such as tomatoes, which contain high amounts of potassium, fibre, and vitamin C. They also make your immune system stronger and resistant to countless other major and minor diseases.
As the term evolves and more and more people come to know about its benefits, the term 'superfoods' has been exploited so much by packed food manufacturers and global food brands alike. The food industry labels its regular products as 'superfoods' and charges an exuberant sum of money from its consumers. The labelling is not even supported by any scientific research or claims. The European Union has banned the term 'superfoods' in addition to other health claims on packaging unless supported by scientific evidence.
In order to counter this ban, giants in the food industry are spending thousands of dollars on academic research. This is being done in order to support the health claims mentioned on the packaging and make their product a 'superfood'. Some have even been successful in doing so. But the problem yet prevails as the researches are more than often conducted on concentrated extracts of food. Thus the claimed benefits may not be found in the natural state of foods.
But you need not spend an exuberant sum of money to include these so-called 'superfoods' in your diet. Instead, you can find them lying around your house. Broccoli, oats, cinnamon, turmeric, tomatoes are a few to mention. You can find these items for a rather cheap price in any supermarket.
Superfoods may appear to be a new concept as the trend evolves via social media. But if we contemplate our past, we'll realise that superfoods are around for a rather long time.
If you look back a couple of hundred years or so in the modern history when medicines, as we know them now, were yet a fantasy, you'll find mentions of these superfoods. If a person fell ill, he'd be medicated by a variety of herbs, roots and other parts of a plant. Examples of such superfoods with medicinal properties include turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and almonds among countless others. These age-old medical herbs and vegetables evolved into what we refer as 'superfoods'.
The ancient Indians were aware of these superfoods long before the knowledge spread to the western world. The Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, had mentions of these superfoods. The Ayurvedic superfoods also form an important part of Indian festivals and festivities. Almonds, ghee, honey, saffron etcetera form a crucial part of the offerings offered to Gods and deities in the festivals all over the country. These Ayurvedic superfoods occupy an important part of the Indian taste palate. Here are few of the most important superfoods according to the Ayurveda.
1. Ginger: Ginger is a well-known ingredient that is found not only in a majority of Indian and western dishes alike, it's something that it is commonly available in our houses. It is known as the 'Healing Spice of Ayurveda'. Fresh ginger could provide relief from nausea and dried ginger is useful for joint pains.
2. Turmeric:Turmeric, the superfood that is gaining international popularity day-by-day, has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It may provide relief in symptoms of various skin conditions and could also regulate the blood sugar levels. It plays a vital role as a medicine in Ayurveda.
3. Ghee: Ghee or clarified butter, as it's commonly known, is a gem of Ayurveda. It is, in fact, healthier than butter or refined oil and is known to even control cholesterol, thanks to its content of omega-3 fatty acids. According to Ayurveda, it must be consumed daily in order to maintain a healthy eyesight and radiant skin.
4. Cinnamon: Cinnamon, the "super spice", was more expensive than gold in the ancient days. It improves digestion and blood circulation, removes toxins from the body, and was originally used in the effective treatment of respiratory and sinus congestion, bronchitis, colds, and the flu.
The Ayurveda is filled with an exuberant amount of such superfoods. Dates, almonds, honey, saffron, basmati rice are a few to mention. Ayurveda encouraged people to inculcate these superfoods in their daily and regular diet in order to lead a healthy lifestyle and prevent falling sick.
In fact, our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves, given that it is not lacking a healthy supply of essential nutrients. Superfoods, as mentioned before, are nutritionally very dense and are loaded with the nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy.
Nature itself wants to eat superfoods, thus it has blessed us with abundant of superfoods that can serve as our staple diet. Moreover, nature bestows upon us with the superfoods in specific conditions that are best for us in that particular weather, such as summer or winter, or geographical location such as the plains or the coasts. For example, root vegetables that are superfoods such as carrots, radish, turnips etcetera are abundant in nature. They have high mineral and nutrient content, which is essential in the winters since the nutritional requirement of the body increases in the winters. On the contrary, watermelon is a superfood that is abundant in summers. It has high water content, which is crucial for summers. It is low in sugar and high in vitamins A and C.
In fact, if you niche down the fruits, vegetables and other dietary substances that flower in a particular season, it is a superfood that nature itself is begging you to consume.
Yet, there are superfoods that must be consumed throughout the year to maintain a healthy body. Below are some superfoods that you can easily include in your daily diet.
Eggs: Eggs are superfoods that are available throughout the year and have high nutritional values. Moreover, they are very easy-to-cook. They are a powerhouse of potassium, folic acid and vitamins.
Broccoli: A handful of broccoli has way more calcium than a glass of milk. The superfood also has an abundant quantity of minerals and vitamins.
Oats: Oats are a rich source of fibre, magnesium, potassium, and phytonutrients. The fibre in oats may lower blood sugar level. It is a superfood with which you should start your day.
Salmon: Salmon is a healthy superfood that is packed with a great amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Almonds: Almonds are one of the most nutritious and healthy nuts, with large amounts of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron.
Millets: Millet is a gluten-free superfood with high amounts of vitamins. Various studies have proved that it may be even healthier than whole wheat.
As essential as it is to make superfoods an integral part of your diet, it's equally essential to stay away from artificial superfoods. Instead, try to consume those nutritionally rich foods that are abundant in nature.