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“Look up in the sky, it’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s…a bean sprout?” That’s right, gone are the days of the traditional superhero, for the age of the cell phone sadly breeds a lack of telephone booths/dressing rooms. Today’s superhero looks much like you and me, though they have a secret; a secret that gives them the energy and well-being needed in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle while traversing the stress-inducing, rigorous terrain that is modern, everyday life. Their secret: the all-powerful Superfood!
So what exactly is a ‘Superfood?’ They are “a special category of foods found in nature” according to FoodMatters. “Calorie sparse and nutrient dense, they are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients- nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.” These special foods are “powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, maintain your weight, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood” according to WebMD. Moreover, there are no side effects as with prescription drugs when eating superfoods, as they are all natural, unprocessed foods that the body readily accepts.
Blueberries are known to have excellent antioxidant properties and they are also high in potassium and Vitamin C in addition to being anti-inflammatory. Another berry rich in antioxidants known to be one of the most powerful and nutritious superfoods is the Acai (ah-sigh-ee). The Acai berry’s high concentration of antioxidants and essential fatty acid and essential amino acid content make it great for cardiovascular and digestive health, muscle retention, and combating premature aging.
“Green Superfoods” are known to have the “highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins, and minerals to protect and heal the body.” Helping to build muscle, aid in digestion, and help protect against illness, these chlorophyll-rich superfoods include Chlorella, Spirulina, Blue-Green Algae, Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, and green leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Kale, and Parsley. This special group of superfoods helps create more oxygen in the blood, leading to healthier cells.
Sprouts such as mung bean, alfalfa, radish, or onion provide a good source of protein and Vitamin C. Sprouts also have a high enzyme content, making them easier to digest than the bean from whence they came, and as we age our bodies produce fewer enzymes which make superfoods like sprouts all the more essential.
There are beneficial seaweed superfoods such as Nori and Kelp and even superfoods that come from bees such as Propolis, Bee Pollen, and Royal Jelly. Some superfoods such as these can be found at supplement/vitamin retailers, rather than the neighborhood grocery store. In addition to those already mentioned, Dr. Perricone lists several more vital superfoods that should be added to any diet including Hot Peppers, Nuts (Raw and Unsalted), and Probiotics (yogurt or supplements).
With so many healthy options out there that can improve your mood and help fight off disease, the power is really in our hands. We simply must seek out these superfoods, incorporate them into our daily diet, and reap the nutritional benefits. One needs only to keep away from fast food and processed foods that are high in sodium, high-fructose corn syrup, and trans-fats, aka nutritional kryptonite.