The word superfood is one that can get thrown around quite a bit, so today, we thought that we would talk about what superfoods are, and answer some of the questions we are commonly asked about superfoods.
So, what are superfoods?
While some people may assume that the word superfood is just a marketing ploy, for a food to be considered a superfood the general consensus is that it offers a high level of nutrients, is usually low in calories (especially when compared to the high level of nutrients it contains) and offers health benefits to the person ingesting it.
Sometimes referred to as power foods, superfoods will tend to be rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the good kinds of fat. The levels of these health promoting compounds will be significantly higher than other foods, and often these foods will be linked to research surrounding their potential health benefits.
Superfoods will also usually be minimally processed and are largely plant based, though there are meat and dairy foods that are considered superfoods too.
Where did the term superfood come from?
The term superfood is actually more than 100 years old and is believed to have first been used by The United Fruit Company in the 20th Century (around 1918), in a bid to promote the benefits and practicalities of bananas. An article was published in a volume of The Scientific Monthly journal, where the easy digestibility of bananas, as well as their nutritional content were touted.
The health benefits of bananas was explored heavily in the early 20th century, and for a time, doctors suggested that they could be used to help treat various conditions, such as diabetes.
Over the years that followed the term superfood was used more and more and often associated with a food that provided its eater with health benefits. Countless experiments and research have been conducted over the last century to truly understand the effects and benefits of various superfoods, and for many superfoods, this research will be ongoing and continue to evolve.
Are superfoods actually super?
Not all foods are created equal. There are foods that do contain significantly higher levels of nutrients and compounds that could have positive effects on your health. There are also foods that contain nutrients known as phytonutrients. These are natural chemicals or compounds that are produced by plants and help to keep plants health.
Phytonutrients enable plants to resist fungi, infections, and bacteria, and are essentially defensive chemicals. When a food contains phytonutrients, then it is often considered a superfood and can offer a variety of health benefits to the eater.
It is important to note that while lots of comprehensive research can be linked to many different kinds of superfoods, for some superfoods, the research is still in its early stages and the way a phytonutrient rich superfood may impact your health could differ significantly compared to another person.
What sorts of benefits can you get from superfoods?
Adding superfoods to your diet could provide you with a whole host of benefits. Some of these include:
- Weight loss
- Improvement of energy levels
- Boost in cognitive function
- Slow down the effects of ageing
- Promote body recovery
- Improve digestion and gut health
- Strengthen the immune system
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
As we mentioned before, the effect a superfood may have on you could be different to someone else. It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t rely only on superfoods to improve the way you feel. A well-balanced diet that is enriched with superfoods is the best chance of you experiencing these benefits.
Should I eat superfoods?
Yes, if you want to!
For a superfood to be considered a superfood, it will need to contain higher levels of nutrients than ordinary types of food. It is also usually organic and minimally processed which is positive.
But it’s also important to temper your expectations and not solely rely on superfoods to solve your problems. The genetic make up of a person, as well as their lifestyle can impact the way any food interacts with their body, including superfoods, which can make it difficult to determine if you’re going to experience the health benefits that other people have.
If you enjoy the taste of a superfood or the way it makes you feel, then there’s certainly no harm in eating it!
What kinds of superfoods are there?
There are many different foods that are considered to be superfoods. Many fruits, like some berries and vegetables, like some mushrooms are considered to be superfoods. As well as nuts, teas, eggs, fish, and grains.
Superfoods can also be found in various forms – such as the whole food, powdered extracts and even tinctures. This is beneficial because some of the fruits, vegetables, and plants that are considered to be superfoods, like acai berries, chaga mushrooms, elderberries and pine pollen can be difficult to get your hands on the fresh source – depending on where you are in the world. But being available in these other forms, they are usually able to last longer and be more readily available.
These other forms of superfoods also makes it easier to get your intake of superfoods, as often it can be hard to squeeze everything into your diet. But with a tincture or powdered extract, you just need a few drops or a small spoonful to get your dose. You can learn more about the different formats of superfoods here.
Where can I get superfoods in Australia?
Well, you happen to be in the right place because here at Superfoods Australia, we’re the leading retailer of superfoods in Australia.
We offer our superfoods in various forms, including powdered extracts, tinctures, capsules, oils and the actual food itself. Many of our superfoods have been grown right here in Australia, and we practice sustainable and ethical sourcing for our entire product range.
If you’re looking for your next superfood, check out our range here at Superfoods Australia today.