Superfoods, despite being termed “super”, alone do not provide all the necessary nutrients and minerals1. Superfoods do not belong to any particular food group and there isn’t a clear scientific definition either.
Superfoods tend to contain high levels or a multitude of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, that contribute towards improving your overall health. Superfoods are generally plant-based like kale, blueberries, and acai, but also include certain fish like salmon, and dairy foods like kefir.
As time passes, superfoods are increasing in popularity with #superfood having over 5 million tags as of June 2021. In this way, Instagram is an effective tool for promoting the so-called superfood products and providing recipe ideas of how you can incorporate them into your diet.
What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods include foods that are nutrient-dense, rich in micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and antioxidants that exceed the levels usually found in other food groups. Essentially, their “super” power lies in strengthening your immune system and boosting the vitality of your human body2.
Superfoods also contribute towards promoting heart health and weight loss. When you include superfoods in your diet you may also experience improved energy levels and delays in the aging process.
How Did The Superfood Hype Start?
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health3, in the early 20th century, the United Fruit Company marketed its biggest import food – the banana – as a superfood. The importer’s formulated this marketing strategy on the basis of scientists and medical journals claiming that bananas were good for diabetics and celiac.
Superfoods And The Benefits Of Including Them In Your Diet
There are a few foods that can be singled out for special recognition. These “superfoods” offer some very important nutrients that can power-pack your meals and snacks, and further enhance a healthy eating pattern.
You can easily include superfoods in your diet – from breakfast to snacks to main meals and desserts. They are in no way a meal replacement and on their own do not lead to a balanced diet. Superfoods are a great way to boost your daily nutrient intake for example a bowl of blueberries on its own isn’t a nutritious meal, but blueberries in a smoothie as a snack are great in fulfilling the daily fruit intake. In addition, to increasing your consumption of nutrients, superfoods help elevate unwanted symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog, dull complexion, and slow metabolism. Most importantly is that superfoods help spike up your feel-good factor!
Superfood List – The Top Superfood by Type
Superfood Greens. Dark, leafy greens are rich in nutrients, vitamins such as vitamin A, C, minerals, phenols, antioxidants, and fiber. Superfood Greens include broccoli, kale, wheatgrass, spinach, spirulina, and avocados.
Superfood Grains. Whole grains contain several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and can contribute towards lowering cholesterol and protecting against heart disease and diabetes. Superfood Grains that are also gluten-free include quinoa, bulgur wheat, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, and fonio.
Superfood Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds are a good source of plant protein and are ideal as an on-the-go snack or to be used as a topping to breakfast. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease. Superfood Nuts and Seeds include chia seeds, flax seeds, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds.
Superfood Powders. These pre-made powders are dehydrated extracts that facilitate the inclusion of superfoods into your diet all year round. You may opt to sprinkle them on your meals or mix them all up into smoothies! Examples of Superfood Powders include blueberry powder, mushroom powder, goji berry powder, and beet powder.
Other popular superfoods that are easy to include in your meal plan include olive oil, berries and Greek yogurt.
Superfood Recipe Ideas
Here are some simply delicious superfood recipes that you need to try.
- Breakfast Recipes: Hibiscus Crepes With Coconut & Hibiscus Sauce, Fonio Pancakes, Super-Cacao Pancakes,
- Snack Recipes: Banana Boost & Energy Bars, Berry Bite Energy Bars, Superfruit Blast Energy Bars, Super Cacao Peanut Butter Protein Balls, Fonio & Moringa Crackers, Cacao & Cinnamon Popcorn with Goji Berries
- Meal Recipes: Fonio Stuffed Tomatoes, Spinach & Moringa Pancakes, Fonio Mushroom Balls in Creamy Polenta, Fonio Courgette Fritters, Creamy Avocado & Moringa Pasta
- Sweet Recipes: Fig, Banana & Dark Chocolate Cake with Cacao Cream, Healthy Super-Cacao Nutella, Hibiscus Pannacotta
- Drink Recipes: Hibiscus Juice, Pink Hibiscus Latte, Baobab Summer Fruits Spritzer
- Superfoods Smoothie Recipes: Clean Green Smoothie, Cherry & Baobab Smoothie, Baobab Citrus Smoothie, Mango & Moringa Smoothie, Baobab & Blueberry Smoothie, Mango & Baobab Smoothie, Choco Banana Smoothie, Chocolate Smoothie with Passionfruit
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1 American Heart Association: “Get Smart About Superfoods Infographic”, https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/get-smart-about-superfoods-infographic
2 Wolfe D. Superfoods: The food and medicine of the future. California: North Atlantic Books. 2009:10-49.
3 Harvard T.H. Chan: Superfoods or Superhype?