Friday, March 29, 2013
Article # 432. Super Foods
Super foods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes.They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. We all may be adding more salads and vegetables to our diets, but concern over the quality of foods grown on mineral depleted soils makes Super foods an intelligent choice.
The foods are generally whole, natural foods that contain various vitamins, minerals or antioxidants. Those who tout them suggest that by incorporating a variety of these exceptionally healthy foods, one's overall physical health can improve.
The foods that carry superior nutrition, or the "top health foods," are solid sources of dietary fiber and various other vitamins and minerals. They offer phytonutrients, or plant-based nutrients considered exceptionally healthy, as well as antioxidants, which support the body's immune system and may reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses. Super foods are generally nutrient-dense, but not high-calorie, meaning a large portion carries relatively few calories compared with other foods and are readily available to consumers. They are free of added sugars and low or free of saturated fats. In general, super foods hold the capacity to help reduce the risk for chronic diseases and infection while improving physical health and enhancing longevity.
Examples of popular super foods include nuts such as almonds and walnuts, which provide healthy fat as well as protein and fiber. Almonds also have more calcium than other nuts, and one serving of almonds offers half the body's vitamin E requirement. Fruits that make the super foods list include berries. Blueberries prevent urinary tract infections and are rich in vitamin C and fiber. Salmon is a popular super food for its healthy omega-3 fat content. Broccoli is often listed for its dense amount of nutrients, including antioxidants that can reduce risk for multiple diseases such as diabetes and some forms of cancer. Sweet potatoes offer valuable amounts of fiber; vitamins B-6, C and E; folate and potassium. Wheat germ is a common super food, known for its concentrated amounts of niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. It also contains protein, fiber and some fat.