What is superfood?
Superfoods are types of foods which are nutritionally enriched, making them ideal for good health. We provide a superfoods list.
There’s no official criteria for superfoods, because “superfoods don’t have their own food group”, explains Despina Hyde, a registered dietician with the weight management program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “As a dietician, I think ‘superfood’ is more of a marketing term for foods that have health benefits.”
The intake of enriched nutrients is something we can all agree is a terrific idea. Although it’s worth mentioning that a superfood really works its magic when enjoyed at the right quantity, and in the right combination. That’s what this section is all about. Let’s go!
Matcha superfoodIn simplest terms, one could consider matcha as a green tea. Historically, it’s worth mentioning that it’s a tea the Chinese have been drinking for hundreds of years. Moreover, this has been also been a prime part of the Japanese culture too. People in Japan have long believed matcha to have benefits when tackling anxiety and helping to improve focus. Since those ancient times, matcha has been used in numerous ways. Matcha is made of green tea leaves that processed during cultivation and harvest. These tea leaves are not tossed away during consumption, so matcha preserves much more benefits compared to traditional green tea. There’s such a huge amount of antioxidants present in matcha, making just one cup so powerful and beneficial when you compare it to conventional beverages. For example, one study found that matcha contains between 3 and 137 times more EGCG antioxidants compared to traditional green tea.(1).
The goji berry originates in Asia, where locals have been using this brightly coloured fruit for 2,000+ years as a medicinal herb and food supplement. Goji berries are widely available in health food stores, and are a common ingredient found on superfood menus.
Goji berries are believed to protect against age-related eye diseases and help vision because they contain high levels of healthy antioxidants. These include zeaxanthin, which helps build layers that protect your retinas against the sun’s ultra-violet rays. Antioxidants in general are known for their immune-boosting qualities and their ability to fight harmful free radicals and inflammation.
Chocolate has numerous antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and boost overall heart wellbeing.
Choose chocolate with at least 70% cacao or cocoa, to optimise the antioxidant power and health benefits.
Chocolate bars with lower percentages of cacao have more added sugar and unhealthy fats, so try to avoid these when possible.
Wheatgrass is your friend when it comes to helping your body fight free radicals (unstable atoms in your body that can damage your cells). Low in calories, wheatgrass also provides protein, potassium and vitamins.
Wheatgrass is made from the newly sprouted leaves of conventional wheat plants, and has the capacity to offer an exaggerated amount of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. Moreover, it also provides additional chlorophyll which contains extra vitamins and nutrients. Enjoy wheatgrass in juices, smoothies, or even in raw form.
Wild blueberriesAny discussion about superfoods has to include blueberries. These are overflowing with vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese as well. These flavourful fruits are also high in fibre, with studies suggesting blueberries can help lower blood pressure too(2). For extra sweetness in salads, add blueberries, or just have them as a healthy snack option.
Cinnamon is a popular go-to ingredient for flavouring. However, cinnamon gives you much more than that. It also comes enriched with antioxidants and has been linked with lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Cinnamon has also cited as having anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal treatment for swelling.
Another name you always have to include in a discussion about superfoods. Avocado is full of mono-unsaturated fat (otherwise known as “the healthy fat”), vitamins C & K, plus plenty of potassium. Avocado is also popularity because of its versatility – either spread it over toast, in salad or add it to a nutritious wrap or pitta.
Also known as Rapina, the broccoli rabe is a green veggie which deserves its place on any top 10 list of superfoods. The broccoli rabe is full of the bone-building vitamin K, plus folate, calcium & manganese too.
Broccoli rabe can minimise inflammation, which can help fight osteoporosis. It also safeguards against eye disorders, heart issues, and may even help your body against cancer as well.
Advantages of matcha superfood
Matcha is a superfood, with some super-clear benefits showing why:
- Matcha green tea has been found to possess up to six times more antioxidants than goji berries, seven times that of dark chocolate, 17 times more than blueberries and 60 times more than spinach(3).
- ECGC is a core part of the antioxidant family, with these “catechins” beneficial for your heart, effective for weight loss, and even anti-aging elements.
- Matcha is a great companion for exercise, coming with plenty of energy and anti-inflammatory properties. What’s more, matcha fights free radicals, which may play a role in the development of cancer.
- Matcha contains around six times as much chlorophyll as normal green tea. Chlorophyll is a green pigment which exists in plants and helps bring antioxidants that benefit your skin, blood and heart, while potentially reducing joint inflammation.
- You consume the leaves of matcha, unlike green tea where just drink the water. This means one cup of matcha gives you the same nutrients as up to eight cups of normal green tea. Plus, matcha releases energy slower and more constantly, helping you manage your body and weight.
- Matcha is the ideal option when you want to reduce your intake of energy drinks and their artificial ingredients. You get a natural boost of energy, without the risks to your immune system and metabolism.
- We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of matcha to your body. Matcha also has a beneficial effect on your mental health, due to its L-theanine. This amino acid creates a sense of calmness, helping you to relax and recharge.