What Makes A Superfood Super?

Less than a decade ago, food was food. It’s what you ate when you were hungry, and if you wanted to eat healthy, you selected something labeled ‘fruit’ or ‘vegetable’ as a snack or meal addition.

Enter: Superfood.
All of a sudden, ordinary foods we’d known for years were joined by extraordinary foods we’d likely never heard of in a new rank of “do more” foods called “superfood.” And in the mad dash to start finding and devouring these foods with superhero-like powers in the hopes of being imparted (perhaps) with super powers of our own, many still don’t know the difference between superfood and “regular” food.

So, what IS a Superfood?

What Makes a Superfood “Super”
Also called a “functional food” in some markets because it refers to the food’s ability to affect more target functions of the body than just those that aid basic survival, superfoods consist of the following key elements:

  • Clean protein
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Enzymes
  • Antioxidants
  • Good fats
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Amino acids

They are also rich in phytochemicals, which are known to have disease-fighting properties.
Basically, a superfood’s nutrient composition (vitamins, antioxidants and minerals) is notably higher than what the body’s basic nutritional needs for survival require.

Examples of superfoods you may be familiar with are:

  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Quinoa
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Mulberries
  • Cacao (raw chocolate)
  • Red grapes
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Mangoes
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic

Examples of more exotic superfoods that may be harder to find are:

  • Papaya
  • Acai
  • Chia seeds
  • Goldenberries
  • Goji berries
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pomegranate
  • Flax seed

So, WHY Superfood?
The body cannot possibly get every nutrient it needs from a single food. As a result, a person needs to consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods are throughout the day. The advantage of eating superfoods versus other foods (and even other fruits and vegetables) is that, since they often have more nutrients per gram of volume (aka nutrient density), you get more nutrients per bite than you would eating any other healthy food.

In addition, though the term “superfood” is not scientifically defined and specific health-benefit studies are still in the works, the antioxidants within superfoods are known to help shield human’s organs from cell damage and help the body perform its instinctive/biological disease-fighting functions more effectively.

How Do I Choose the Right Superfoods?
Eat Smart makes it easy; each of our products contains at least one, and up to EIGHT delicious superfoods. Some are dippable (paired with your favorite dressings, or potentially with hummus or nut butters), some are ready to stir-fry with savory sauces, and others come in complete salad kits with dressings and toppings paired perfectly with the salad’s superfoods. See these super options for yourself here.  You can also dig into a complete list of our products’ superfoods and which key nutrients they contain.

If you’re curious to see the actual nutrition score of our superfoods, most of which are on the Top 30 Superfoods list, check out Top 30 Superfoods nutrient score chart to see how your favorite superfoods stack up to the others.

 

 

 

Sources:
http://navitasnaturals.com/images/uploads/pages/File/FA_Infographic%20Poster_3_26_14_SITE.pdf
http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-superfood.htm

 

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