With the rise of superfood popularity, comes more detailed questions about them. What are the foods on the superfood list, what are their effects on our health, and what are their qualities that make them so “super”?
Get in your reading mood and feed yourself some superfood info. All the answers can be found in one place, in the following article. Let’s go!
Explained in the most simplest of terms, bone broth is a liquid that contains slow-brewed animal bones and connective tissues. Its popularity comes from its dense nutrient content which can vary depending on the type of broth. Every version of bone broth out there has its own inherent nutrient content and it is a powerful source of minerals like:
- Calcium – vital for the health and strength of bones and the proper function of muscles, hearth, and nerves
- Magnesium – needed for muscle and nerve function
- Phosphorus – important for bones and teeth, and the making of DNA
By adding vegetables to bone broths you can bring even more nutrients to the table.
Bone broth also contains gelatin, glucosamine, and collagen.
- Gelatin – important for the flexibility of joints and cartilage health
Gelatinous amino acids such as arginine, glycine, glutamine, and proline may invariably add to the intrinsic beneficial effects of bone broth and help with maintaining immune function and the health of our skeletal muscles , cartilage, muscle tissue, and even our gut.
- Glucosamine – helps support joint flexibility and integrity of cartilage
- Collagen – has a strong role in the formation of connective tissues and helps with the maintenance of the lining of our guts
Traditionally-made bone broths are believed to support immune system function and it’s always best to choose homemade instead of store-bought (store-bought can contain artificial meat flavouring instead of the real deal).
Hemp hearts are unshelled hemp seeds, which are a part of hemp plants. But don’t worry!
They will not “get you high” because they have little to no psychoactive substances.
But what they do have is a plethora of nutrients, which is why they are one of the most talked-about superfoods and why we have included them here on this list.
Notable vitamins and minerals found in hemp hearts are:
- Iron – an essential component of red blood cell protein (carries oxygen from lungs to tissues) necessary for growth, healthy connective tissues, neurological development, and synthesis of hormones
- Manganese – important for energy making, strong bones, and blood clotting
- Magnesium – essential for regulating sexual organs, muscle and nerve function
- Zinc – important for immunity, sex hormone production, wound healing, and sense of taste and smell
- Copper – important for making energy, connective tissues, blood vessels, maintaining nervous and immune systems
- Phosphorus – an important component of bones, teeth, DNA, and RNA
- Potassium – helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contraction, and nerve signals
- Vitamin E – as an antioxidant, it helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals and maintains the immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses
Apart from minerals and vitamins, it contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which can help with maintaining proper cholesterol levels and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Hemp hearts are also plentiful in fibers and plant-based proteins.
You can add these to your diet by sprinkling them on cereal, salads, putting them in yogurt, adding them to smoothies, or making hemp milk. But don’t overdo it, moderate amounts are the best, healthiest, and safest option because of their high-fat content.
Stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica) is a plant whose leaves, stems, and roots can be made into powders, tinctures, and creams. But the most common use is in the form of tea. The name Urtica dioica comes from the Latin word Uro – to burn, and it makes sense naming it like that because when the tiny leaf hairs touch your skin it sure burns for a while.
On the other hand, when made into a supplement, dried or cooked it’s totally safe for consumption.
Nettle is linked to a plethora of benefits, most likely because it contains :
- Vitamin K – helps with the making of proteins needed for blood clotting and bone-building
- Vitamin A – vital for normal vision, immune function, and reproduction
- B vitamins – among many roles they have a role in brain health and immunity
- Calcium – needed for strong bones
- Manganese- needed for immunity and energy
Also rich in osteocalcin promoting factor which, is a noncollagenous protein hormone found in bone and dentin, that requires vitamin K to produce healthy bone tissue and prothrombin is a vitamin K-dependent protein involved with blood clotting. Osteocalcin also in linked in cognition and male fertility.
Compared to barley and wheat flour, nettle powder has much higher levels of polyphenols, higher antioxidant activity, and higher levels of protein, fibers, fats, and calcium. It also has a low glycemic index which is important for maintaining proper blood sugar levels.
Polyphenols (plant chemicals) may play a role in the prevention and improvement of diseases related to inflammation such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Due to its components, it may have many beneficial roles like a role in arthritis, rheumatism, muscular paralysis, and potentially cancer prevention. There are some claims that it can reduce inflammation, aches, and pains of osteoarthritis.
Often found as “number one” on many superfood, these little dark berries can offer a range of health benefits. They may not have an exciting or vibrant colour, but their flavour and nutrient content will surely make your body happy. Among all of the nutrients blackberries offer us, they are most plentiful are in:
- Vitamin C – an antioxidant that protects from oxidative damage, important for collagen synthesis, has a role in wound healing, immune function, improves the absorption of iron
- Manganese – involved in the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, and glucose, has a role in bone formation, immune response, and blood clothing
Anthocyanins are also an important nutrient in blueberries. They are pigments with antioxidative effects that give blackberries their dark colour and help us fight inflammation.
Apart from being great for the health of our digestive tract, high-fiber diets have often been linked with better heart health and a lower risk of diabetes. And fiber is definitely something that blackberries have a lot of.
Blackberries have a low glycemic index (GI). Good news! This means they are a food that will not spike your blood sugar levels.
They may help with oral health as well. Research suggests that their extract may have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties and may help with periodontal infections and gum disease.
You can eat them raw as a snack, put them in morning oatmeal or a fruit salad, maybe even a smoothie. Either way, blackberries are not only good for you, but they sure are tasty!
Olive oil is good for your health and that is well known, especially when cold pressed and extra virgin varieties are consumed. It is also an important part of the Mediteranian diet which is often recommended by virtually all health workers, albeit doctors or nutritionists, alike.
The main component of olive oil is a monounsaturated acid called oleic acid, and it might be very helpful in the prevention of even cancer.
This oil is a source of:
- Vitamin K – important for blood clotting, wound healing, and bone metabolism
- Vitamin E – as an antioxidant it protects from oxidative damage caused by free radicals (oxidative damage can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancers)
Olive oil is a source of at least 30 phenolic compounds. The major phenolic compounds in olive oil are oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol. They have antioxidant and antimicrobial abilities. Typically, hydroxytyrosol is a superior antioxidant and fighter against free radicals to oleuropein and tyrosol.
Virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal. It has similar anti-inflammatory properties as ibuprofen. This has brought attention to oleocanthal and a few studies have verified its anti-inflammatory and potential therapeutic actions. Because of these constituents, olive oil is linked to a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. Add it to your diet and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.
Lions Mane Mushrooms
This interesting-looking mushroom got its name due to a look similar to a scruff of a lion. It may offer a range of health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved brain and heart health. It has been reported that it may help with:
- fighting and preventing cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- improvement of anxiety, cognitive function, and depression
Studies done by many researchers show that selected mushrooms do have neurotrophic properties that can be beneficial to humans and their brain health.
- Erinaceus (Lion’s Mane mushroom) has been studied a lot for its neuro health properties and the research has shown that the polysaccharides in Lion’s mane water extract may reduce the risk of cell death caused by neurodegenerative disease (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)
In addition, lion’s mane is said to strengthen the immune system, stimulate digestion, and protect against cancer
So far, apart from animal studies, some small clinical trials indicate that lion’s mane may offer certain health benefits, including support for neuronal health.
- Older adults with mild cognitive impairment who took lion’s mane extract every day for 16 weeks showed significantly greater improvements compared to members of the placebo group.
- Menopausal women that consumed cookies containing lion’s mane every day for four weeks were less irritable and anxious and had less difficulty concentrating than the placebo group.
Generally, superfoods are safe and recommended for better health and wellbeing, but in some cases, like pregnancy, breast-feeding, and regular intake of medications, you should consult a doctor before trying out anything new in your diet, just in case.
And if you need any new food, supplement, exercise, or overall health and wellbeing-related questions answered, Parallelo Health can be your source of health-related information.
What is your favorite superfood? Let us know in the comment section below!