Superfoods are a hot topic today. But just what exactly are they? And which ones should we include in our diet—reds or greens?
Superfoods are a category of foods that contain a high concentration of nutrition. It is therefore believed that including these in our daily diet may promote general health and well-being. Superfoods are delightful sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to assist the body in fighting cellular damage by neutralizing free radical damage. Superfoods are also low in calories, high in fiber content and therefore, make excellent fillers for those on a diet.
Nutrition experts recommend that you fill your plate with a rainbow diet—an assortment of different colored foods to obtain a variety of nutrition. In particular, we should include both red and green superfoods. Here’s why:
Green superfoods have the least calories, are high in fiber and contain compounds that nutritionally assist your body in burning fat. They contain a high percentage of condensed nutrition—vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy bacteria. All of these promote health, aid digestion and support detoxification. Green superfoods provide a variety of phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein. Beta-carotene helps to promotes cell protection. Zeaxanthin and lutein nutritionally serve our body in protecting our eyes from age-related problems.
Green superfoods contain chlorophyll. This is the pigment that imparts plants their green color. Chlorophyll is similar in structure to the molecular structure of human blood. Chlorophyll helps to increase hemoglobin production, resulting in more oxygenated blood. Oxygen is necessary for cells to survive and replicate.
Some of the important, but least talked about, green superfoods are:
Wheat grass. This is sprouted wheat seeds. It does not contain gluten or other allergens so is specially suited for allergy-sensitive individuals. It contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and chlorophyll. It is said to aid digestion, promote general health, and detoxify the body of heavy metals.
Barley grass. This green superfood has five times more iron content than spinach. It contains more calcium than cow’s milk (eleven times more) and contains seven times more Vitamin C than orange juice.
Spirulina.1 This is a micro-algae and consists of sixty percent protein! It contains a whole spectrum of B vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, enzymes and amino acids.
Chlorella.1 Chlorella is a fresh water algae and contains a complete protein profile, higher in protein content than beef or soybeans. It also contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and amino acids.
Green leafy vegetables.
Spinach, mustard sprouts, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, parsley, watercress, kale, broccoli—all these vegetables are readily available and highly nutritious.
Nutrition experts recommend that you eat at least one to two servings a day of these vegetables. Population studies show that those who do run a lower risk of heart disease and perhaps other critical illnesses.
Red superfoods are rich in phytochemicals such as lycopene and anthocyanins. Lycopene, being a strong antioxidant, effectively help your body neutralize free radicals, nutritionally assisting blood vessels and heart function.
Some of the best red superfoods are said to have many health benefits:
Pomegranates. They are known to have anti-inflammatory properties which may aid to relieve the inflammation in arthritis. Pomegranates are also known to assist the body to maintain sugar levels in diabetics.
Tomatoes.2 Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, potassium and vitamin C which support heart health.
Red beans. Red beans are good sources of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and thiamine (Vitamin B1). They’re also an excellent low-fat, low-calorie, vegetarian source of protein.
Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a soluble fiber that may aid the body in its ability to maintain healthy blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Fresh apples are also good sources of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects your body’s cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C is needed to form collagen. It also supports the healthy functions of capillaries and blood vessels and helps in the assimilation of iron.
Other red superfoods include strawberries, a good source of folate and vitamin C. Cherries are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium. Cranberries are believed to help protect the body from urinary tract infections and help to your body protect itself from stomach ulcers.
Our body needs all the important nutrients found in all kinds of food sources, especially green and red superfoods. A busy life, hectic schedules can often lead us to neglecting our diets and turning to fast foods or junk foods which are more convenient. They are high in calories, low in fiber and extremely low in essential nutrients. In the long run such a lifestyle will take its toll on our health making it vulnerable to various health problems.
A healthy diet and a daily exercise program are recommended for general health and well-being. But if this is not possible, you can conveniently find many of the superfoods described above in wholefood health supplements, like Ruby Reds and Royal Green Ultra. The best way to optimize your health is to choose supplements that give you all the benefits that a well balanced diet is able to give.
- Healing With Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford. North Atlantic Books, 1993 Diet and Nutrition: A Holistic Approach, Rudolph Ballentine. Himalayan Int. Institute 1978.
- Arab L, Steck S (2000) Lycopene and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 71: 1691S-1695S