What are superfoods?
What are superfoods?
Fortunately, more and more people are waking up to a greater awareness of their organism and everything that may be beneficial for it. After all, as they say, 'our body is a container in which we are depositing everything that goes through our lives: activities, thoughts, food ...' it is logical then to think that it would be appropriate to introduce optimal elements to maintain our container in good condition.
In recent years the word 'superfood' has become very fashionable. It is evident that there is a lot of marketing around this expression. But what exactly is a superfood? Why are they so beneficial? What foods are considered superfoods?
Before continuing with the explanations I would like to clarify, in broad strokes, two basic concepts that will help to understand the functionality of the vast majority of superfoods. In human nutrition we have two types of nutrients, macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are those that provide us with the energy necessary to live. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
On the other hand we have the micronutrients that, despite not providing energy, are essential to maintain health, because without them it is impossible to carry out most of the metabolic processes in our body. Micronutrients are minerals, trace elements, vitamins and amino acids in isolation.
The majority of products that enjoy the condition of superfoods are because they are rich in micronutrients. So they help our body to optimally perform their different metabolic, hormonal, immunological, digestive, circulatory processes ... translating this into an improvement of our health.
Now, in no way can we base our diet solely on superfoods, but we must take them as a complement to it. I refer above all to those products that are presented in dehydrated, powder or seed formats, whose contribution in macronutrients is quite low.
The word or expression superfood has no established definition. It is the form that is normally used to refer to that group of foods rich in micronutrients, which provide benefits to our health and which are usually seeds, berries, roots or fruits of exotic origin and unknown to most consumers.
Although also, as we will see below, there are many superfoods that we usually eat without knowing that they are.
The first time we see the huge list of superfoods, the thought goes through our heads: this is impossible to achieve in my city. In some way it is true. Normally herbalists are usually well stocked with these products, but we can rarely find them all. Moringa, purple corn, lucuma, baobab, aronia ... sometimes they are very difficult to find, at least in my case.
It is also true that 120 years ago the banana was a 'superfood' difficult to see in western markets and today is a daily product in all our homes. The same has happened, more recently, with spelled, oats or sesame seeds and flax; Two decades ago they had very little presence and today they are common products in our kitchens.
It is possible to think that many of these foods that today seem to come from Mars, in a few years we can find them with relative ease.
Luckily, the list of superfoods is so extensive that we also find many products that we usually consume without knowing that they are. Obviously, these are very easy to find in our usual market.
Our star food, olive oil, is a clear example of this; Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants make this food an ally to regulate cholesterol levels. Many have spent their entire lives consuming olive oil without knowing it is a superfood.
It also happens with bananas, chickpeas, lentils, pumpkins, carrots, cabbages, artichokes, red fruits, apples, grapes, pomegranates, cinnamon, garlic, onions and a long list of products that we consume frequently and that, by providing extraordinary benefits for our health, are part of this long list of 'superfoods'.
As you have seen, superfoods provide our body with an extra amount of micronutrient, thus helping to improve our health. Some of these products are everyday in European culinary customs and others are imported from the culinary culture of other continents. Come from wherever they come, they will always be good allies to help us keep our organism in good condition.
I encourage you to seek information on all superfoods and vintages in your usual diet, always remembering that, in terms of food, the true panacea is to have a varied and balanced diet and drink at least two liters of water a day.
By Saulo Amado.