The term superfood is a buzzword that has been on a journey up and down in popularity. It first exploded and marketers were throwing around the term to call everything a superfood. Shortly thereafter the backlash arrived. “Superfood are a scam!” yelled certificated enthusiasts all over the globe.
Is there anything that we can learn from this “superfood” movement? Is it all worthless? Well not really. What is has done is highlighted a few foods that are packed full goodness and something called Polyphenols these are defined as:
“…abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. The health effects of polyphenols depend on the amount consumed and on their bioavailability.”
So, now that we have all been completely confused, let’s move forward. In essence the superfood idea had a positive overall effect, since it got people thinking about micronutrients in their diet. So let’s have a look at some of the best “superfoods” out there, and look at some key benefits for your health, and how they can fit into your fitness goals.
This delicious little berry has been heralded as a superfood, but has not gone down in anyone’s estimation since the death of the term.
1 cup of blueberries contains the following:
- Fiber: 4 grams.
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDA.
- Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 25% of the RDA.
Blueberries are also have a huge effect on boosting antioxidants in the body, especially the anthocyanins. The antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to protect LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) from oxidative damage, which helps reduce the chances of heart disease. This also holds for heart attacks, and a reduction in these is linked with anthocyanins.
From a muscle building and fat shredding perspective, blueberries are excellent. In a study, 67% of subjects eating 2 blueberry smoothies per day showed a 10% increase in insulin sensitivity. Which means, as we all know, more muscle. Another interesting fact for athletes is that it has been shown that people who ate a large amount of blueberries each day performed 5 to 6 percent better on motor skills tests than a control group. This will translate into better movements in the gym, and a better physique.
This is an obvious choice for all who are interested in gaining muscle and losing fat. The amount of saturated fat in 100 grams is a mere 0.48grams. Not bad if you are looking to capitalise on your calories for the day. Saturated fat aside, turkey boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol, supports a healthy thyroid and of course the obvious – protein, and lots of it. Moreover skinless turkey is one of the leanest meats and sources of that protein good we’re looking for.
One secret about it is that turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan. Have you ever had that Christmas meal and you really needed a nap after? Well that’s down to tryptophan. Tryptophan makes you really sleepy, so with that in mind why not incorporate this superfood in your dinner and get the added benefit of an easy nights rest to allow a little extra time for muscle repair.
Despite how horrific these taste, we all know someone who loves them. We should all be more like that guy. Brussel sprouts have more glucosinolates than any other vegetable. These nutrients are available in all cruciferous vegetables, but Brussel sprouts tops them all.
They have been shown to prevent cancer, and to help with detoxing the body. Even if they taste a little nasty, just suck it up and get them down you. There are plenty of recipes to make them taste pretty great, so give them a try, your body will thank you.
The mighty egg. So simple in it’s elegance, yet packs a powerful punch in terms of nutrient content. The protein to calorie ration is fairly good at 6 grams to 72 calories. There has also been seen a link in a university study by those who eat eggs for breakfast and weight loss.
Organic, free range eggs generally pack more of a nutritious punch, since the hens are grazing on a far higher quality of food. A great source of protein, and some good fats to start your day with.
White rice? I thought brown rice was the key to all my love handle problems! Although brown rice is a fantastic carb source, it does have some detractors. It is high in Phytic acid, which can inhibit enzymes that we need to properly digest proteins and starches. In high amounts, this acid can impair protein digestion, mineral absorption and lead to GI distress.
For people who are committed to regular gym work, the purpose of carbs is to fuel workouts, and help the body grow. Although “whole grains” such as brown rice get lots of good press, they can have a downside. They are more difficult to digest, and if you are consuming these regularly, it may affect your gut health. People often praise whole grain food for being fibrous, and fibre is very important.
However, it would be more beneficial to be getting fibre from plants, especially if you are consuming large quantities of rice. To sum up, both are good, but for long term white rice may be easier on your gut, and still carry all the “super” components of brown rice.
This is the quintessential example of marketing mania surrounding a product. However, in the case of coconut oil, the hype might actually be true. Detractors will cite the high fat content, which is true. However, the fat content of oil is misleading, as you will be only using a few grams per day, unless you are strange and eat coconut oil by the kilo. I am guessing you aren’t.
The benefits of coconut oil are numerous, the Lauric acid in coconut oil has been shown to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. These antimicrobial benefits are why it is also used as a cosmetic. Another part of the coconut oil is the MCT (medium chain triglycerides), these have been seen to help brain function, and have even been explored to help with dementia.
The list of so called superfoods could be enormous. But hopefully these will give you some inspiration, and let you begin to think more about the nutritional content of the food you eat. Adding these into your diet regularly will clean out your insides, and bring you closer to that ideal physique you are chasing.