Top superfoods you can add to your diet & their benefits

by Hannah de Gruchy November 21, 2018

Top Superfoods in 2018-for the Ageless

Superfoods - do they actually exist?

Essential Food for the AgelessSuperfoods are defined as ‘a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and wellbeing’. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Eating fresh, natural and clean foods that not only taste delicious, but they’re also especially good for you. Well, it is wonderful! There are, however, rules and regulations on the claims and health benefits that can be made by superfoods. We agree with any rule that means spurious claims cannot be made without science-led studies to back them up.

Superfoods are generally foods which contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols and are normally plant-based. The term superfood is not a legal or medical definition, and using the term does attract naysayers who don’t believe that there is such a thing. The term ‘functional food’ is becoming well accepted in research bodies and although not officially recognised, it is accepted as a term for a food that has demonstrated health benefits above and beyond that of basic nutrition.

Organic foods are also superfoods

Flower drink
Here at for the Ageless, we believe that food can indeed be super. When we think of a diet of processed, fried, high-sugar foods full of beige ingredients with longer chemical names than we dare to think about, and then compare that to a diet of fresh and colourful fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, spices and grains, we can’t think of any other word to describe the latter, other than super.

We can’t wait for the food regulatory bodies to catch up and in a sense, when facing the amount of accumulated evidence, they already have taken the first steps.  Organic foods, we know, are much more nutrient-dense than non-organic foods, so just by being organic a food, by definition, becomes a superfood. There's plenty of university research to prove this from Stanford University's to our own British studies on the difference between organic and non-organic foods. And organic foods are legally recognised via certification.

Top superfoods right now

Here are the top superfoods listed in our superfoods collection. Let's talk in depth about their ingredients and how we believe, and how studies show, that they are indeed, superb for us.

Organic spirulina, super sea protein

Green smoothie spirulinaNo superfood list is complete without a mention of spirulina. Organic Spirulina is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. It’s roughly 70% protein, contains all the essential amino acids we need and is high in the essential fatty acids gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), linoleic acid (LA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It also contains all the B vitamins and vitamins C, D and E, potassium and other minerals and ten carotenoids which give spirulina its amazingly rich, deep blue-green colour.

Spirulina helps regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, aid healing after a stroke, suppress viral infections such as herpes and has a protective effect against heart disease and diabetes. Many, many studies have linked spirulina with a positive effect on the immune system and its antioxidant prowess as a protector against cancer. Aside from the health benefits to us as a nutraceutical, spirulina is very easy and cheap to grow and harvest and is being used as a nutrient-rich food source in many remote and impoverished parts of the world.

It’s also a serious contender for being an edible vaccine. Plant-based edible vaccines are already in use as cheaper, easier to transport, store and administer alternatives to vaccines for preventable diseases, particularly childhood ones. If this doesn’t give spirulina a superfood status gold star, we don’t know what will.

Organic quinoa, slow-release energy

Quinoa grainOrganic quinoa is a grain packed with a unique mix of amino acids, fats, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. It’s gluten-free and has more bioavailable protein than all other grains including rice and oats. Quinoa is low GI and has a higher soluble fibre content than wheat or maize. This soluble fibre helps lower the pH of the body and allow good bacteria to colonise the gut, and as such is known as a prebiotic.

The vitamin E in quinoa protects fatty acids from becoming oxidised. Essential fatty acids are crucial for immunity and optimum brain and cardiovascular health. Quinoa is also a great source of beta-carotene, B vitamins, vitamin C and carotenoids, all in higher levels than in other grains. Phytic acid, found in many grains, binds to iron, making the iron not so bioavailable. Quinoa has a lower concentration of phytic acid than other grains.

Turmeric, powerful anti-inflammatory

Turmeric powderTurmeric, a flavourful, deep yellow spice is a staple in many Asian diets. And for good reason. Numerous studies have proven that the active ingredients in turmeric; turmerone, curlone and curcumin, can eliminate free radicals and have a significant anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Even more excitingly, turmeric has been shown to increase carcinogen detoxification and is, therefore a considerable force in anti-cancer remedies and should be studied further. Not just a delicious flavouring for food, but a powerful nutraceutical.

Kelp for cardiovascular protection

Kelp leavesKelp is a form of seaweed from the brown algae family that is packed with essential nutrients and is a well-studied nutraceutical. Seaweeds are a staple food in East Asian countries and are full of soluble fibre, peptides, good fats and minerals. This unique nutrient profile has been linked by scientific research to a preventative effect on cardiovascular disease.

These marine microalgae are being considered as foods of the future due to not only their nutrient profile but their ability to grow without using land or freshwater. The Japanese regularly eat macroalgae such as kelp and have the world’s longest life expectancy and the lowest rate of heart disease. It’s for this reason microalgae are now being studied as functional foods and why we’ve included kelp in our All-in-One Superfood Powder. 

Essential Food tops our list of organic superfood blends

Our list of superfoods starts with Essential Food. This award-winning all-in-one superfood powder is a potent blend of organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, seeds and grains that are easily dissolved in water giving you a refreshing, nourishing and filling drink any time of day. 

Essential Food's awards for the Ageless

It contains a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, protein, omega fatty acids and essential amino acids and among other organic ingredients contains spirulina, quinoa, turmeric and kelp, all in one tub to complement a wholesome breakfast or for a pick-me-up any time of the day.

References

Barzegari, A., Saeedi, N., Zarredar, H., Barar, J., & Omidi, Y. (2014, August). The search for a promising cell factory system for production of edible vaccine: Spirulina as a robust alternate to plants. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4896766/
10(8): 2497–2502. 

Graf, B. L., Rojas-Silva, P., Rojo, L. E., Delatorre-Herrera, J., Baldeón, M. E., & Raskin, I. (2015, July). Innovations in Health Value and Functional Food Development of Quinoa (Chenopodium Quinoa Wild). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957693/
14(4): 431–445.

Liju, V. B., Jeena, K., & Kuttan, R. (2011, September/October). An evaluation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from Curcuma longa. L. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195121/
43(5): 526–531.

Cardoso, S. M., Pereira, O. R., Seca, A. M., Pinto, D. C., & Silva, A. M. (2015, November). Seaweeds as Preventive Agents for Cardiovascular Diseases: From Nutrients to Functional Foods. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663556/
13(11): 6838–6865.

 

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Hannah de Gruchy
Hannah de Gruchy

Author

Health and wellness author and biologist specialised in sustainability, nutrition and eco-living.


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