The foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories are referred as ‘Superfoods’. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.There are no standard criteria or legal definitions to classify a food as a superfood at this time. Most superfoods are plant-based.
Antioxidants are natural molecules found in certain foods that help neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are natural byproducts of energy production that can wreak havoc on the body.Antioxidants decrease or reverse the effects of free radicals that are closely linked with heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease and other inflammatory or ischemic conditions.
Common superfoods :
The higher levels of flavonoids in berries have been shown to lower the risk of a heart attack. A few commonly identified superfood berries include acai berries, blueberries, raspberries, tart cherries, cranberries, and goji berries.
Soybeans have a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of phytochemical. The isoflavones in soy have been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. soy may prevent age-related memory loss. Soy isoflavones are also known to decrease bone loss and increase bone mineral density during menopause. They have been reported to reduce menopausal symptoms.
Tea contains few calories, helps with hydration, and is a good source of antioxidants. Catechins, potent antioxidants found primarily in green tea, are known for having beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.both green and white tea had a lowering effect on stress levels and that white tea had an even greater effect.
Leafy greens typically identified as superfoods are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, and collard greens. These foods are rich in vitamins A, C, E, K and many B vitamins. These leafy greens also contain an abundance of carotenoids, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. One cup of kale provides 550 micrograms of vitamin K, equivalent to over 680 percent of our daily needs. Kale and other leafy greens are high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
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Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids. Flavonoids are shown to have antioxidant activity, prevent coronary heart disease and certain types of cancer and boost the immune system. The component in chocolate specifically responsible for these benefits is cacao powder, derived from cacao beans. Keep in mind that chocolate may have added ingredients — such as excess sugar — that could negate these benefits.
Resveratrol, the polyphenol found in wine that made it famously “heart healthy” is found in the skins of red grapes.Resveratrol can protect against diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. These are conditions caused by poorly controlled diabetes where vision is severely affected.