We list the top 10 superfoods and define what constitutes a superfood and how they can boost health, reduce allergies and reduce the risk of cancerSimply put, superfoods are foods that are better for your health because of the micronutrients that they contain.
They can help avoid inflammation, help with allergies and reduce the risk of cancer.
What is a micronutrient? Micronutrients include three categories, they are vitamins, minerals, and the other category is phytonutrients. This word is from the Greek word “plant”, and is a naturally occurring substance which is non-vitamin and non-mineral in nature.
Some phytonutrients help to facilitate the ability of our cells to communicate with one another. Some prevent mutations at the cellular level, and some prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.
The three most important of these phyotonutrients are
- Polyphenols – act as antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties and are anti-allergic. Examples are teas, nuts and berries
- Carotenoids – pigments in red and yellow vegetables – act as antioxidants and protect us from cancer and help with the effects of aging. Examples are sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, mangoes, apricots.
- Phytoesrogens – They are naturally occurring chemicals which act to prevent hormonal related cancers such as prostate cancer and breast cancer. Hence they are literally plant estrogens. Examples are soy, whole wheat grains and some vegetables and fruits.
The top 10 superfoods
- Beans – All beans are included in this category of superfood - Poloyphenols occur in high concentrations in all legumes.
- Soy – Is an inexpensive high quality, vitamin and mineral rich plant protein with lots of soluble fiber, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and most importantly it contains a wealth of disease fighting phytonutrients. This superfood is the richest source of phytoestrogens, that plays a role in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. It has a healthy mixture of fats and no cholesterol and it offers the highest quality protein of any plant food.
- Broccoli – Contains more polyphenols than all other vegetables. The only other vegetable that contains more is red onions and beets. It has particular compounds that have a significant effect on lowering your risk for developing cancer.
- Brown Rice – High in fiber and loaded with Vitamin b, floacin, iron, ptassioum, zinc and trace minerals. It is a whole grain that has the bran, endosperm and germ all in tack where the antioxidants and phytonutrients lie. Processed grains have these layers striped off, and therefore do not contain the phtyonutrients of the brown rice variety.
- Garlic – This powerful anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial food lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. In order to benefit from these health boosting effects it is important to mash the garlic prior to eating, the act of mashing releases the micronutrients from the garlic.
- Wild Salmon – It has the richest, tastiest readily available source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a polyunsaturated fat, which protect us from a multitude of diseases including coronary artery disease, hypertension, cancer, mental health problems such as depression, and mitigate autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Yams (sweet potatoes) these are filled with carotenes that provide protection against tumor growth and heart disease. They are soluble fibers which also are great for digestive health of your bowels and colon.
- Nuts – They contain plant sterols which reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and are a good source of protein, fiber and are high in antioxidants.
- Blueberries – Contains more powerful disease fighting antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. It helps to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, promotes digestive health, as it is rich in pectin, a soluble fiber which helps to relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
- Oats – They are low in calories and high in fiber and protein. This superfood's biggest claim to fame is its cholesterol-lowering power, which helps decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.