What are Superfoods?
Anuja Dani

Anuja Dani

Mar 11Nutrition

What are Superfoods?

The term "superfood" has lately been in the spotlight. A superfood is highly nutritious or advantageous to your general health and wellness. Studies show that superfoods can help in preventing diseases to a great extent.

Superfoods are whole foods in their most natural, complete, and raw form, inherently designed by nature to provide super nutrition. They are most normally plants, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants . Nonetheless, it's critical to recall that while no standard definition exists for the classification, superfoods tend to be plant-based. Generally speaking, superfoods have the following characteristics:

  • A decent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and different nutrients. High in phytonutrients and antioxidants, for example, vitamins A, E, etc.
  • Readily available to be incorporated into the daily diet.
  • Lessen the risk of heart disease or other health conditions.

Benefits of Superfoods

  1. Improve heart health : Various superfoods have properties that help control 'bad' cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They add soluble fiber to your diet, which ousts bad cholesterol from your body before it gets into circulation. They are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids which promote a healthy heart.
  2. Help digestion : Superfoods are generally plant-based, and this implies, they're high in fiber. While fiber isn't digested by our digestive enzymes present in the stomach, having a fiber rich diet aids bowel movements, eases constipation and can also act as a stool softener by retaining more water within the gut.
  3. Lift metabolism : Different superfoods have properties that make your metabolism more productive. For instance, cinnamon manages blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity, which are essential in maintaining metabolic rates. Lentils are rich in iron, a lack of which can prompt weight gain. Thus, including a decent blend of superfoods in your diet could lead to a higher chance of weight loss.  
  4. Improve immunity : Superfoods promote better functioning of immune B cells, which are key in creating disease-fighting antibodies. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties of superfoods protect your body against germs or bacteria.
  5. Improve bone health : Superfoods promote stronger bone health in both men and women. However, they impact women’s bone health more profoundly as they are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men because they tend to have smaller, thinner bones. Once they reach menopause, their estrogen (a bone-protecting hormone) levels decrease sharply. Superfoods like low-fat yogurt ensure that women get enough calcium. Plus, it has probiotics to keep everything in their GI tract running smoothly.
  6. Encourages healthy skin complexion : Superfoods are rich in vitamins like Vitamin A which helps in maintaining a healthy complexion, controlling acne, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Foods like tomatoes are loaded with the antioxidant lycopene boost the immune system. Tomatoes can help fight breast cancer and heart disease.
  7. Improves retention : Superfoods like blueberries are rich in antioxidants. They help fight wrinkles, keep your brain sharp and retain things better. They also contain anti-cancer nutrients called anthocyanins.
  8. Minimise menopausal flashes : Superfoods which are high in soy protein (like tofu) can lower cholesterol and minimize menopausal hot flashes owing to the plant chemicals called isoflavones that have a structure similar to estrogen.
  9. Fights breast cancer : Superfoods like flax seeds are rich in estrogen-like compounds called lignans which help in fighting breast cancer. They have no lignans when consumed in the form of oil.
  10. Improves chances of conception : It is important for the prospective mothers to consume at least 50 percent of whole grains. Substituting animal-based proteins for plant-based proteins like quinoa helps in increasing the chances of conception. This also helps in stabilising blood sugar levels and even regulates the menstrual cycle.


Some superfoods for you!

  • Garlic: Garlic is rich in nutrients including vitamins C and B6, manganese, and antioxidants. Garlic extract is an effective treatment for yeast infections.
  • Lemons: Lemons are rich in vitamin C, iron, magnesium, fiber, nutrient B6, calcium, potassium, copper, folate, and potassium. They are low in sugar and easily available.
  • Lentils: Lentils are rich in fiber , folic acid and magnesium. The fiber specifically causes you to feel full and satisfied.
  • Quinoa: Quinoa can be an extraordinary substitute for other refined carbs. It is an incredible source of fiber that promotes healthy weight loss and helps fight inflammation. It is rich in vitamin B and iron which is significant for the healthy production of red blood cells. It also promotes healthy skin and hair.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt is a great source of calcium and protein. It also contains live bacteria called probiotics. These “good bacteria” can improve gut health.
  • Nuts:  Hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, etc, are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may help in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains contain soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Whole grains help lowering the risk of heart disease. Whole grains like oats and barley are rich in soluble fiber that is very effective at lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol.
  • Tomatoes:  Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and lycopene, which reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Olive oil:  Olive oil contains vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids in large amounts, all of which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Berries: Berries are naturally sweet and high in fiber. Their rich colors indicate high amounts of antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients.

Incorporating superfoods in your daily diet

Incorporating superfoods into your daily diet is quite simple! Just follow these quick tips to make your daily diet, superfood-rich:

  • Include food sources like kale, beets, and berries in your daily salad plate.
  • Ensure you have a natural product or a vegetable each time you eat, including meals and snacks.
  • Substitute poultry with fish like Rohu and Surmai.
  • When you crave for some snacks, try lotus flower seeds or “makhanas”, dry roasted nuts etc.
  • Replace butter and oil with Desi Ghee. It is a healthier substitute and is a goldmine of nutrients.
  • Nibble on nuts, seeds, and dried fruits without salt or sugar, whenever you feel hungry.  
  • Have green tea daily.
  • Make turmeric, cumin, ginger, clove, and cinnamon your go-to spices to increase the antioxidant levels in your daily meals.  

Final Words

Given the nutrient density of superfoods, they have the best chance to keep a healthy lifestyle and diet when awareness for maintaining good health is growing at a fast pace. Superfoods can be utilized to encourage certain minerals and nutrients like iron or magnesium, to improve overall health and balance the negative environmental elements.

It's essential to take note that while superfoods are useful for your health and give nutrients you need consistently, eating superfoods alone doesn't add to a healthy diet. Eating one type of diet frequently can be hindering your health and prevent you from getting all of the nutrients you require. Thus, superfoods ought to be added to an even diet, not replace one.

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.