We often hear the term superfoods being branded around here, there, and everywhere these days. There are superfoods for different kinds of diets, as well as superfoods that we might even be able to grow ourselves at home. But what are superfoods and do we need them in our diet? To answer the question, yes, we do. But what we need them for can completely vary from person to person. It can depend if you have any particular health issues and even if you are male or female.
A superfood is generally classed as something that is pretty low in calories and has plenty of other nutritional benefits. They tend to be rich in antioxidants, as well as being high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also helpful for different health issues, and some of them have the ability to prevent or heal different diseases. So they sound pretty great, right? So today’s post is all about some superfoods from around the world and what they can be used for. I hope it gives you some inspiration and ideas to implement them a little more in your diet and lifestyle. They really can be beneficial.
Chia seeds, pronounced as ‘chee-ah,’ are a bit of a buzzword at the moment. They are in all sorts of recipes and can even be a pudding in their own right. They hail from South America, particularly southern areas of Mexico and Guatemala. They are an ancient superfood, and it is reported that just one spoonful could be enough to sustain an Aztec warrior for the day. So it sounds like a pretty good combination. The reason that they can sustain you for so long is because they are full of complete proteins, as well as plenty of fiber. They are full of vitamins, fatty acids and essential nutrients. Quite a lot packed into such a small little seed, right?
They are pretty versatile in the way that they can be used. When in water, they can become around four times larger than their original size. So they are often used with a nut milk or yoghurt and left overnight. Then it becomes a chia pudding that can be topped with seeds and fruit. It makes a really filling breakfast to start the day! They can be thrown in with smoothies and juices for some extra protein and fiber, as well as just in a glass of water. They can be used in baking as a binder too. When left for about ten minutes with some water, you can make a chia ‘egg’ that can act as a binder in cakes or free-from baking concoctions.
Shilajit is another ancient substance that contains over eighty-five trace elements and minerals that your body needs. Pretty good bang for your buck there, right? It tends to be found in Asia and has been used there for many years as a food supplement. It is usually dissolved in hot water and consumed that way. The are many shilajit benefits that become evident after use. It can help with growth and maintenance of cells, so it is good to help with healthy ageing. It can aid any cell damage to things like your liver and skin. So perfect to take for those of us that are a little bit older.
When it comes to taking shilajit, though, you need to make sure that you are getting the real stuff. Not all shilajit is created equal. If it is a solid at room temperature, then the chances are that you have something that is a little questionable. Shilajit should be bitter to the taste and be quite a dark brown-black color.
Turmeric is a perennial plant that is native to south-east Asia. It is most known for it’s anti-inflammatory powers so perfect for any allergies that you might have had or for a head cold. It is a good option over an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory as it is has no toxicity. There are many antioxidants in turmeric too, which are a massive benefit. Turmeric has been long used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, as well as things like Crohn’s disease. It has been shown to work really effectively too. It can help liver function as well as lower cholesterol.
Most of us will know in its ground form that can be used in Asian foods like curries. But it can be taken as a supplement. As it can be found in recipes, it is pretty easy to find. So there is no excuse for not including this in your diet. So next time you’re cooking a curry from scratch, it is a no-brainer to include turmeric. Not only will it give your food a boost but it will add an amazing color to the food too. Perfect.
Goji berries are another superfood that is found in the east, as it is native to China. Sometimes they are referred to as wolfberries, and they can also be found in certain areas of the Himalayas. They are the look and feel of a raisin (though they are much more vibrant in color). As a result, they are mostly used in that form. They’re pretty easy to nibble on as a snack, especially compared to many other superfoods that are often in a ground or powdered form.
The berries have been shown to help eyesight, as well as improving sexual function. They can give your immune system a boost, as well as help blood circulation. They do have many benefits so can be used by people of all ages. But it does sound like they might be even better for the older generation, or if you are fighting off an illness.
It can be hard to think of coconuts as a superfood, but they really are super good for you. They are very versatile too which is always a good thing. They are found in a few areas of the world, including southern Asian countries like Thailand and Fiji, as well as areas of the Caribbean. First of all, the water from young coconuts is one of the best things in the world that you could drink. It is packed full of goodness with lots of magnesium, zinc, iron and it has as much potassium as bananas. All of which our bodies need to function well. It also contains vitamin c and vitamin b, which are great for general health, as well as having many anti-cancer and anti-aging effects. If you’re pregnant or suffer from exhaustion, it could be especially good for you.
Then there are the other products from a coconut. Coconut oil is a superfood as it can provide such healthy fats. So it can be used in cooking and baking, and it will pack a nutritional punch. Though you won’t be eating it, it is also really good for skin and hair, if you’re looking for some extra soft and silky hair and skin. The flesh of coconuts is great to eat too. Just look for it in its raw form, not smothered in chocolate!
Spirulina is a form of seaweed or algae, which doesn’t make it sound the most appealing, does it? But once you know about all of its benefits, you can see why it has made it onto this list. For starters, it is one of the number one foods in the world that is packed with antioxidants. Meaning that it is great for cell repair and growth, as well as fighting free radicals that can be found in polluted air. So if you’re after some good looking skin, then this could be the superfood for you. Of course, like most other superfoods it is rich in vitamins and full of nutrients.
In recent years, it has been shown to work as a really good weight loss supplement. It can aid an effective weight loss program for sure. It can help to suppress appetite, which is always good when you’re trying to limit your calorie intake. It is also reported to help with thyroid problems. You can take spirulina in a tablet form as a supplement. You can also get it in powdered form. In this way it can be used in drinks, juices and smoothie, to add some more nutritional benefit. It is a bit of an acquired taste, but it is full of goodness. Spirulina can be found worldwide but was mostly used by the Aztecs. How come it takes the rest of the world so long to figure this all out?
So there you have it, six superfoods that you need to start including in your diet. If you’re unsure, then you should always seek advice from a doctor or a nutrition professional. Are there any of these superfoods that you have used before? It would be interesting to hear how you use them in your daily life and if you have found their nutritional benefits to be true. Let me know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!