What Are Superfoods?
What Are Superfoods?
In recent years, there’s been a ton of hype about superfoods. Foods like blueberries, kale, acai berries, spinach, quinoa, and almonds have dense nutritional profiles that will absolutely knock your socks off.
There are no official guidelines on what makes a food a superfood, but there is a general consensus among consumers about which foods make the cut. If a food has health benefits and minimal calories, someone somewhere is going to call it a superfood. They’re typically packed with valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—basically, they’re the bee’s knees.
So how do you know what’s a superfood and what’s not? Lately, the term has become more of a marketing ploy than an actual indicator of health. This word gets tossed around more than a beach ball on the Fourth of July.
Superfoods have everyone’s attention now, which is why we’re dishin’ up the deets on what exactly they are and how you can identify them.
Nutrients For Days!
For a food to be labeled a superfood, it must contain a whole slew of health benefits. All food has some benefits, but a superfood really has to knock it out of the park.
For instance, we can probably all agree that you don’t drink beer because it’s healthy. However, even beer has a little bit of nutritional value. Both light and standard beers contain small amounts of potassium, calcium, thiamine, iron, and zinc. That obviously doesn’t make it a superfood, though.
A true superfood should be good for you in multiple ways and needs to contain a whole lot of each nutrient.
One of the biggest reasons that people love superfoods is that they’re filled with antioxidants. These natural molecules protect us from free radicals, natural byproducts of energy production that can cause damage to the body. We’re not going to go too far into it, but these little fellas are pretty awful for you all around.
Many superfoods have healthy fats, which are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, and fiber, which is thought to prevent diabetes and digestive issues.
Superfoods also contain phytochemicals, the chemicals in plans that make up all those deep colors in fruits like blueberries. These are potentially linked to the reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. There are a whole lot of claims about superfoods, but it’s enough to say that we like to toss a few into our lunches and dinners every once in a while.
Our Favorite Superfoods
So, where do you start when you want to munch on some superfoods? We’ll lay out a few tasty options for you.
The iconic blueb contains tons of vitamins, soluble fiber, and phytochemicals. Blueberries are also high in flavonoids. These same nutrients are also found in other kinds of berries like strawberries and cranberries.
Before you make a face, just hear us out. This leafy green has become a health food favorite for a reason. So, while we’re not saying that you have to start drinking bright green smoothies every morning, it might be worth looking into.
Kale is filled with vitamins A, C, and K, and also contains a healthy dose of fiber, calcium, and other minerals. Other greens that contain these same nutrients include swiss chard, collard greens, mustards like radish greens, spinach, cabbage, and broccoli.
Sweet Potatoes and Squash
Sweet potatoes and squash have many of the same nutrients as leafy greens like fiber and vitamin A, but this time, wrapped up in a much sweeter, bright orange package.
Beans and Whole Grains
Beans are an excellent source of low-fat protein, fiber, and minerals like manganese, so grab some black beans or lentils to start getting the benefits—soup, burrito bowls… you have a lot of options here, people.
Whole grains like barley, whole wheat, and buckwheat have many of the same effects as beans, except they have less protein.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain a ton of minerals, as well as healthy fats. Nuts and seeds are also high in protein, so consider including some walnuts, flax seeds, or chia seeds into your regular diet, or grab your peanut butter spoon (we know you have one) and get to snacking.
Salmon (and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like sardines and mackerel) make an appearance on the superfood guest list. It contains a number of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B, potassium, and selenium.
Legit Concept or Marketing Ploy?
Are superfoods legit? Or are they an opportunistic marketing ploy to lure in customers? If we’re being honest, probably a little bit of both.
Since there are no official qualifications to label something a superfood, the term can be slapped on any label. That means that tons of products out there call themselves superfoods, but have no particular health benefits at all.
Even fast-food chains have hopped on the superfood bandwagon, with brands like Chick-fil-A adding superfood items to their menu. We’ve gotta be honest: we’re a little suspicious.
If you’re serious about what you eat, and so many of us are, take a peek at the ingredients list before you buy into a superfood label.
At the end of the day, take what you read about superfoods lightly. There is a ton of misinformation out there, and you don’t want to get bamboozled. But if you want to mix some of these foods into your diet, go right ahead!
Superfoods Aren’t Everything
While superfoods might be great for your overall health, they’re not everything, and they can’t replace a balanced diet. That means getting healthy carbs, fruits and vegetables, and protein, whether from animal sources like meat and yogurt or plant-based sources like beans.
Don’t be fooled by flashy, all-in-one superfood supplements, either. A lot of the leafy greens and berries you find in your local grocery store will provide the same health benefits as these overpriced products. We’re talkin’ vitamin C, fiber, and much more to give your immune system the perfect boost.
It’s all about balance, and for us, that means the occasional mild indulgence, too. Enter JuneShine, which makes use of a few superfoods like acai and ginger when we’re putting together our badass hard booch.
Superfoods Are, Well, Super
Chances are, you’ve probably already been eating superfoods and you didn’t even know it.
You are what you eat. As cheesy as that may sound, it’s the resounding truth. What you put into your body significantly affects how you feel. So why wouldn’t you put the best possible foods and drinks in your body?
Here at JuneShine, we don’t just endorse superfoods; we also love our superdrinks! We offer a variety of hard kombuchas, which are infused with tons of probiotics. If you’re looking for a guilt-free drink to relax with, there’s no better option than our hard kombucha.