What is a Superfood?
A superfood is a natural food that delivers more micronutrients and overall nutrition than most other common foods in the same category.
For example, strawberries are a terrific fruit. They provide plenty of antioxidants and they even have more vitamin C than an orange but strawberries can’t compare to acai berries. Acai berries are a dried fruit native to China that are high in protein while boosting several vitamins and minerals; most notably vitamin A.
Superfoods have real life benefits that may improve your day-to-day activities. Let’s take a look at some of the best superfoods for improving digestions, alleviating inflammation, and boosting brain health.
Ginger for Digestion
Commonly found in many spicy Asian-based dishes, ginger has been used as a digestive aid for thousands of years. While the best way to consume ginger is peeled and raw, you can also purchase a ginger extract in capsule form. Ginger has also been shown to alleviate motion sickness, boost blood flow, and improve the immune system.(1)
Turmeric for Inflammation
Another popular spice from the East, turmeric can be found in curry dishes, giving the food a distinctive yellow color. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been the subject of study over the last decade for its application in naturally combating inflammation, which is at the center of most types of pain and disease. Curcumin has also been shown to provide a high level of antioxidants that fight free radicals and decrease risk of disease.(2)
While consuming turmeric powder mixed in a morning smoothie or as a tea are great options, if you want to see real differences in your health, you’ll need to use a curcumin supplement that is standardized to 95% of curcuminoids because turmeric is notorious for having poor absorbability in raw form.
Cacao for Brain Health
Better known as raw chocolate, cacao is a superfood from the Amazon. Cacao gets a lot of attention for being packed with antioxidants as this may help to decrease your risk for disease; however, one far more unique benefit revolves around a compound called theobromine.
The theobromine found within cacao can boost your brain health especially memory while eliminating mental fatigue. (3) Cacao can be prepared as a drink but it’s most popular in nib and powder form. Both of which can easily be applied to smoothies or baking.
How Can You Incorporate These into Your Diet?
The easiest way to make these superfoods a part of your diet is through supplements. Extracts are concentrated doses of these superfoods, which are ideal for getting the highest levels of nutrients.
You can also consume these superfoods in a natural state. You can make a delicious ginger and turmeric tea while adding cacao to a morning smoothie. Ginger and turmeric can be used in a number of popular dishes. Cacao makes a great snack replacement for other sugar-based and unhealthy options.
Do you use any of these superfoods? What benefits have you noticed since you started taking them? Do you have your own favorite superfoods that we didn’t include in this list? Let us know in the comments below!
David Sautter is a NASM certified personal trainer and a NASM certified fitness nutrition specialist who has worked in the fitness industry for over 12 years.
During his time in the fitness industry, David Sautter has conducted many fitness workshops, trained hundreds of clients, and has written extensively for a variety of companies. He has been a featured fitness writer on many high-profile health and fitness websites. Aside from producing weekly articles, David has been the writer of several e-books and training guides.
1. Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
2. Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.
3. Mitchell ES, Slettenaar M, vd Meer N, Transler C, Jans L, Quadt F, Berry M. Differential contributions of theobromine and caffeine on mood, psychomotor performance and blood pressure. Physiol Behav. 2011 Oct 24;104(5):816-22. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.07.027. Epub 2011 Aug 4.