These day’s, we tend to hear the term “superfood” everywhere we go. But what exactly does the word mean? Well, to put it simply, superfoods are natural foods that are known to be rich in nutritional benefits, while also being low in calories. Of course, saying that something is “rich in nutrients” can mean a lot of different things. When you’re looking for something healthy to put into your body, you want to know exactly what the end result is going to be. Well, look no further, because we’ve compiled a list of superfoods that not only offer tangible health benefits, but that also might just give you a super power or two.
Yes, you read that correctly.
No, superfoods aren’t going to help you fly or see through walls, but they can help your body perform its absolute best and help keep it strong. Here are three super abilities that your body will be able to enjoy when your diet includes superfoods.
1. Super sight
For many people, failing vision just seems like a natural part of getting older. However, it doesn’t have to be! By regularly eating foods that are high in antioxidants, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll be able to give your eyes the nutrition they need to stay healthy and clear throughout your entire life. Here are some of the best foods to eat if you want to retain—or improve—your sight.
The yolk in eggs contains large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which aid in the development of macular pigment. This protects the area at the back of the eye which is responsible for visual clarity and definition. Eggs are also rich in antioxidants which help to slow general muscular damage. As a result, those who regularly eat eggs are less likely to suffer vision loss as they get older.
Perhaps the best food available when it comes to eye health, blackcurrant berries are rich in anthocyanin antioxidants and essential fatty-acids. This allows the eyes to better repair oxidative damage from UV radiation, and helps protect the eye from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. The fatty acids may also aid in the drainage of intraocular fluid, thus helping to prevent glaucoma.
The central part of the retina responsible for detailed vision is called the macula. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of age-related vision loss. As such, foods that protect and strengthen the macula are inherently good for the eyes. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach provide high amounts of lutein, which is used by the body to repair the macula, and to defend it against future damage.
Although fat may have a negative reputation when it comes to foods, the human body actually needs fat for its cells to be able to properly function. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important, because the human body is unable to produce these fats on its own, and must instead obtain them from food. Fish is remarkably high in fatty acids, and the eye-related benefits of these acids have been well documented.
2. Super strength
When coupled with regular exercise, the foods that we eat can play a large part in improving our physique. Muscles require proper fuel to be able to function, and need protein and calories to be able to repair themselves after strenuous exercise. So, if it’s muscle-tone and definition you’re after (not to mention the strength and energy that comes along with it), you should be sure to include the following superfoods in your diet.
While most any green vegetable is going to be beneficial to your health, seaweed is especially high in chlorophyll and iodine. Chlorophyll has been shown to stimulate the production of hemoglobin and increase the amount of oxygen that your body is able to consume. Iodine, when consumed in healthy doses, helps to maintain a healthy thyroid gland, which—among other things—can prevent muscle fatigue, thus allowing you to stay stronger, longer.
Sprouts are small, easy-to-digest living plants that have recently left the seed state. As such, they contain massive amounts of nutrients, oxygen, and enzymes. They are also rich in protein and essential fatty acids, which aid in the development and repair of muscle tissues. To top it off, sprouts are low on calories, and aid in digestion.
If you want to increase your strength, there are few foods more beneficial to your diet than chia seeds. Absolutely full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, and the highest known concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in the plant kingdom, chia seeds are a superfood in every sense of the word. Their rich blend of nutrients help regulate blood sugar and suppress appetite, but where they really shine is in energy production. Chia seeds help aid muscle repair and improve physical endurance, making them an essential food for anyone who wants to be able to workout longer and harder.
A healthy alternative to sodium-and-sugar-heavy sports drinks, coconut water contains essential vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, and is the perfect post-workout rehydration drink. At the same time, the “meat” of the coconut includes healthy fats that take longer to digest than other fats, which thus provide more energy at a longer duration.
3. Super immunity
Of course, those other super powers aren’t going to do you much good if you’re too sick to get out of the bed in the morning. Thankfully, there are certain superfoods which may actually boost your immune system when eaten regularly, thus helping you stay well and active even through cold and flu season.
In addition to tasting great and acting as a natural sweetener, honey is also a natural antibiotic. Dark honey is especially good at fighting off infection, and can help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses. At the same time, honey can soothe an irritated throat, act as a cough suppressant, and even reduce acid reflux. Be warned, however, that raw honey should never be given to children younger than one year old.
In addition to being a great way to add flavor to certain dishes, garlic has also been shown to help the body defend against a wide variety of illnesses. Everything from the common cold, all the way up to cancer and heart disease all seem to pose a decreased threat to those who eat a garlic-rich diet. This may be thanks to garlic’s unique ability to promote the production of hydrogen sulfide in human blood-cells. Of course, some people may shy away from this superfood because of what it does to their breath. Garlic pills are also available, but the jury is still out on whether or not they’re as good for you as the real thing.
There are many health benefits associated with yogurt, but perhaps the most noteworthy is its probiotics. Probiotics are basically bacteria that help the body, and can actually fight against harmful bacteria that can lead to illness. Yogurt may also help combat existing infections. And, there is also Yogurt’s proven ability to aid in regular digestion, which is necessary for eliminating harmful toxins from the body. Put these properties together, and you have a superfood that can help keep you happy and healthy.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which many people believe has the ability to boost the immune system and prevent sickness. However, sweet potatoes don’t stop at vitamin C; they’re also rich in the often-overlooked vitamin A. Vitamin A is important to the health of the body’s mucous membranes, which are vitally important to the defense of the body from infection. Mucous membranes cover areas of the body which are open to the outside—such as the nose, mouth, ears, etc.—and act as a barrier against invading pathogens. So, a diet rich in vitamin A will help prevent illness from ever taking hold.
Eating superfoods, either by themselves or as ingredients in smoothies or other meals, may not let you fly like Superman, but by boosting your body’s natural abilities, they can still help you reach your own personal physical peak. And, when you think about it, that’s still pretty super.