Shauna Anderson – A Naturopath Shares Their Top 5 Superfoods
Superfood is a very common buzz word in the health industry, yet I’m not sure many would know with absolute certainty, what it actually means. According to the official definition, ‘a superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being’. Again, what does this mean? We know that all foods contain 3 main macro-nutrients, fats, carbohydrates and protein. However, there are other nutrients within some foods, which give them the edge health-wise, including fibre, antioxidants, polyphenols and omega 3 fatty acids.
A superfood contains an especially concentrated amount of one or more of these nutrients (but not limited to) and are therefore more health-promoting than other foods. They are more than just a gimmick to put in your smoothie, they are foods which can be easily incorporated in your diet and have health benefits if eaten on a regular basis. However, if it feels overwhelming to source everything separately, especially in today’s time-poor society, there is another way. You can meet all your nutrient needs with a single superfood powder; although, it needs to be of high quality and ideally include protein. There are loads of ‘green’ or ‘antioxidant’ powders on the market. Yet there are only a few that contain fermented superfoods, which means they provide far more bio-available forms of their nutrients, in one convenient serve. I highly recommend Whole Earth & Sea® Fermented, Organic Protein & Greens to ensure you get your daily dose of my top 5 superfoods set out below, for a healthier diet in modern times:
Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the popular fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids appear to be the berries’ antioxidant with the greatest impact. Other health benefits include promoting heart health and supporting cognitive function.
2. Dark leafy Greens and grasses
Most green vegetables are an excellent source for a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, they are incredibly rich in antioxidants and carotenoids. Leafy greens also contain magnesium and vitamin E, both of which possess anti-inflammatory effects. Powdered greens are an excellent way to harness the beneficial anti-inflammatory effects of greens as they are convenient and often taste great in a smoothie.
Quinoa is a grain crop grown for its edible seeds. It’s not technically a grain, yet it is eaten like one. Quinoa is valued for its high protein and fibre content. In fact, it is considered a complete protein, as it contains all the essential amino acids in high enough amounts, this is rare in vegan sources of proteins. Quinoa is also a source of flavonoids such as kaempferol and quercetin, which are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
4. Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms can be defined as macroscopic fungi, which are used in the form of extracts or powder for prevention, alleviation, or healing of diseases and/or for nutritional reasons. They are complex and therefore contain several beneficial active constituents, making them excellent superfoods. They contain many nutrients that strengthen not only the body’s healthy stress response but also help enhance the immune system function as well as improving energy and cognition. They contain antioxidants which may help to protect against oxidative stress and cognitive decline. They also contain beta glucans that enhance the body’s response to infection by binding to receptors on the membranes of white blood cells, including macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and cytotoxic T-cells, to activate them. In addition, medicinal mushrooms act as prebiotics, which helps to support the gut microbiota (our good bacteria), and in doing this can support the intestinal barrier, and influence fat tissue production and energy metabolism.
Cinnamon is a readily available spice that has been used medicinally by eastern cultures for centuries. We think of it as a food additive. But this superfood spice is so much more than just a warming additive to your chai tea. It is an anti-inflammatory that is high in antioxidant polyphenols. Health benefits of cinnamon range from anti-inflammatory effects to blood sugar regulation and heart health benefits.
I’d love to hear what your favourite superfoods are and how you use them – simply leave a comment.
About The Author
Shauna Anderson BSc. Adv Dip Nat. Naturopath & Whole Earth & Sea® Expert. Shauna is a mother of two young children and has been a qualified Naturopath for 15 years. She is also the expert for wholefood supplement company Whole Earth & Sea.
She has worked in the health industry as a writer, editor, and scientific researcher in product development for over 12 years. Her passion has been living a healthy and balanced life ever since she began to study Natural Medicine in the year 2000.
Her youngest son was diagnosed with autism in 2015 and since then she has also been determined to give him the best chance of a healthy life, through diet, natural therapies and lifestyle. She has also seen this life challenge as an opportunity to help her son on his healing path and to allow others to see the value of living a rich and natural life, through her writing and involvement in the industry.