What are superfoods? The ultimate guide

Everyone in the ‘health and nutrition’ space has been talking about ‘superfoods’. Often associated with buzzwords like ‘detox’, ‘anti-ageing’, ‘immunity-boosting’, superfoods are all the rage right now. And why not? Who wouldn’t want their food to be super?

But what are superfoods, really?

As it turns out, nothing special. They aren’t that different from your usual healthy foods. Superfoods do not form a food group. In fact,

there is no established criteria in nutrition science for determining what is (and what is not) a superfood.

The closest we could find to an official definition of superfood is from Merriam-Webster,

“a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person's health”

In short, foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre are superfoods. ‘Superfood’ is more or less a marketing strategy to popularise sometimes forgotten foods like quinoa, kale, etc.

Does that mean they are not good? No, including a diverse variety of nutrient-rich food in your diet is almost always a good idea.

The Superfood trend has done wonders for ancient Indian grains like millets, ragi and amaranth. However, if you think about it, any nutrient-rich food can be labelled as a ‘superfood’.

Most fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grain are pretty “super”, even if they are not thought of that way.

What are the benefits of superfoods?

Studies have shown that superfoods (or foods packed with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, and fibres) may help

  • Prevent heart disease

  • Prevent the risk of Type 2 diabetes

  • Reduce inflammation and signs of ageing

  • Prevent digestive problems

  • Lower cholesterol and regulate metabolism

  • Increase energy levels

In short, superfoods may help in preventing lifestyle disorders and improve general health.

Sova says- Keep in mind that one food can not make or break your health. What matters is your overall diet.

What are some common superfoods?

As we discussed, most nutritionally dense foods are pretty super. Here is a list of common superfoods that you could probably find in your pantry.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is having its moment in the sun these days in the west. It’s anti-inflammatory properties make it the perfect superfood.

2. Berries

High in fibre and antioxidants, berries are packed with nutrients and may help improve blood sugar levels

3. Dark leafy greens

While greens like spinach will not give you Popeye-like strength, they are still a good source of fibre, Vit A, C and phytochemicals.

4. Nuts

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts- are a good source of healthy fats and plant protein. They may also reduce the risk of heart disease.

5. Whole grains

Whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, whole oats are a good source of soluble and insoluble fibre, and some B- vitamins.

They have been shown to lower cholesterol and protect against diabetes and heart disease.

The S in Sova stands for Super

Like we said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with including superfoods in your diet. In fact, we encourage you to. But before you go buy a bag of quinoa, hear us out.

The belief is that foods like amaranth, quinoa, kale, avocado are generally superfoods for EVERYONE. However , we beg to differ.

Superfoods are food that must be super FOR you. Just you.

Like we keep saying, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ when it comes to nutrition. Every human body is different and so are their nutritional needs. This is even more true in case of people living with lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, PCOS, high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity.

Context matters.

How can the same food be ‘super’ for people with diabetes, PCOS and/or hypertension?

This is the guiding philosophy behind our nutrition programs and our ‘Superfood Library’.

We use your blood reports and metabolic needs to identify superfoods that are ‘super’ FOR you. They can range from exotic foods like quinoa or simple foods like carrots, completely personalized to your nutritional needs.

This is rock-bottom. But things usually go up from here. Want to find out superfood that might give you Popeye-like power?

Sign up, fill your health profile and unlock your superfood armoury. Oh, and it's free.

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