Superfoods are mostly plant-based foods that are beneficial to humans owing to their high and dense source of nutrients. Though there is no distinct criteria of determining a superfood, the term is often associated with foods that far exceed nutritional benefits as compared to other foods. Over the past couple of years superfoods have garnered widespread attention and have become a must have for any health and fitness regimen. These three superfoods are often ignored, or rather unknown, yet just what you need to start giving attention.
Bee pollen is the food that young bees feed on. It is considered to be one of natures most nourishing food sources, containing nearly all nutrients required by human beings. This is what makes it a super-food. It is comprised of approximately 40% protein, with half of that protein in the form of free amino acids. These amino acids are ready to be used directly by the body.
The benefits of this superfood are abundant. They are packed full of antibiotic properties that help boost the immune system, and make it a natural remedy for allergies. Bee pollen has a high concentration of RNA and DNA nucleic acids that make this superfood an excellent natural skin rejuvenator. Thanks to these nucleic acids, bee pollen prevents acne and premature aging of the cells. Bee pollen contains enzymes that increase metabolism thus improving digestion, and act as a appetite suppressant.
Mulberries are sweet hanging fruits from the Morus plant. They are characterized by their dark purple/ black colour, and their sweet or tart flavor. This flavor palate of the mulberry fruit makes it widely used in jams, wines, teas etc. The mulberry fruit is classed as a super food not only for its nutritional benefits, but for its benefit in regulating blood sugar levels. The leaves of the mulberry plant contain a compound known as DNJ that inhibits the absorption of sugar.
This superfood is high in fibre, which improves digestion by lowering the occurrences of constipation, bloating and cramping. Fibre is also know to regulate blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of hearth related diseases. In addition, this superfood contains resveratrol, a compound found in dark-skinned berries known to reduce the risk of blood clot formation, thus reducing the stroke and heart attacks.
Mulberries are high in antioxidants that eliminate free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic byproducts that can cause damage to the cells in the body. Antioxidant, zeaxanthin, functions by preventing damage to the retina hence improving ocular functions. Mulberries are high in vitamins A and vitamin E, as well as the mineral iron. Studies have shown that a single serving of mulberries provides the body with almost the entire daily requirement of vitamin C. This coupled with minerals found in the berries aid in boosting the body’s immunity.
Often confused with “cocoa”, cacao are the edible pods of the cacao tree. The cacao tree is a small evergreen tree that is natural to deep tropical areas. When the edible pods are harvested, they can be processed into cocoa powder, and all other associated products. The pods can alternatively be consumed raw, or after undergoing minimal processing.
Cacao is known to contain an antioxidant known as epicatechin which activates proteins, and help regulate blood sugar levels by controlling glucose production. This antioxidant is also know to improve various aspects of cognitive performance. The high concentration of antioxidants in cacao lower blood pressure and increase blood vessel flexibility; ultimately contributing to reduced risk of heart related diseases. In addition, cacao contains phenolic phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect cells against damage from free radicals hence lowering the risk of cancer.