What are Superfoods and Why Do You Need Them?

by Erica Stephanopoulos, MPH, MBA
January 25, 2021

grouping of superfoods - avocados, berries, salmon, leafy greens

These days, it seems like merely eating well isn’t enough. To really stay on top of our health, we need to supercharge our diets with superhero foods.

Enter superfoods.

The term “superfoods” may sound like a hyped-up fad, but science suggests there’s real power behind these ultra-healthy ingredients. By including superfoods into your diet regularly, you can prepare to enjoy some pretty amazing health benefits both now and in the future.

Let’s explore the world of superfoods and learn more about how these super ingredients can help you live a healthier life!

What are Superfoods?

Do superfoods really have superpowers?

Technically, no. “Superfood” is just a term used to describe a food that is rich in particular nutrients or healing compounds. What makes a superfood “super” varies from food to food. In many cases, however, these foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and healthy fats - all of which help support your body on a cellular level.

Because these foods have high levels of key nutrients, including superfoods in your diet is a great way to make up for dietary deficiencies and maintain a well-balanced diet. For some, superfoods can help improve specific health issues or be part of a holistic wellness plan.

However, it’s important to remember that no single food cures disease or holds the secret to perfect health. But eating a wide range of foods with a host of health benefits? That’s the path to a healthier future.

Why Do We Need Superfoods? 3 Power-Packed Health Benefits

woman at home making a healthy meal with superfoods

Superfoods are a simple, nutritious, and delicious way to improve your overall health. And the best news is that you probably already eat some of the most popular ones!

But do we need superfoods? Yes! Because most of us struggle to get the nutrients our bodies need regularly, eating superfoods is a smart way to stay healthy. Here are three key ways superfoods help us thrive:

 

1. Superfoods protect the body from damage.

One thing most superfoods have in common is high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals, or damaging compounds, in the body. When left unchecked, free radicals can cause cell and tissue damage (also known as oxidative stress), encourage disease, and speed up the aging process. Antioxidants save the day by neutralizing these free radicals and repairing the body’s tissues. They also support the body’s immune system to help prevent illness and keep your body in tip-top shape.

 

2. Superfoods support your organ systems.

Our various organ systems need different vitamins, phytochemicals, and compounds to work properly. For instance, the cardiovascular system needs enough iron and potassium to stay in rhythm, while the digestive system needs fiber and probiotics to keep things regular. Superfoods tend to be high in these various essential nutrients and compounds, which helps ensure your body gets the support it needs to function optimally.

 

3. Superfoods help maintain a balanced diet.

It can be challenging to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet all of the time. Unfortunately, most of the foods we turn to for comfort or convenience do not provide us with the range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we need to stay healthy. Superfoods can help fill in the gaps. By including superfoods into your daily diet, you’ll be better equipped to bounce back if you fall off the healthy diet track.

 


6 Essential Superfoods and How to Enjoy Them

The benefits of superfoods are as varied as the foods themselves. Some are famous for helping you lose weight, delaying the signs of aging, or boosting your energy naturally. Others are known to protect against serious diseases like cancer.

Here we’ll look at some of the most powerful superfoods and how you can make them a part of your everyday diet:

 

1. Berries

woman eating a bowl of berries

Berrieslike blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and others are some of the most delicious ways to enjoy superfoods. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and plant compounds that support the entire body. Berries are anti-inflammatory and specifically helpful for heart health.

How to Use Berries: Making superfood berries part of your daily diet is as simple as snacking on a handful of berries, enjoying a berry smoothie, or sprinkling a few over your morning oats. Aceva’s Absolute Greens helps you get your daily dose of blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and cherries, along with dozens of other superfood fruits and vegetables. 

 

2. Dark leafy greens

leafy greens

After the kale craze, dark leafy greens became some of the most popular superfoods on the market. And for good reason! Dark green leafy vegetables (or DGLVs) are packed with essential (and sometimes hard to get) nutrients like folate, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and carotenoids. These components make them particularly helpful for heart health, digestive health, and mood balance.

How to Use Dark Leafy Greens: Kale, swiss chard, and spinach are all delicious as salads, in smoothies, sautéed with garlic, or added to soups and casseroles.

But, many people struggle with the bitter flavor of greens. If that sounds like your family, consider getting your greens (and enjoying them too) with Aceva’s Absolute Greens. Just one scoop contains over 50 superfood fruits and vegetables that easily blend into a daily smoothie or drink.

 

3. Salmon

salmon

Salmon is considered a superfood for many reasons, but it is best known as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential for reducing harmful inflammation and supporting the immune, digestive, nervous, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems. Eating salmon and other foods rich in omega-3s reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, boosts fertility, and keeps weight under control.

How to Use Salmon: Salmon is a versatile fish that you can cook in a variety of ways and with many different herbs and spices (including other superfoods like ginger, turmeric, and garlic).

If you don’t like fish or can’t find sustainably-sourced salmon in your area, you can still enjoy the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids with Aceva’s Omega 3 Plus. Our advanced triglyceride formula offers a mercury-free option with 51% better absorption of key essential fatty acids.

 

4. Green tea

green tea

Green tea is a famous superfood known to boost energy, improve weight loss, and prevent disease. But why is green tea such a powerhouse? It is rich in antioxidants, particularly catechin epigallocatechin gallate - EGCG for short. EGCG helps to protect our cells against damage and helps prevent issues like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These catechins and green tea’s natural caffeine make it a powerful natural weight loss aid.

How to Use Green Tea: Drink 1 to 3 warm cups of green tea or matcha tea daily to boost weight loss efforts and support your immune system.

For a more targeted approach to weight loss using the power of green tea, try Aceva’s Meta Trim. This supplement helps you burn more fat, boost energy, and help you lose weight faster with green tea extract and other nutrients for successful weight loss.

 

5. Miso

Miso is a traditional Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans. Miso is a superfood because it contains tons of vitamins and amino acids and is a powerful probiotic. Probiotics help to support gut health and the microbiome (gut bacteria). When the microbiome is well-supported, we experience healthy digestion, a robust immune system, and balanced mental health.

How to Use Miso: A simple way to use miso is to make a light broth or miso soup to enjoy before meals. The probiotics in miso help to enhance digestion and prevent overeating. Miso has a rich, savory flavor and makes an excellent base for sauces, dressings, and marinades.

While delicious and helpful, miso does contain a high amount of sodium. If you are watching your salt intake, or simply want an easy way to support your gut health each day, try Aceva’s Ultrabiotic. This blend contains a powerful combination of the most helpful bacteria strains for optimal gut health.

6. Turmeric

turmeric

Turmeric is a vibrant spice found in Asian cuisine. It is a traditional medicinal herb in systems like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, so it’s no surprise that turmeric is also a superfood! The active compound in turmeric is curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It may help to prevent or manage issues like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and pain.

How to Use Turmeric: Include turmeric in recipes like stir-fries, curries, soups, or even in salad dressings. Be sure to use it along with black pepper, which enhances the body’s ability to absorb turmeric.

Aceva’s Mobility formula uses turmeric and other powerful superfoods to fight pain and help you keep your active life.

 

Supercharge Your Health with Superfoods and Aceva

Staying healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. With so many options for health-boosting superfoods snacks and Aceva’s line of quality nutrient supplements, making the right choices for your health is easier than ever.

Are you looking for more personalized support to reach your health goals? Aceva’s certified health coaches and nutritionists are available to create an easy-to-follow plan made just for you. Schedule a consultation with our Aceva nutrition team today!

 

Erica Stephanopoulos, MPH, MBA
Erica Stephanopoulos, MPH, MBA

Erica has a longstanding passion and involvement with healthcare philanthropy and global health, specifically looking at how malnutrition and lack of key nutrients relate to infectious disease. She’s helped establish clinics and research projects across the globe in her work with Stanford Research Institute, Airbel Impact Lab, World Pediatric Project, and the International Rescue Committee. She’s also written for numerous publications to help educate others on the importance of nutrition and their overall health. Before setting out to make her mark on the world, Erica studied Biochemistry and International Relations. Just to shake things up, she then went on to get her Masters in Public Health and M.B.A. When she isn’t working, she is an avid runner, reader, and (very) amateur chef.


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