They are the talk of the town, these super-foods, the super-stars of our stalls, who are attributed with endless nutritional and health qualities. But not everyone is a super-food! So what are the criteria to belong to this very closed club? What are their virtues? And how to consume them to get the most out of their benefits? Focus on the best.
Definition: what is a healthy superfood?
Health superfoods are natural foods with exceptional nutritional value. Although most of them have existed since ancient times, they have only been in the spotlight since the early 2000s, with the great boom in the healthy food trend in California.
99% of superfoods come from the plant world and have a very high concentration of minerals, vitamins, trace elements, micro-nutrients, essential fatty acids and/or antioxidants in a low volume. This is the definition of nutritional density and is what contributes to making a “simple” food a real superfood.
Thus, while all fruits and vegetables are undeniably healthy foods, and have nutritional qualities of their own, they do not all claim to be superfoods!
List of healthy superfoods
Superfoods can be classified into 4 categories:
Kale, spinach, purslane, broccoli, spirulina, matcha, wheatgrass … they have a high concentration of chlorophyll and beta-carotene (which is not reserved for orange-coloured fruits and vegetables as is often thought), powerful antioxidants.
Super berries and super seeds
Acerola, goji, blueberries, acai, chia seeds, almonds, raw cocoa beans … the former are full of antioxidants which, by combating oxidative stress, help to delay the effects of aging, and the latter are a concentrate of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids with cardioprotective effects.
The health benefits of almonds
It’s no secret that almonds are one of the healthiest foods on earth. A daily consumption of about ten almonds would even be the ideal snack, recommended by scientists and nutritionists. Focus on this oilseed with a thousand virtues!
Super-weeds and super-roots
The health benefits of ginger
Reputed to be an aphrodisiac, ginger also has many interesting virtues for health. Digestion, colds… An update on its properties, but also on its use and precautions for use.
The others, between land and sea
Fresh or dry algae, rich in photosynthetic pigments that act as depollutants for the body like irish sea moss, hive products (honey, royal jelly, pollen …) that are incredible fortifiers, or precious fish oils for skin, nails, hair and bone quality …
Benefits of Healthy Superfoods
Strengthen the immune system, slow down the effects of aging, make up for deficiencies, protect the cardiovascular system, limit the occurrence of cancers … they are numerous and not exhaustive, and are of course specific to each superfood, but also to their state – raw, cooked, juice, decoction etc..
How to consume superfoods?
It all depends on the superfood: berries can be eaten fresh or dry, oilseeds should be dried at low temperature, cereals should always be cooked, preferably neither roasted nor puffed, roots should be cooked or powdered, seaweed should be fresh or dried etc…
Even if some of them exist in the form of food supplements (capsules, capsules, syrup or powders …), their effectiveness is optimal when they are consumed in their raw state. Nature is well done, and foods rich in vitamins and minerals are also rich in fibre and components that improve their bioavailability.
In addition, the chewing action is essential: it allows the release of digestive juices that improve the assimilation of food and its precious contents.
Should we avoid cooking them?
Not necessarily, some will be more interesting raw, others will benefit from being cooked. But whatever happens, be careful to respect them with gentle cooking that preserves their nutritional qualities: for example, steaming is preferable to frying, grilling or prolonged cooking in a very hot oven.