What is a 'super-food'?
'Super-food' is a word we hear often nowadays – it’s essentially a description of any food that has multiple health benefits when eaten as part of a a healthy diet. For a food to be considered ‘super’, it needs to be a true multi-tasker – by adding it to your diet, you should be able to see noticeable benefits over time in various ways.
The dangers of ‘super-food drinks’
This has lead to a boom in the number of products with so-called super ingredients – however, you need to be a little discerning when choosing how to add these foods to your diet. There is a trend for fashionable health drinks containing widely publicised ingredients such as pomegranate, acai, goji berries and green tea to name a few.
Although there are widely reported studies to indicate that these foodstuffs do indeed have a number of health benefits, the drink form that they are sold in can also be stuffed full of simple sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose are the main forms).
These are absorbed extremely quickly by the body when digestions is taking place, leading to a potential spike in blood sugar levels. To make matters worse, any sugar that is not used up as energy (difficult in a desk job or any other sedentary activity) is converted to fat – not exactly healthy!
Top 5 Super-Foods – as chosen by SCHQ
However, these expensive drinks are not the only way to take advantage of the great nutritional benefits of super foods. Here at STEAMCREAM HQ we try to work from the mantra that what you put ON your skin is as important as what you put IN it. Bearing this in mind, we’ve done some research and put together what we consider to be the 5 most nutritious ‘super’ foods that are widely available:
Most people think that Lemon juice is acidic in pH – although it does contain weak citric acid, its overall composition is alkaline. This is why drinking lemon juice with hot water is the morning is great for balancing your body and setting you up feeling good for the day ahead, not to mention kickstarting the metabolism. It’s commonly used on the hair and skin as a brightener, particularly effective when used in combination with the sun’s rays. However – any one using lemon in this way needs to ensure they use adequate sun protection (with an SPF) and combat the drying effect with a more intensive moisturisng product.
Turmeric has a variety of widely-recorded health properties. For starters, it’s been linked to the prevention of the growth of cancerous cells when consumed regularly – although this itself is not cast iron, it certainly is proven to be a natural anti-inflammatory. This soothes the body, aids in self-healing and combats irritation (which leads to inflammation, the body’s natural reaction to trauma or infection). This means that it can help with skin problems such as psoriasis and other irritating skin conditions. Can be taken in supplement form, but also great in asian cooking!
Not only is beetroot delicious and versatile, it’s packed with one of our favourite free-radical fighting substances – antioxidants. A prevailing theory is that highly pigmented foods such a beetroot do tend to be higher in nutritious vitamins and minerals – in the case of beetroot, this pigment is called Betacyanin. Beetroot also contains folic acid, which is great for all you pregnant ladies – folic acid is essential for healthy tissue growth in babies.
Beans have always been a great alternative to meat or dairy protein – we know that many vegans find it difficult to get the recommended amount of protein in their daily diet, and beans are one of the best ways to do that. Moreover, beans are a high source of fibre – something many of us struggle to get enough of. WebMD says that ‘In a recent study, bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts’ – so a fab food for getting that summer body in a healthy way!
Garlic is so much more than just a delicious way to flavour your food – it also has substantial benefits to your hair and your skin. Garlic has 1% of the potency of penicillin and can ward off a number of bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Cryptococcal meningitis, Candida albican and Staphylococcus. Interestingly, the anti-bacterial properties of garlic do not encourage bacterial immunity as traditional anti-biotics do (it does not create super-bacteria).
So what do you think? Do you swear by any foods in particular? It’s certainly food for thought!