Blueberries, kale, salmon—you’ve heard countless times about the nutritional benefits of these everyday ingredients, commonly labeled as “superfoods.” There’s no official scientific definition of a superfood, but it’s generally accepted and defined in the Oxfrod dictionary, that superfoods are the foods that contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants, substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent various diseases. While there are a number of common foods that provide these nutrients, there is also an array of more exotic and less mainstream superfoods that are worth getting to know: the ‘raw superfoods’.
But let’s take a look first into the mainstream superfoods that are popular at Mangia’s menu more commonly find in our daily diet and the reasons why they are so super!
1. Greek Yogurt
Regular yogurt’s thicker, creamier cousin is chock-full of protein and probiotics. It fills the belly, improves digestion, and bolsters the immune system. Plus, it’s a great healthy recipe substitute for sour cream, cream cheese, and even mayonnaise!
This teeny-tiny, grain-like seed packs some serious nutritional prowess. With a mild, nutty flavor and a texture similar to rice or couscous, quinoa is one of the only grains or seeds that provides all nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce themselves .And it’s filled with protein— eight grams per one-cup serving, to be exact!
Don’t worry; these berries won’t cause an oompa-loompa-like reaction. In fact, they’re nutritional superstars, filled with fiber, vitamin C, and cancer-fighting compounds. And studies suggest blueberries may even improve memory!
This rough and tough green beats out all the rest in terms of nutrition, providing more antioxidants than most other fruits and veggies! It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, calcium, and iron. Prepare it virtually any way, from boiled or steamed to roasted (try it as a chip!) or stewed.
5. Salmon This heart-healthy fish is packed with protein and a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which studies suggest may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. And bonus points: Salmon may also protect skin from the sun and the damaging effects of UV rays.
6. Chia Ch-ch-ch-chia! Yep, this little seed is the same as those adorable little ceramic animal planters of the 90s! But don’t worry, the nutritious part is not the clay pot. Chia seeds are actually loaded with the most essential fatty acids of any known plant! Plus, one serving of the stuff is loaded with magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium.
7. Oatmeal High in fiber, antioxidants, and tons of other nutrients, this breakfast staple has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, aid in digestion, and even improve metabolism. And it’s downright delicious— especially when flavored like pumpkin pie!
8. Green Tea This ages-old health secret has been used as a natural remedy for everything from cancer to heart disease! The secret to this delicious drink? Antioxidants! The main superhero here is Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a phytochemical that slows irregular cell growth, which could potentially help prevent the growth of some cancers.
9. Broccoli This lean, mean, green machine is packed with vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting compounds, and the fiber essential in any diet. Though all members of the cruciferous vegetable family are super-duper healthy, broccoli stands out for its exceptionally high levels of vitamin C and folate (which can reduce risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke)
10. Strawberries Vitamin C is the superstar of this superfood. Just one cup of these red beauties satisfies the daily requirement for vitamin C (74 milligrams per day for women, 90 for men)! Studies suggest the antioxidant helps build and repair the body’s tissues, boosts immunity, and fights excess free radical damage. And the vitamin C in strawberries could help promote healthy eye function
11. Dark Chocolate: Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, and research shows that these nutrients reduce insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, drop insulin levels and fasting blood glucose, and blunt cravings. But not all chocolate is created equal. In a 2008 study from the University of Copenhagen, people who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less like eating sweet, salty, or fatty foods compared to volunteers given milk chocolate, with its lower levels of beneficial flavonoids (and, often, more sugar and fat, too). Dark chocolate also cut the amount of pizza that volunteers consumed later in the same day, by 15 percent. The flavonoids in chocolate have also been shown to lower stroke risk, calm blood pressure, and reduce your risk for a heart attack by 2 percent over five years.
- Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
- Turmeric powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own, then stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
- Turmeric boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
- Turmericcan cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.
- high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- 1-1.5 grams of ginger can help prevent various types of nausea
- Ginger appears to be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain, and may reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness.
- Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve various heart disease risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Ginger appears to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort.
- High in Antioxidants – A benefit of Matcha Green Tea is that just one bowl provides over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other food
- Loaded with Catechin – Among antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial.
- Enhances Calm – For over a millennium, Matcha Green Tea has been used by Chinese Daoists and Japanese Zen Buddhist monks as a means to relax and meditate while remaining alert
- Boosts memory and concentration
- Fortifies the immune system – just one bowl of Matcha Green Tea provides substantial quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A & C, Iron, Protein, and Calcium. Further studies have even suggested that the nutrients in Matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells.
4. Manuka Honey:
- Rich source of – amino acids, b vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc
- Manuka honey has been found to be effective in preventing colonic inflammation and effecting the repair of colon lining damaged due to chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
- People who have used manuka honey regularly for its health benefits often report increased resistance to diseases
5. Flax seeds
Like their cousins, chia seeds, flax seeds are diverse little kernels. A tablespoon has 55 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of good-for-you fats. Ask us to add them to your Mangia smoothies, sprinkle them atop your morning bowl of cereal, or incorporate them into your baking when you want a healthydessert.
We might have missed some, like acai, goji berries, lentils…swing by your closest Mangia store to discover more!
Love. Always. Mangia.