Superfoods are foods that supply specific health benefits because of their rich, nutritious properties. They are known to help the body lose weight, control blood sugar, fight acne, and more. Specifically, superfoods are rich in the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that the body needs to ward off chronic disease.
While most people know about strawberries, blueberries, fish, barley, and quinoa, there are actually a huge number of other superfoods available on the market with distinct health benefits. Consider adding some of the lesser-known superfoods to traditional meals in order to increase their health value.
The Best Little-Known Super Fruits
Some of the most well-known superfoods are fruits and vegetables. There are also, however, a number of superfruits that are largely overlooked. These fruits are typically traditional foods and well-known in a small, local region of the world, but largely ignored on the global market.
For instance, Camu Camu is a berry that grows on a bush in the Amazon. It is red to purple in color, and similar to a cherry in terms of texture and size. Its flavor, however, is highly acidic, and only truly palatable in milk-based smoothies or jams and jellies that are well sweetened.
Camu Camu is rich in vitamin C. In fact, it has more vitamin C than any other fresh produce available on the market, totaling roughly 3% of its total weight. It is thought to improve the body’s immune system, vision, and flexibility.
Similarly, noni is a fruit native to Hawaii that has some serious superfruit qualities. The noni berry has become popular in recent years as a juice product, and has been studied by the American Cancer Society for its cancer fighting and preventing properties.
It is rich in antioxidants, and contains xeronine, which helps strengthen cell structure and improve cell regeneration. It may also improve the body’s white blood cells in order to improve immunity.
The noni berry is a yellow to green fruit in the coffee family. It grows on evergreen trees in the Pacific, and is roughly the same size as a potato. Hawaiian records demonstrate that it has been taken both orally and topically for medicinal purposes for at least 1,600 years.
The Best Little-Known Oils
Oils have gotten a bad reputation in the health food community. They are thought to be high in fat and calories, and are not a food, or food group, that our bodies are truly prepared to digest. They are also reputed to contain polyunsaturated fats, which will clog arteries over time, cause inflammation, and raise the risk of heart disease and other major medical conditions.
This is not necessarily the case, however. These statements relate specifically to vegetable oil and other common frying oils. The truth is that some oils are good for you, and can provide superfood benefits when used for cooking.
Safflower oil is a great example of an oil-base superfood. Safflower oil is extracted from the safflower, a member of the sunflower family. It is a bright-yellow flower that is similar to a thistle in appearance. The crop was originally grown and harvested in Africa and used to dye cloth and make decorative garlands.
Safflower oil contains lanolic acid and is known to help the body reduce fat stores. Studies also show that it reduces cholesterol, boosts immune system response, regulates the menstrual cycle, and improves hair texture, strength, and growth.
Coconut oil, which is extracted from coconuts, is interesting as a superfood purely for its medicinal properties. It is one of the few food products available that is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It can not only be taken orally, but can also be used topically to fight off infection. It can also be useful in regulating blood sugar.
Coconut oil is a solid oil with little to no taste. It has a very low melting temperature and turns to a liquid at roughly 80 degrees. It can be used for roasting, pan frying, preventing stick, and more.
Rising Superfoods Derived from Bees
While honey has long been appreciated as an all-natural sweetener and has been known to reduce the severity of allergies when procured from local sources, it is not the only superfood to come from bees.
Bee pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, and has been used as a granular food topping and nutritional supplement for years, despite the fact that there are little or no medical studies that support its use.
Herbalists and natural medicine specialists claim that bee pollen can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, normalize cholesterol, increase ovarian function, reduce seasonal allergies, improve weight stability, and so much more.
The possibilities are endless. Research consistently suggests that increasing the intake of these and other superfoods improves the body’s basic function, making it easier for the body to ward off disease and carry out basic metabolic functions. Adding them to an otherwise well-balanced daily diet will, in time, greatly improve overall health.