What Are Superfoods? Are Nuts a Superfood?
When you are ready to work on your nutritional goals, superfoods are a great way to eat as healthy as possible. While research shows that 75% of adults think they eat well and they want to eat healthy, scientists found that 80% of all adults don't get the nutrients they need each day. That's where superfoods come in. Superfoods can help you eat as healthy as possible. But what exactly are superfoods, and do nuts qualify as a superfood? Here is some information about the healthy benefits of eating nuts.
What Does It Mean to Be a Superfood?
Scientists coined the term superfood to categorize foods that are dense in nutrients as a way to help people identify which kinds of foods are better to eat than others. In theory, the more healthy foods you eat, the healthier you should feel. For example, eating cheese puffs means you eat a ton of carbs and some trans fat, but there are little to no vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber in the puffs. There are a lot of examples of superfoods, but many of them are plant-based, which means vegans and vegetarians can include them in their nutritional plans.
Are There Superfoods I Should Know About?
Many scientists say that there's no exact grouping for superfoods. However, there are some general groupings for superfoods.
- Berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. All berries are rich in fiber, low in carbs, and nutrient-dense and vitamin-rich. Berries have tons of vitamins A and C, but they are also dense with flavinoids. Flavinoids fall under phytochemicals, which are plant-based chemicals that work to prevent cardiovascular disease. Also, berries are rich in antioxidants, which researchers believe work to clean the body of toxins from the environment and from the body's natural processes. Antioxidants may help to reduce the incidence of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and digestive issues.
- Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, collards, mustards, cabbage, and broccoli, also make the superfoods list. They are rich in vitamins A, C, and K; fiber, calcium, folate, and other minerals. Greens have next to no sugar and all the fiber in the world, which puts them squarely in the superfood category.
- Yellow and red veggies, such as peppers, sweet potatoes, squashes, pumpkins, and carrots. All of the yellow, red, and orange veggies are rich in vitamins A, C, and B, beta carotene, iron, copper, and potassium. They are also high in fiber. Be careful when eating this superfood group because some of the members in the group are higher in sugar and carbs than others.
- Beans and whole grains make the superfood list because of the calorie-dense fiber and protein with fewer carbs. Beans are especially great for vegans and vegetarians because they offer tons of protein.
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, are worth adding to the superfood group because they have tons of omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in heart health and vascular health as well.
What About Nuts? Are They A Superfood?
Nuts and seeds are one of the best superfoods around. There are several reasons why nuts and seeds are amazing superfoods you need to be including in your diet.
First, nuts are high in many essential vitamins and minerals. While the nutritional contents of nuts vary, most nuts have many of the same nutrients. Nuts have vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, manganese, and selenium. Nuts are high in fat, which is why some people avoid them. However, nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, which are considered "healthy" fats. These healthy fats and fatty acids help to reduce bad cholesterol in your body and actually act as cholesterol cleansers, which help to cleanse your heart and lungs and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Nuts also have tons of anti-inflammatory properties as well. People with any kind of inflammatory disease need to consume as many foods with anti-inflammatories as possible because anti-inflammatories help to quell flare-ups of the disease. If you are trying to eat healthy to lose weight or to reach your fitness goals, eating nuts will help you with post-workout pain and also help your muscles recover more quickly.
One of the best reasons to consume nuts as a superfood is that nuts can go a long way toward helping you regulate your blood sugar. Regulating your blood sugar is essential if you suffer from diabetes, metabolic disorders, or digestive disorders. Nuts are full of fiber, which directly helps to moderate the highs and lows of blood sugar. What if you're not trying to regulate your blood sugar? Nuts also help you to feel full, which means you eat less during the day. This is why so many nutritionists recommend people eat nuts in the morning because it sets them up to eat less all throughout the day.
Nuts are a great addition to anyone's nutritional plan. If you are looking to lose weight, to gain muscle, or to work towards a strenuous exercise plan, nuts can help you recover from a workout, eat less during the day, and feel more energetic.