Power Up

Published On: June 15, 2018 08:12 AM NPT

The word “superfood” is thrown around a lot in modern nutrition. You might have heard a lot about certain food items that have a ton of nutritional values and help in the overall development of the human body. Though there’s no official scientific definition of superfood, it’s generally accepted that these contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. Although many food items have been labeled as ‘superfood’, only a few of them actually improve your body’s overall immune system. Here we have listed five such beneficial superfoods along with their numerous health benefits. 

Cacao or cocoa powder
The flavonoids present in cocoa keep blood flowing to the brain and the heart properly and reduce blood pressure. It also contains anamide that is known as the bliss molecule because it drastically improves your mood. It is also a good source of minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, selenium, potassium, and zinc. And it is also rich in carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibers. It is high in antioxidants too. According to some studies, cocoa has more antioxidant than green tea and red wine. It has hypoglycemic effect on glucose and hypocholesterolemic effect on cholesterol level and improves insulin resistance and glucose metabolism while regulating sugar levels in the body. Xanthine and theophylline are also present in cocoa that relax bronchial spasms, open constricted bronchial tubes and is effective in treating various allergies, including asthma and shortness of breath. Consuming flavonol-rich cocoa decreases the effects of UV-induced erythema, and reducing skin roughness, scaling and enhances skin elasticity, hydration, and density.

Flax seeds
Everything from crackers and frozen waffles to oatmeal contain flax seeds today. Not that you should be complaining because it has impressive health benefits. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed has approximately 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s that is considered “good fat” since it keeps your heart healthy. It also contains lignans that has estrogen and antioxidant qualities and fiber. It protects against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer and inhibits the growth and occurrence of tumors as well. It assists in colon detoxification, fat loss, and reduces sugar craving as it is low in carbohydrates but high in soluble and insoluble fiber. It makes your hair more shiny, and strong and resistant to damage. It reduces dryness and flakiness of both hair and skin and helps to avoid acne, rosacea and eczema because it consists essential fatty acids and vitamin B that work against all these problems. It also promotes digestive health, and aids in maintaining timely bowel movements.

Who doesn’t like avocado? This green fruit provides a vast array of nutritional benefits and tastes really good to boot. It is a high fat food but the majority of the fat content in avocado is oleic acid that reduces inflammation and has beneficial effects on cancer linked genes. Avocado oil is also pretty healthy to cook with when compared to other kinds of oils because it is resistant to heat induced oxidation. Avocados are also high in fiber – by about seven percent according to weight comparison – which is extremely high when compared to other food items. Fiber is very beneficial for weight loss and maintenance of proper metabolic health. Additionally, avocadoes tend to have higher nutrient intake and provide lower risk of any metabolic syndrome. It is also very important to have at least a slice of avocado every time you eat (or need to eat) nutritious food as it helps the body absorb all the nutrients from those food items. It is also very beneficial for eye health as it lowers the possibility of macular degeneration and cataract.

Kale is considered a “queen of greens” because of its benefits.  It is high in fiber, has zero fat and is low in calorie content. It’s impressive fiber content also aids in digestion. It helps the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, to transport oxygen to various parts of the body, in cell growth and assists proper liver function because of the high amount of iron present in it. The vitamin K found in kale also helps in preventing a variety of cancers, improves normal bone health and helps during blood clotting. It is also known to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is an anti-inflammatory food that helps your body fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders. It is very beneficial for cardiovascular support as it lowers cholesterol levels. And it is great for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration because it has vitamin C. The calcium present in kale also prevents bone loss, osteoporosis and helps to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Coconut is another food that has a ton of dietary fiber so it can help your health in a lot of ways including: it normalizes bowel movements, reduces the risk of hemorrhoids, prevents blood sugar swings, lowers blood pressure, discourages overeating by providing long-lasting satiation, protects against diabetes, boosts your overall immune system. Also, the fiber present in raw coconut will control your cholesterol levels as it reduces the amount of low-density lipoprotein—or LDL—cholesterol in your bloodstream. Even a small serving of coconut can increase the nutritional value of your diet because of the high level of minerals it provides. Manganese, copper, selenium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc are all found in coconut in abundance. It also has anti-viral properties and fights harmful bacteria. It is rich in electrolytes and enzymes and coconut consumption has also shown to help in weight loss. It is also anti-carcinogenic and has anti-aging properties as well because of the presence of cytokinin.

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