Someone recently asked me an interesting question : “César, which superfood is currently underestimated?” I immediately thought of one specific food in particular, and I will tell you which one in a moment, but first, I think we should clarify what a superfood is in the first place.
For a food to be given the label “super” it must be, as some nutritionists like to say, “nutritionally dense”. In a nutshell (no pun intended), it means that the food should be slammed packed with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Just to clarify, the superfoods don’t have their own food group. It’s quite likely that the word “superfood” arose from marketing circles rather than scientific ones (so beware of deceitful marketing tactics), but nevertheless, the common understanding is that there is little debate as to the health benefits that the real superfoods can bring to us.
Most of these superfoods are mostly plant-based (vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits) but some fish and diary have been given this label as well. Salmon, berries, leafy greens, nuts, olive oil and yogurt are a few examples of foods that have garnered this “super” label.
Now, back to my favourite superfood: Quinoa (seeds from a plant primarily found in the Andes). Why? Quinoa is a rich source of iron, fibre (healthy carb!), protein, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, folate, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6 and vitamin E. If you are seriously looking into losing unhealthy weight, gaining muscle mass, lowering your cholesterol level, keeping your sugar levels in check, combating constipation, strengthening your immune system and many other health benefits, include quinoa in your diet.
For a number of years, quinoa has gained well deserved international acclaim and recognition. The year 2013 was declared by the United Nations “The International Year of Quinoa” and NASA, who feeds quinoa to their astronauts in space, have been looking at quinoa as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space based on simplicity of growing and high nutrient content!
1.-Although quinoa is a superfood, eating loads of quinoa every day is perhaps not the best course of action. Eat a variety of nutritious foods in the right quantities every day.
2.-For whole grains to be superfoods, they need to be eaten WHOLE (like in quinoa) and not overly processed (like in unhealthy white bread).
3.-For green tea to deserve the superfood label, make sure it’s not cut with inferior teas and brewed with sugar. Find out how your green tea is made.
4.-If you are trying to lose weight, go easy on fruits. Even fruits without added sugar still contain calories.
5.-The research is clear: the ideal diet is one that is largely plant-based (vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits) and healthful animal products.