When it comes to food and its trends, there is always something new: eating dinner in front of the TV in the 50s, the popularisation of Chinese food in the 80s, or the growing globalisation of sushi since the 90s. Now, we’re in the golden age of healthy eating.
“We are what we eat” or “food is fuel” are just some of the modern day mantras which lead more and more people to look for a way of eating that helps them maintain their health, vitality and beauty.
The mission of superfoods is quite simple: in addition to optimising the way we eat – superfoods are the path to a new, healthier lifestyle – these foods have a special power in the fight against ageing, when they are part of a varied diet.
Eating your way towards a healthier life
Blueberries. Kale. Acai berry. These are some examples of foods that have been bestowed the prefix “super” – thanks to their nutritional value. “Superfoods” are considered particularly dense or compact in terms of nutrients and are, therefore, perfect for consumption by those who follow a healthy lifestyle.
This name, however, is not necessarily a scientific or academic label – there aren’t exactly objective and established criteria to identify a food as “super”, scientifically – but rather a way to distinguish certain ingredients as good and healthy. A common misconception when it comes to superfoods is the belief that it is enough to just eat one variety in a large quantity to automatically start seeing a difference.
Eating a particular vegetable that contains a certain antioxidant is not going to heal a sick cell. The right way to go about it is to add the following varieties to one’s diet to benefit from all their nutrients in the right quantities and in a way that will have a positive effect on each person’s health. There are countless studies that show that a varied Mediterranean diet, for example, such as one that reduces the risk of certain chronic illnesses and that increases the longevity of those who follow it, as well as reduces the rate of cognitive decline and it also has a reduced risk when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.
The superfoods below stand out as “leading men” (or “leading ladies”, depending on the anthropomorphism of the foods), in other words, as having an extra dose of vitamins and minerals that can help stave off illnesses and help one live a longer and healthier life, in this golden age of healthy eating.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”Hippocrates 460 bC — 357 bC
1.For the Brain
In this category, one can find foods such as saffron, which helps keep the mind young, thanks to its active ingredient curcumin which prevents the formation of cerebral plaques, key to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease; blueberries are also considered foods that protect the brain against oxidative stress and help protect against cognitive diseases; salmon, as a fish rich in fatty acids, contains the nutrient omega-3, essential for good brain function; and, finally, nuts and seeds are extremely beneficial in the prevention of cerebral decline thanks to their high vitamin E content, especially as we get older.
2. For the Complexion
The oils and extracts of some superfoods are also capable of great feats when it comes to beauty and, when we think of superfoods that help in prevention, we think of tomato which, thanks to the ingredient lycopene, prevents damage caused by UV rays and which causes wrinkles; this action is shared with the pomegranate, which also fights against skin damage and premature ageing, as well as the weakening of collagen; oranges, pumpkin and carrots and other foods that contain carotenoids also aid in the fight against collagen weakness; chia seeds are also great to promote skin hydration, as well as the avocado, whose fatty acids nourish and protect the skin; while the acai berry uses its antioxidants to fight against free radicals, also helping when it comes to skin issues like eczema, psoriasis and acne as it reduces inflammation.
3. For the Body
In terms of superfoods that help our body prevent or fight the effects of time, helping us to achieve greater longevity, we should eat more eggs, the nutrients of which contribute to reducing the risk of cataracts and impaired vision related with ageing; as for superfoods that improve heart function, we can place our trust in garlic and strawberries, which help prevent hardening of the arteries – wine also has this dilating effect on blood vessels – and inflammation, contain antioxidants that keep the heart young and healthy; milk is full of proteins and calcium that are ideal in the fight against the loss of muscle and bone density; while oats, which are packed with fibre, reduce the risk of respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and improve the immune system, in general.