Superfoods are extremely beneficial. According to the media they should be classed as an essential nutritional requirement.
Although a few manufacturers tend to over elaborate when it comes to the marketing claims, superfood tend to be one of the most unpretentious health supplements on the market.
The hype surrounding it can usually be substantiated. But what is the real story with super foods?
This article will describe what super foods are, why the need for them and the potential problems.
So are Super Foods really that good for you?
There is one genre that gets the most column inches – super greens
What Are Supergreens?
Super greens are a type of health and wellness supplement. Almost without exception, they are produced in powder form.
As for the color, the only option is green but no big surprise there.
The powder predominantly consists of ground fruit and vegetable extracts. There are often other natural ingredients such as green tea or seaweed in there as well.
Currently, a good super greens powder may also contain ingredients that boost probiotic bacteria. They always deliver a hefty dose of antioxidants as well.
Although adding super greens to food is a good way to get them into your body, they work best as a drink.
Adding the powder to soups and other warm food exposes it to an amount of heat that’s sufficient to destroy some of the vitamins. Mixing the powder with cold water or juice ensures the full nutritional value is retained.
Why Super Greens?
It all comes down to nutrition. According to estimates provided by The World Health Organization (WHO), lack of fruit and vegetables in the diet causes around 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, around 11% of deaths due to ischaemic heart disease, and around 9% of stroke deaths.
In 2003, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WHO launched a campaign to promote fruit and vegetables for worldwide health.
WHO and the FAO recommends eating at least 400g of fruit and vegetables a day. Potatoes and similar starchy tubers are excluded though, so french fries don’t count.
According to studies conducted on super greens have shown that regular consumption could help to lower high blood pressure.
Five Pieces of Fruit and Vegetable Each Day
Health organizations all over the world were quick to jump on board. This resulted in the launch of numerous five-a-day campaigns, such as the ones in the US and UK. These healthy-eating initiatives suggest everyone should eat at least five pieces of fruit and vegetable each day.
Despite the worldwide promotions of five-a-day campaigns, many people still fail to eat enough fruit and vegetables. In general, this is not because the message has not got through. It’s due to a failure to act.
Typical super Greens products provide the equivalent of at least five pieces of fruit and vegetable per day. Albeit in powder form. In fact, some super greens products contain a good deal more.
Does this mean super greens are a good substitute for eating sufficient fruit and vegetables? Absolutely not. There is no substitute. Using a super greens product each day is the next best thing, but it should only be seen as a good way to top-up on nutrients.
The Problem With Super Greens
There is no problem with super greens powders in themselves. Unlike vitamin pills, they provide a diverse range of nutrients and natural fiber. They also provide antioxidants and may promote healthy probiotic bacteria activity in the gut.
The real problem with super greens tends to lie in the attitude of some of the people who use them. Instead of using super greens as a supplement, they try to use them as a substitute and that’s not good.
According to the Oxford dictionary, the word “supplement” refers to “a thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it.”
To “complete or enhance.” Those are the key words. Using a quality super greens product is an excellent way to enhance your nutrient intake and ensure it’s complete.
Rather than being a remedy for a bad diet they offer greater potential as part of an overall recipe for good health.
Bridging The Gap Between Diet And Good Health
Nobody in their right mind would try running a car without providing it with all the fuel, water, and oil it needs. Like a car, the human body has specific needs, but too many people try running their body on low-grade fuel.
Too much sugar and high-fat food may be good for providing energy, but this kind of diet is equally good for piling on the pounds. This kind of diet also fails to provide all the other things a body needs.
Bad diet is one of the leading causes of heart disease. Dietary inadequacies can also contribute to a multitude of other health problems including acne, diabetes, fatigue, infertility, and erectile dysfunction.
Super greens bridge the gap between diet and good health by helping ensure your body has everything it needs.
Back to SuperFoods – Vitamins And Minerals
Vitamins and mineral are the body’s hard workers and they are good multi-taskers.
Take B Vitamins for example. They help the body extract energy from food. The next time you pick up a can of Red Bull, take a look at the back. You’ll find a lot of B vitamins listed there.
B Vitamins help the red blood cells transport oxygen around the body as well. Iron also helps with this so if your diet lacks Vitamin B12 or Iron you may succumb to anemia and fatigue.
B vitamins support the production of DNA and neurotransmitters, aid cell repair, and do much more besides. Your body needs them and it needs them for many reasons. The same can be said for all vitamins and minerals.
Zinc is another good example. It supports testosterone production. So does Vitamin D3. When the body is low in testosterone, it can cause hair loss, reduced muscle mass, fatigue, weight gain, ED, and many other problems.
Consuming super greens is a good way to help make sure your body has all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Providing antioxidants is one of the things super greens can do but vitamin pills cannot. That’s why, when it comes to tuning up the health, vitamin pills always play second fiddle.
Make no mistake about it, antioxidants are important. By fighting free radicals and reducing oxidative stress they help prevent disease. Antioxidants are also believed to offer anti-aging benefits.
Free radicals are toxins. The body produces them in response to muscle contraction and certain other biological processes. Some foods are high in free radicals too. In fact, the body can obtain these toxins in a great many ways. Antioxidants are the first line of defense and fruit and vegetables are the best source.
When the body lacks sufficient antioxidants to get the job done, free radicals get the upper hand and the body goes into oxidative stress. This makes it more likely to succumb to disease.
Additional Beneficial Compounds
Super greens also often contain one or more of the following:
- Digestive enzymes
The body uses enzymes to breakdown food. The enzymes that are naturally present in pineapples and certain other fruit and vegetables are very similar. By providing additional enzymes from such sources, super greens can help the body to better utilize the nourishment it receives.
Probiotic bacteria are beneficial types of bacteria. In a cowboy movie, probiotic bacteria would be wearing a white hat. It fights the bad bacteria and keeps it under control. This aids digestion and provides numerous knock-on benefits that support overall good health.
Like probiotic yogurts, some super greens provide extra live probiotic bacteria. Others provide the special prebiotic fiber the bacteria feed upon. Certain super greens products provide both.
The Bottom Line
So, are super greens good for you? The simple answer has to be yes. They are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other natural compounds the body needs. Should you be using a super greens product? You are the only one that can answer that particular question.
If you are eating a healthy diet that contains plenty of fruit and vegetables, there may be no need. However, such products do provide a quick and easy way to make sure your body’s nutritional fuel tank is fully topped up for the day.
The thing to remember is never to see super food products as a substitute for healthy living. They are a supplement. All they do is “complete and enhance” the steps you are already taking to protect and maintain good health.