There are certain foods that top the superfoods list time and time again. And, whilst there is officially no such thing as a superfood, it cannot be denied that some foods certainly hold more weight than others in the nutrient density department.
A varied diet including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to maintain nutritional health, yet this can often be more an ideal than an actuality. Luckily many of the top superfoods already have dry goods status, and many others are available in powder form for easy and economical pantry storage.
Here’s our top 10 superfoods list for your pantry (in no particular order).
Antioxidant boosting acai has long been known as a beneficial beauty food. Chock full of anti-ageing vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, calcium and phosphorus, acai appears on most of the superfoods lists for skin. One of the only fruits to offer essential fatty acids, the sugars in acai are absorbed more slowly than with most fruits.
Acai is rich in antioxidant anthocyanins, known as the the beauty antioxidant for their power to boost flow to all the organs (including the skin).
One of the best dietary sources of magnesium, cacao is rich in the minerals iron, zinc, and sulphur. One of the richest sources of antioxidants, this fibre rich seed is full of heart healthy flavonoids. Boasting an impressive array of amino acids, phytochemicals, and small amounts of caffeine, cacao is also the ideal energy booster.
One of the most powerful foods in nature, maca contains almost 60 phytochemicals alone. A good source of amino acids, fatty acids, and fibre, it is particularly rich in minerals potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Maca is an excellent source of plant sterols that can help to lower cholesterol levels.
But the true magic of maca lies in its power as an adaptogen. These rare properties allow maca to support adrenal function, restore hormonal balance, and regulate and reduce stress. A source of non-stimulating energy, we think maca really deserves its place on the superfoods list.
Not to be underestimated, berries are the most nutrient dense of all the fruits. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, each variety of berry has its own nutritional benefits. Raspberries are particularly rich in Vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and iron. Blueberries are a good source of potassium, whilst strawberries are rich in manganese. All of them are great sources of Vitamin C.
Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is one of the best plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Good for reducing inflammation and an excellent source of fibre, the mucus forming properties of linseed help to control insulin, stabilise blood sugar and reduce appetite. Linseeds contain lignans, a particular form of plant estrogens that make them particularly important for women’s health as they can help to maintain bone health and protect against certain female cancers. An excellent source of Vitamin D and E.
Goji berries have been a longevity food in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. A complete source of protein, with all the essential amino acids, they are an excellent source of fibre. Rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, and Vitamin C, goji berries are also a good source of iron. Like maca, goji berries are also adaptogens; a rare nutritional benefit.
Despite their humble status, dark leafy greens are some of the best examples of nutrient density. Full of antioxidant benefits, greens are rich with the minerals calcium and iron, as well as vitamins A, C, and E. They also boast high levels of life giving chlorophyll.
One of the first plants to be cultivated by man, and still one of the most eco-friendly crops, hemp offers a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids. One of the best plant sources of fatty acids, hemp is a rich source of GLA (gamma linoleic acid). A type of omega-6, GLA has shown to reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. Hemp is also rich in the minerals magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium, as well as a good source of fibre and Vitamin E.
Oats, despite not always being suitable for the gluten sensitive, have some amazing nutritional properties. Rich in the soluble fibre beta-glucan, they are one of the best foods for lowering LDL cholesterol. Soluble fibre also helps to prevent insulin spikes. Oats are also a rich source of magnesium that can help to regulate insulin levels.
Oats also contain a natural sedative that can help to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Green tea contains many beneficial plant compounds. Full of antioxidant polyphenols, it is a particularly potent source of a cathechin called EGCG; a powerful anti inflammatory that can help fight diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even help to slow cognitive decline. The high chlorophyll content of green tea is both anti-ageing and detoxifying, whilst the natural energy boosting properties of caffeine are tempered by relaxing l-theanine for a more sustainable buzz.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Superfoods Warehouse”.
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