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Superfood Essentials List (You May Not Have Known About #4!)
The term “superfood” has become very popular and perhaps even overused in the last few years, and it doesn’t show any signs of going away. But the truth is that if this new addition to the public vernacular has helped more people make better choices with their diets, we should embrace it. 2016 brought us a deluge of articles about superfoods that ranged from fruits and vegetables to special oils and exotic spices. Much of these claims were common knowledge, while others were new, and still others confusing and contradictory. We’ve put together this list to cut through all the noise and give you a clear understanding of what you should be focusing on.
1. Acai (pronounced “uh-sah-ie”)
This super berry originally comes from South America, and it is a key ingredient in popular juice beverages in Brazil. These berries are packed with antioxidants, improve the health of the brain, and have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It has become more common to see acai products outside of South America, and it remains indisputably one of the healthiest fruits in the world. Berries in general are one of the best things you can eat, and acai berries might just be the best.
Kefir is a dairy superfood that has only recently become well known in the Western world, let alone widely available. Kefir is a cultured milk product similar to yogurt that is popular in countries of the Caucasus region like Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. This unique dairy product offers significant amounts of calcium, vitamins B12 and K2, folate, biotin, and magnesium. But the most beneficial aspect of kefir might be its powerful probiotic properties. Kefir is filled with good bacterial cultures and enzymes that help build a strong and healthy gut biome. With the rampant overuse of antibiotics in the industrialized world, kefir can play a role in helping people replenish their gut with healthy bacteria.
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Turmeric is widely used in Indian and East Asian cooking and also in folk medicine. If you’ve eaten Indian food before, you have probably already eaten it without knowing: turmeric is what gives curry its distinctive yellow color. The health benefits from turmeric are linked to the active ingredient known as curcumin, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that curcumin improves cardiovascular health and overall brain function and helps defend against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
There is even research showing that curcumin may be beneficial in fighting cancer. A study published in Cancer Prevention Research found a 40 percent reduction in lesions linked to the development of colorectal cancer in adult men who took four grams of curcumin daily for 30 days. It is worth noting that this research was with curcumin extract, rather than raw turmeric, and more research needs to be done. Regardless, thousands of years of folk medicine wasn’t spun out of whole cloth, and there are real health benefits to adding more turmeric to your diet.
4. Bone broth
Bone broth is something many people never think to eat, and they are really missing out! Bone broth is an essential ingredient in many soups and stews, and it packs a serious nutritional punch. Bone broth is filled with collagen, calcium, magnesium, glucosamine, and more. Consuming more bone broth boosts your immune system and helps keep your skin healthy and radiant (thanks to collagen), improves gut health, and helps ease joint pain with its anti-inflammatory compounds.
5. Green veggies
Green veggies: you knew this was coming! A staple of any “superfood” list, cruciferous (leafy green) veggies are packed with vitamins A, C, K, and more, and have significant antioxidant properties as well. But many people are unaware that the very chemical compound that makes greens live up to their name – chlorophyll — also has its own health properties. Chlorophyll has powerful detoxifying effects on the human body. It helps clean out impurities from the liver and binds with heavy metals and other toxins and flushes them out of your organs and tissues, resulting in more energy, clearer thinking and, according to some, help managing weight.
2017 is sure to bring even more additions to the “superfood” roster, and we’ll be here to cover it when they arrive. Stay tuned, eat healthy, and make good choices with your body and your health! Make 2017 your healthiest year yet!