What Is a Superfood?
Superfood – def: A food with a high concentration of various nutrients and phytochemical content that delivers exceptional health benefits. The best superfoods are usually scientifically proven foods (also called “functional foods”) that can be used in a targeted way to support natural healing of specific health problems and to enhance health and well-being.
There are dozens of so-called “superfoods” in existence. Unfortunately, many claim health benefits and effects that are not supported by solid scientific studies. And some are only backed by pseudo-scientific research, exaggeration, misrepresentation, and even old wives’ tales. And many have no track record of verifiable success and no real-life case studies of people who have experienced real results in improving real conditions.
Below are top 14 Superfoods proven for their significant health benefits:
#1: Goji Berry – Strengthen your immune system
The goji berry, or wolfberry, is a tangy, sweet fruit that comes from an evergreen shrub found in China, Mongolia, and the Himalayas in Tibet. Research shows that this little red berry is a superstar at stimulating stem cells, strengthening the immune system, and defending the body against disease. Studies also suggest that goji berries have the ability to support normal liver and kidney function, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and boost brain health and protect against age-related diseases.
#2: Chlorella – Get younger-looking skin and hair
Chlorella is a single-celled, water-grown algae that contains double the amount of health-enhancing chlorophyll as spirulina and is more nutrient dense gram for gram than other power plants, such as broccoli or kale. It has an abundance of nucleic acids, which have powerful rejuvenating properties that regulate the aging process. Chlorella supports youthful looking and wrinkle-free skin, and helps you have a longer potential lifespan. To benefit from chlorella in supplement form it must be raw, organic, “broken cell wall chlorella,” the most beneficial kind of chlorella. This means that the cellulose cell walls of chlorella have been pulverized or broken down, thereby making it more bioavailable.
#3: Moringa – Enhance cell rejuvenation
Moringa leaves are a healthy aging powerhouse because they contain several thousand times more of the powerful nutrient zeatin than any other known plant. With the zeatin contained in moringa, new skin cells grow at a faster rate than old skin cells die. This results in a marked reduction of the look and feel of wrinkles on the face and other parts of the body, and a more youthful skin appearance. Gram per gram, moringa leaves contain: twice the protein content of 8 ounces of milk (and 4 times the calcium); the vitamin C equivalent of 7 oranges; the potassium content of 3 bananas; 3 times the iron of spinach; and 4 times the vitamin A of carrots.
#4: Spirulina – Energize your body and mind
Spirulina is a blue green algae considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Spirulina is a terrific source of vegetable protein, containing about 65% protein (higher than any other natural food!) far more than animal flesh (20%), eggs (12%), whole milk (3%), soybeans (35%), peanuts (25%), or grains (8 to 14%). Spirulina also contains extraordinary concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, such as beta carotene, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, calcium, chromium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, essential trace minerals, and gamma-linolenic acid.
#5: Cacao – Get your magnesium in the tastiest of ways
Cocoa, a component of chocolate, is derived from cacao, which many researchers dub “one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods.” Cacao is the No. 1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry… builds strong bones… helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure… helps prevent constipation and even eases minor menstrual cramps. Cacao beans contain certain compounds that can trigger weight loss and make you feel good and improve your mood considerably. Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far. Even more than blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas!
#6: Wheatgrass – Tighten loose and sagging skin
Wheatgrass is the young grass of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. Its leaves are juiced or dried into powder form for human consumption. The high chlorophyll content of wheatgrass, as well as the amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes it contains, enables wheatgrass to provide a wide range of health benefits. Consuming wheatgrass juice promotes a healthy aging process because it cleanses the blood, thereby helping to rejuvenate aging cells and tighten loose and sagging skin.
#7: Camu-Camu – Supercharge with vitamin C!
Camu camu berries contain the highest amount of vitamin C of any botanical source — 30 to 60 times more than a fresh orange. But when they are dried and reduced to powder form they deliver 600 times more vitamin C than oranges do! The purplish red berries are a rich source of antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals that support and enhance health. Camu camu berries provide nutritional and therapeutic benefits such as regulating soreness considerably, strengthening tendons and ligaments, and keeping organs such as the eyes, brain, heart, skin, and liver in good working condition.
#8: Acai – Improve muscle regeneration
The acai berry is considered by many to be one of the world’s most nutritious foods because it’s the most antioxidant-rich superfood in the world, with a phenomenally high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value. These berries contain a high concentration of beneficial anthocyanins — up to 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine! Anthocyanins are a group of polyphenols high in antioxidant value, and this gives them the ability to support healthy aging. They also have an abundance of essential fatty acids and an almost perfect essential amino acid complex and proteins that are vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.
#9: Garlic – Ward Off Infections
Garlic contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, selenium and other antioxidants (notably allicin). This bulb has been used for centuries as both food and medicine. These days, garlic is used to treat conditions ranging from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and heart attack to certain types of cancer— but the benefits aren’t just for such big issues.
Studies have shown that garlic packs 1% of the potency of penicillin in regular-sized servings and it can therefore be used to ward off such infections as E. coli, salmonella, staph and others before they’ve had a chance to become symptomatic.
#10: Matcha Green Tea – Better Heart Health
Matcha has been consumed for over a millennium in the Far East, and is now considered to be one of the most powerful superfoods on the market.
Made from the nutrient-rich young leaves picked from the tips of shade-grown Camellia sinensis plants, matcha green tea is steamed, stemmed, and de-vined before being stone-ground into very fine powder.
One glass of matcha is thought to contain as many antioxidants as 10 glasses of regular green tea. Matcha contains 137 times more of the popular antioxidant known as EGCG found in regular green tea. EGCG is a part of the antioxidant family known as catechins, which have been linked to better heart health, a healthy metabolism, and improved aging.
#11: Turmeric – Decrease Inflammation
It is the curcumin that gives turmeric its super-powers. Turmeric decreases inflammation in vessels, skin, and the intestinal tract. This lovely spice can also help regulate blood sugar levels. Turmeric has also been shown to regulate immune function. But, in my opinion, one of the most important functions of turmeric is its ability to kill off “bad cells.” If turmeric can zap nasty invader cells, as the data suggests, the extent of turmeric’s power could potentially be limitless..
#12: Blueberries – Preserve Memory Function
Did you know that much of the power of blueberries lies in their color? That deep-blue hue is a byproduct of flavonoids—natural compounds that protect the brain’s memory-carrying cells (neurons) from the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation. Since blueberries are one of the best sources of flavonoids, it’s no surprise that this superfood has been shown to help preserve memory function.
#13: Grapes – Protect Your Heart
Grapes are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin A, C, B6, and folate. Not only do grapes add flavor and texture to a recipe, they also help to prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some say the reason heart disease is lower in France is due to the amount of red wine they drink, also known as the French Paradox.
#14: Pomegranate – Rich in Antioxidants
Pomegranates contain strong antioxidants and properties that can help prevent fatty deposits from building up around our arteries. This buildup may lead to heart attacks and other heart problems. Studies have found that consuming pomegranate juice can reduce the development of these fatty deposits in our arteries, a problem commonly found in patients with chronic conditions (such as diabetes).