What Makes Superfood so SUPER?

Written by Brittany Scanniello, RD

 

Superfood you say. But what does that actually mean? We will dive into the ‘nitty gritty’ and ‘good for you’ details throughout this entire article. Enjoy and hold on tight! 

“Superfood”–a term coined in the 1990’s that has made circles around health food journalists, health food companies, functional medicine providers and your social media feed. You may be asking yourself, what does this term actually mean? Typically, the term ‘superfood’ is used to refer to foods with exceptional nutritional value that offer high levels of desirable nutrients, is linked to the prevention of a disease, and/or is believed to offer several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value. Common foods referred to as superfoods include kale, cranberries, matcha green tea, turmeric, and pomegranate. There’s not a scientifically based or regulated definition for superfood, however according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a superfood is defined as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health.” 

To dig a little deeper, the criteria for foods to be labeled as a ‘superfood’ are as follows:

  •       It should be easily accessible to all people.
  •       Superfoods are responsible for better health, immunity, and longevity due to the presence of micronutrients loaded in them.
  •       There must be enough scientific research about the food’s health benefits.

Now that we have covered what a superfood is, let’s highlight some of our favorites and ones we were sure to include when developing our Supernola superfood clusters. 

Dragon Fruit Lemon Zest Supernola Superfood Clusters

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds originate from Central and South America. It makes the “super” list due to its content. The infamous seed is packed with fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia has also been shown to regulate blood sugar levels (1). Work to incorporate chia seeds into your diet by simply adding them to yogurt, smoothies, directly into the dough for bread or pancakes, or simply rip open one of our Dragon Fruit Lemon Zest cluster packs.

Red Maca Root: The maca plant, or sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng grows above 13,000 feet, in the Andes of Peru. Maca is a cruciferous vegetable; cousins include that of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. However, it is most often used as a powder. Maca root powder is exceptionally rich in vitamin C, copper and iron and is a great source of fiber. While more research is needed, preliminary studies show maca can benefit in hormone balance, mood improvement and overall energy. (2) Get your serving of Maca by trying one of our three varieties that contain the superfood: Dragon Fruit Lemon Zest, Pineapple Ginger Fusion or Honey Sweet Goji.

Cacao: Cacao beans are now and historically have always been on the “super” list when it comes to food. Ancient Mayan cultures thought of it as “food of the Gods”, where now, cacao is touted for its high level of antioxidants, minerals, polyphenols and healthy fats. It also contains flavonoids that may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. (3) However, not chocolate is created equal. For this reason, you should pay attention to other ingredients that may be alongside the cacao as well as stick to dark chocolate with 70 percent or higher when it comes to the amount of cacao. Indulge in our Dark Chocolate Nut Crunch – it won’t let you down! 

Maqui Berries: Is a beautiful, dark-purple berry that grows in South America. Maqui berry is right up there on the “superfruit” list due to its impressive antioxidant content and potential health benefits including blood sugar balance, reduced inflammation, and overall heart health. Maqui berries are reportedly packed with up to three times more antioxidants than blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Specifically, they are rich in a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins. (4)  Bottomline, the Maqui berry is jammed with disease fighting antioxidants in which all of us could use a little bit more of here and there. 

Goji Berries: Goji berries, or wolfberries, originated in China. According to traditional Chinese medicine, people used them for longevity. However, recent research has found that this superfood may be helpful in relieving hypertension and an immunity boost. (5) In addition to their antioxidant punch, they also contain eighteen different  amino acids – great source of protein. 

For the antioxidant-packed superfruit affect, grab a pack of our Triple Berry Vanilla clusters. You will thank yourself later!

Turmeric: Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that has been a part of traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. This superfood contains curcumin – an active ingredient that operates as a potent antioxidant. As the research suggests, turmeric may help prevent or treat many health problems such as some types of cancer, gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, and osteoarthritis inflammation. (6) Due to its potent antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, Turmeric has made the Superfood list, and for good reason!

Ginger: Ginger is traditionally the treatment for stomach aches. The root has been shown to speed up digestion, moving food to the upper intestine from the stomach. Ginger has also been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties, and act as a pain reliever for some. (7)

Enjoy our Pineapple Ginger Fusion for a quick anti-inflammatory snack break!

Brazil Nuts: Brazil nut, one that historically many have been told to stay away from due to the higher fat content, however, these super-nuts are making a superfood comeback! One thing we know for sure, nuts high in monounsaturated fats help lower our bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising our good cholesterol (HDL) – making these giants a heart healthy snack. These nutritional powerhouses don’t stop at cholesterol. They are also rich in selenium, vitamin E, copper, and manganese; all of which increase antioxidant support protecting our bodies from free radicals.

Walnuts: One of our favorite nuts over here and for good reason! Walnuts provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and that’s not all. Walnuts contain more antioxidants than any other nut – you heard me right, they are the highest! Not only are they the nut with the highest antioxidant profile, but also the omega-3 fatty acid content. (8) Their rich nutrient profile puts them at the top of the “super-nut” family and contribute to many health benefits.

Superfoods are just as they sound - foods that are more super than your average food. They pack more punch when it comes to nutrients and health benefits, full of essential nutrients that most of us don't typically get on a day-to-day basis. Superfoods are functional ingredients and an important part of daily intake. Ranging from everyday superfoods such as walnuts to more exotic and less-known superfoods like maqui berry, and red maca powder, we pack as many health-boosting superfoods into each delicious cluster so you get the most nutrient-dense snack we can make.




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