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Ten top ‘Superfoods’

By theghanaianjournal
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Every now and then we hear the term 'Superfood' used to describe the latest health-promoting food. For example, the Goji berry — which has been popping up everywhere lately — seems to be the ultimate superfood of the season. Get it in your smoothie, your cereal, your salad…

But what is a 'Superfood' and how beneficial are they really? 'Superfood' is a term used to describe food with very high nutritional content and potential health-promoting properties, however, some of these 'super' claims remain disputed as health benefits cannot be proven.

All fruit and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals that are good for health. But generally, fruits and vegetables that are given a 'Superfood' tag are high in antioxidants, Vitamin C, as well as other healthy nutrients, and so are considered especially beneficial.

Just eating a handful of berries isn't going to make you super healthy or give you a gummy-berry-juice kick-start. You should incorporate a range of fruit and vegetables into your diet, but of course some foods are more beneficial than others.

We've come up with a list of our own tasty top 10 'Superfoods' to add to your diet!

Blueberries
Blueberries are often considered a superfood because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre.

Health benefits include:
Improves eyesight
Allows for stronger blood vessels
Is an immune booster
Helps with memory performance
Reduces the risk of urinary tract infections
Helps prevent cancer
Has anti-aging properties
Blackcurrants
Blackcurrants are extraordinarily high in Vitamin C, and contain more potassium than bananas! Blackcurrant seed oil is also rich in many nutrients, especially gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid.

Health benefits
Possesses the potential to inhibit inflammation mechanisms, which may lower the risk of developing various types of degenerative diseases (heart disease, cancer).

Protects against degrading neurological functions, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Broccoli
These little trees are high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. This low-fat and low-cholesterol superfood is also a great source of protein and dietary fibre as well.

Health benefits:
Contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties.

A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Broccoli leaf is also edible and contains loads of betacarotene, good for the eyes.

Soy
Soy is a vitamin and nutrient rich superfood which hosts many disease-fighting nutrients. Soy beans contain high amounts of protein, including all essential amino acids (the only such vegetable source). Soy beans are also a rich source of calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, B-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and fibre.

Health benefits
Soy may also reduce the risk of many ailments found later in a female's life such as osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms.

Promotes heart health
Promotes healthy bones
Prevents cancer
May reduce your risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease.

Olive oil
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E.

Substituting olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, for saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats can:

Health benefits:
Reduce blood pressure
Inhibit the growth of some cancers
Benefit people at risk for or with diabetes
Lessen the severity of asthma and arthritis
Actually help your body maintain a lower weight
Spinach
Spinach, is low in calories, but high in many vitamins and minerals. Spinach is packed with heart healthy minerals such as folate, potassium, and co-enzyme Q10 which is essential in cardiovascular health.

Health benefits:
Benefits vision and eye health
Has anti-cancer and anti-aging properties
The calcium content in spinach strengthens bones
Prohibits age-related memory loss
Oats
This superfood is known for it high-fibre content. Oatmeal, oat bran and whole oat products are some of the best sources of soluble fibre, which help reduce total cholesterol.

Health benefits:
Lowers cholesterol
Levels blood sugar
Prevents cancer
Whole oats can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.

Keeps bowel movements regular
Helps with athletic performance
Beans
A serving size of a half cup of beans contain large amounts of iron, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, zinc and fibre.

Health benefits:
Reduces the risk of colon cancer
Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
reduces cholesterol
Barley
Not only is barley a low-glycemic grain, it is high in both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps the body metabolise fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre— commonly called "roughage" —promotes a healthy digestive tract and reduces the risk of cancers affecting it.

Health benefits:
Lowers blood cholesterol levels
Protects against cancer
A good source of niacin, the B vitamin that is cardio-protective

Slows starch digestion, which may help keep blood sugar levels stable

Yoghurt
Yoghurt contains probiotics which are said to promote optimal health.

Health benefits:
Helps with vaginal (bacterial and yeast), urinary tract and bladder infections

Helps with inflammatory intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease

Helps alleviate allergic conditions like asthma and eczema

Reduces several risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Reduces several risk factors for intestinal cancers

Reduces the rate of childhood respiratory infections

Helps prevent tooth decay.
Article By: iafrica.com