Supporting general wellbeing, as well as being beneficial to specific health issues, superfoods can be a useful addition to your daily routine.
There are so many health and wellbeing products we can take these days that it can be confusing knowing what is right for you and what you truly need.
One area of health products that may help support you is superfoods, which come in all manner of forms, from powders you can add to your morning smoothie, to capsules you can take with you on the go.
We would always reiterate the fact that good health starts with your diet, and no nutritional product should be a substitute. But, if you have specific health areas you want to address, or just want to guard against nutritional deficiencies, superfoods could be for you.
What is a superfood?
There is differing opinion on what it actually is, but generally, nutrition experts agree that it is something that is nutrient dense, and packed full of a range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, as well as protein and fibre. They will also contain antioxidants, and essential fats.
When we look at what could be considered a true superfood, there are many, including those from the culinary world in the form of herbs and spices. Some of the best including turmeric, ginger, garlic and cinnamon, along with the likes of broccoli, goji berries, and blueberries. We also love the likes of nutrient-rich barley grass and spirulina, along with chlorella, freshwater algae that contains a wide range of nutrients, including chlorophyll, which is excellent for cleansing the body.
Another area of superfoods growing in popularity as more of us understand its benefits is medicinal mushrooms. Particularly good for supporting the immune system as well as boosting our energy, look out for the likes of reishi, lion’s mane and chaga.
When choosing a superfood, try to look for reputable brands that are organic and can guarantee where their ingredients are sourced from. Avoid those that use the likes of fillers or binders, or that contain additives.
One key area where certain superfoods can help is with regard to addressing inflammation, something that can affect many areas of our health.
Maya Qureshi, founder of Rhythm Nutrition, explained: “It is now clear that excess inflammation is at the root of many diseases, and it’s only being exacerbated by modern lifestyles. Factors such as increased stress levels, dietary sensitivities, inadequate sleep, hormonal imbalances and environmental toxins, combine to trigger the body’s inflammatory response system. Left unchecked, this can lead to persistent, low-grade inflammation, and we are just beginning to understand the impact this has on us.”
She highlighted turmeric as a great superfood of choice.
“Food is medicine and an anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet can undoubtedly reduce inflammation in the body. But people with chronic conditions often have higher nutritional requirements and need to supplement their diets to optimise their health,” Maya explained.
“Using curcumin is a natural yet powerful ingredient to reduce inflammation in the body. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries to treat and prevent a number of health conditions. In the last two decades or so, modern science has caught up with this knowledge and uncovered a wide range of benefits associated with this powerful spice.”
In terms of its science, Maya went on: “Turmeric has more than 300 naturally occurring components, but one group, namely curcuminoids, is known to provide the most health-promoting benefits. Curcumin, a polyphenol (micronutrients naturally occurring in plants), is considered the most active component of this group, primarily because it has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
“Curcumin makes up only about three per cent of turmeric. In order to benefit from it, supplementation is necessary. The average dose of curcumin used in most studies is between 500-1000mg/day for at least six weeks.
“When it comes to absorption, curcumin is notorious as it is hydrophobic (meaning it repels water) with up to 90 per cent passing through the digestive system. Studies suggest that taking curcumin along with black pepper can improve absorption rates by 2,000 per cent. Taking a liposomal curcumin supplement is an advanced and effective way to ensure that nutrients are delivered at the cellular level.”