There are different types of superfoods that can contribute to a balanced – healthy diet and have some amazing health benefits. Depending upon their origin these foods can be broadly divided into two main groups. These two types of superfoods are:
Animal based superfoods
Plant based superfoods
Most people might think of a superfood to be just foods that are plant bases including herbs, seeds, nuts, beans and of course vegetables. However there are also animal based superfoods, some more well know than others like salmon or other seafood.
Animal Based Superfoods
This type of superfood consists of the food products derived from animals, poultry and fish which have potential health benefits for human body. Majority of these animal based products consist of different types of fatty fishes which contain Omega 3 fatty acids.
Some of the animal based superfoods include different types of animal and bird’s internal organs such as kidneys, liver, and heart which are full of vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron. The other most common animal based superfood is in the form of probiotic products which contain beneficial microorganisms.
These microorganisms provide multiple health benefits by decreasing potentially disease causing gastrointestinal organisms and relieving gastrointestinal discomfort thus they provide an overall strength to the immune system.
Plant Based Superfoods
Majority of the superfoods available in the market are plant based. This is the most popular of the two types of superfoods and products include different types of vegetable, fruits and seeds which have specific beneficial properties. The most common examples of such superfoods include tea, blueberries, kale, different types of beans, kiwi fruit and many more.
Some of these products contain flavonoids and certain antioxidants known for warding off diseases like cancer, preventing diabetes, increasing immunity, increasing vigor, controlling digestive problems, are great for detox or weight management and energy. There are also several studies which have suggested that fruits containing serotonin help in curbing sleep disorders.
The bean and whole grain superfoods are known for providing low fat protein without high cholesterol which is quite common with animal products.
Other benefits associated with plant based superfoods include
Availability of soluble fibers
Provide beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, flavonoids and selenium
Feeling of satiation for longer period of time
Provide essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium and zinc
Relationship between Superfoods and Balanced Diet
While opting for any type of superfoods, one should keep in mind that a balanced diet also plays a very important role in the overall wellbeing of a human body. Without proper or balanced diet a person can become quite susceptible to deficiency diseases as well as can lose required body mass.
No superfood can fully compensate the required balance diet and you cannot undo the harm created by unhealthy living by just opting for it. While opting for a perfect diet one should emphasise on healthy and balanced diet supplemented with superfoods rather than making latter the major part of the diet.
The other most important thing related with superfoods is that such foods themselves can be quite healthy but tend to lose their beneficial properties due to over-processing or unhealthy way of cooking.
The most common example is of green tea which is a good antioxidant in itself but the processing done by the manufacturer as well as addition of sugar and high temperature while brewing tend to decrease its potency.
Similarly many other food items when overcooked tend to lose their nutrients due to high heat. While opting for any type of superfood one must follow healthy cooking practices and should make them a part of the balanced diet rather than gorging upon them to take maximum benefit.
According to the research done by dieticians for the last many years, it is now quite clear that a balanced diet should contain the required variety of plant as well as animal based products supplemented by superfoods.
While opting for super foods, people tend to start eating them in unlimited quantity to gain maximum benefit. It is totally wrong and someone should be quite vigilant about the amount of such foods in the diet as excess of these foods can also lead to obesity and metabolic disorders. In order to take maximum benefit of superfoods it is recommended that they must be a part of a well balanced diet with both types of superfoods.