Superfood: The Top 10 Healthiest Foods
January 26, 2018
Choosing the right foods is fundamental to our health and physical well-being. Keeping an overview can be difficult. Every week there is a new exotic superfood, which will achieve the desired physical condition in an instant. However, especially healthy foods do not have to be exceptional. Rather, they often exist in almost every supermarket. Here you will find the Superfood Top 10 with the healthiest foods!
Superfood 1: extra virgin olive oil
Recommendation: 2 to 4 tablespoons a day
There are many good, even scientifically proven, reasons for consuming 2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil daily. It is one of the healthiest foods for our heart and our health in general, the list of benefits is endless. Olive oil has an anti-inflammatory effect and prevents high blood pressure, especially when consumed with vegetables. It improves the function of endothelium, ie the lining of the blood vessels. This is useful as it locates the starting point of heart disease. Olive oil also prevents LDL cholesterol particles from oxidizing and damaging them, and it improves the post-meal blood glucose response, that is, it prevents blood sugar boosts. Olive oil also contains very few omega-6 fatty acids, which are otherwise found in many foods and can increase the susceptibility to inflammation.
Important: Familiarize yourself with which brands deliver 100 percent extra virgin olive oil. Unfortunately, the label in the trade does not always tell the truth. There is a rumor that olive oil is not resistant to cooking, but science can not confirm that. In one study, olive oil was heated to 180 ° C for 36 hours, and it proved to be very heat resistant. The reason: It mainly contains monounsaturated fatty acids (a double bond). So it’s no wonder Chef Antonio is pouring it into the pan in Suscettibile. Hot Tip: If you want to make it more consistent, just add a little butter. If you make extra virgin olive oil the basis of your natural fat intake, you lay a good foundation for better health – but invest in a quality brand.
Superfood 2: Nuts
Recommendation: a handful per day
Nuts are healthy and nutritious whole foods, contain monounsaturated fatty acids and are great for your health. Many studies confirm that nuts significantly improve the lipid profile and reduce total cholesterol in relation to HDL. But apart from that, the biggest health benefit is probably in the anti-inflammatory effects of nuts. Participants in the PREDIMED study found a 35% decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the body.
Even more impressively, studies have found that regular consumption of nuts could reduce the value of interleukin 6 (IL-6), which is also blamed for inflammation in the body, by 90 percent. But that’s not all. People with metabolic Snydrom or type 2 diabetes found they could better control blood sugar through nuts.
But the arteries, too, seem to profit from the daily handful of nuts, apparently even more so than from olive oil. It is therefore not surprising that in the US, simply prescribing a handful of nuts a day could avoid 90,000 deaths per year. We must not forget the amount of high-quality fiber in nuts. In addition to the mentioned benefits for metabolism, these fibers are converted into short-chain fatty acids in the intestine, which nourishes the so important bacteria in the gut. But do not overdo it with the crowd and stick to the little handful as a borderline and guideline.
Superfood 3: Fiber-rich vegetables
This cruciferous plant belongs to the vegetables with the highest nutrient content and has the highest concentration of vitamin C, which is known to strengthen the immune system. It is also a great source of folic acid, vitamin K and calcium and contains many soluble fiber. Like other low-starch vegetables, its consumption is associated with reducing the risk of oral, laryngeal and gastric cancer. In a randomized controlled double-blind study with a small group of type 2 diabetic patients, the consumption of 10 grams of broccoli sprouts daily resulted in significantly reduced triglycerides and oxidized LDL cholesterol levels within 4 weeks and the value for increased HDL cholesterol.
This broccoli gemini of broccoli is not only an excellent substitute for white rice with its high glycemic index, it is also rich in vitamin C and folic acid and a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamin 6 and soluble fiber.
This popular staple diet is rich in soluble fiber (in the shell), but also an excellent source of potassium that compensates for the negative effects of high sodium consumption and thereby helps lower blood pressure.
The eggplant is another high-fiber vegetable that is rich in antioxidants, especially nasunin, which gives its shell the purple color. Nasunin has been proven to protect the membranes of our brain cells.
As the basis of many foods in the Mediterranean and in Asia, the onion has a particularly high proportion of flavonoids. Flavonoids are phytonutrients (herbal chemical compounds) with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids also protect the heart as they interact with endothelium. They are taken up by endothelial cells and cause an increase in nitrogen oxide expression. As a result, the endothelium becomes more resistant and the smooth muscle of the vessel walls relaxes, reducing blood pressure.
Sweet potato, a staple food for centenarians in Okinawa, Japan, has more fiber and a lower glycemic index than the usual white potato. In addition, the meat is rich in carotenoids, the substances responsible for their bright orange color. Carotenoids are a group of fat-soluble antioxidants, which means they naturally remove fatty tissue from the body. This makes carotenoids so valuable for the skin. They can be deposited in the subcutaneous skin layer and locally develop their antioxidant protection for structures such as collagen and elastin, which preserve the skin’s structural integrity. However, if you have type 2 diabetes, we recommend that you not consume more than two servings per week during the 21-day plan.
Superfood 4: apples
Apples are a fruit variety rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and fiber, and many studies have shown that eating apples regularly reduces the risk of dementia. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford found that one apple per day was as effective at preventing heart attacks and strokes in people over fifty as cholesterol-lowering statins.
Superfood 5: herbs and spices
Garlic is rich in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and a great source of vitamin C, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and copper. Although it is known to reduce total cholesterol and LDL without affecting HDL cholesterol, its benefits are most likely due to the antioxidant compounds alliin, allyl cysteine, allyl disulfide and allicin.
Ginger is a tasty flowering plant, which is especially popular in Asian cuisine. It has a high concentration of the essential nutrient and mineral manganese and is an excellent source of iron, magnesium and zinc. It is also rich in nicotinic acid and vitamin B6. Manganese plays an important role in maintaining a healthy bone structure and supports human metabolism.
This spice is a staple of Indian cuisine and has been extensively researched worldwide. The orange to yellow color pigments in turmeric (curcumin and curcuminoids) are anti-inflammatory. They act on an enzyme called cyclooxygenase, which catalyzes the conversion of the fatty acid arachidonic acid into the proinflammatory Series 2 prostaglandin. Prostaglandins are compounds that act like hormones.
Basil contains a wide range of antioxidants. For centuries, it has been used in Western herbal medicine as a remedy for inflammation of the intestinal tract, its pleasant scent is probably due to the essential oils it contains.
Another spice with a broad and complex antioxidant profile is cinnamon. Traditionally it is used to stimulate the circulation and to relieve bloating.
Superfood 6: fatty fish
Recommendation: Much! Eat fatty fish at least 3 times a week!
Fish is like sleep. Everyone knows that he is healthy, but no one sticks to the recommendations. All fish provide high-quality proteins plus iodine and a variety of vitamins and minerals. High-fat fish are best when it comes to a healthy heart. Fatty fish are the highest quality and preferred source of omega-3 fatty acids because they are in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of fatty acids. Those who contribute to the metabolism and are good for our health are the long-chain EPA and DHA.
We often hear that flaxseed and chia seeds are “great omega-3 suppliers” – well, that’s only half the story. It is true that these foods have a high omega-3 fatty acid content, in the form of α-linolenic acid (ALA), but before this omega-3 fatty acid can affect our health, it has to be desaturatized and elongated be converted into the long-chain EPA and DHA. This sounds good – but the human body can not adequately perform this transformation: the conversion rate of ingested ALA is 6 percent for EPA and 0.5 percent for DHA. Not very convincing. Of course, our body does not receive the desired amount of Omega3 fatty acids. Only in pregnant women does the conversion rate increase to 25 percent.
Animals such as fish living in near-surface water depths or grazing animals can more efficiently convert ALA into EPA and DHA and subsequently store those fatty acids in their tissues. By eating this meat, we can bypass our inefficient enzymes and bring these metabolically active omega-3 fatty acids straight to where they are supposed to go. Research has focused on the effective omega-3 fatty acids in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies. Interestingly, it has recently become clear that the intake of fish oil in the form of supplements is no longer very popular. This shows us that there must be something else in the fish itself (which has not yet been identified) that has a concrete positive effect.
Superfood 7: dark chocolate (at least 85 percent)
Recommendation: 30 grams per day
Better functioning of the endothelium, lower blood pressure and higher insulin sensitivity, as well as plenty of polyphenols: all this is to be considered when discussing the proven benefits of dark chocolate and / or cocoa for health. In fact, studies have found significant positive results at multiple levels. From low blood pressure and higher insulin sensitivity (in subjects who ate dark chocolate for 15 days) to protection against oxidation of LDL cholesterol particles and increased HDL (in subjects who ate cocoa powder). So the health benefits are huge and can be easily achieved – all we have to do is eat chocolate. It is therefore not surprising that chocolate consumption hampers the development of arteriosclerotic plaques. But make sure that the percentage of cocoa dry matter is 85 or more percent – and do not be afraid of the dark temptress!
Superfood 8: Coconut
Recommendation: Cook unreservedly with coconut oil; try a teaspoon in the coffee (as you wish!)
Tip: As with olive oil, the native coconut oil is a better quality choice!
If we ignore our fear of saturated fats, then we can give the coconut its proper place as a healthy food. In fact, populations that traditionally ate coconuts – such as the residents of South Pacific Tokelau, who sourced more than 50 percent of their coconut protein inputs – have robust health with far fewer heart attacks than in modern Western societies. Coconut oil consists of 90 percent saturated fats, but it is mainly its fatty acid structure that interests us for health reasons. These fatty acids are called medium-chain triglycerides (or MCT fats) and can be transported directly from the digestive tract to the liver. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, can not deliver this “fast energy” because it’s mostly made up of long-chain fatty acids, which the body needs to work longer to split.
Superfood 9: egg
Recommendation: at least 10 per week
If nutrient labels were appropriate on eggs, they would have to be quite large. In addition to the nine essential amino acids – leucine, histidine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine – eggs contain vitamins A, D, E, K, B2, B5, B6, B12 and also folic acid, calcium, Zinc, choline and much more. In fact, they are a complete source of protein with unparalleled richness in vitamins and nutrients, making them an important food for our health. Unfortunately, eggs have been illegally demonized for decades. They were the perfect scapegoat of conventional cholesterol demonization, meaning that the cholesterol in the eggs was dangerous to the heart.
Fortunately, we now know that there is no relationship between egg consumption and heart disease, and that any influence on the lipid profile can only be positive. As we showed in this regard, eggs improve the LDL particles that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Today’s research suggests that consuming up to 3 eggs a day is not only completely safe, but also a great source of high quality protein in tasty, dense form. If you do not have chickens in the garden, look for high quality eggs from free range or organic chickens to maximize benefits. The superior omega-3 fatty acid profile of these eggs as opposed to eggs from caged chickens is worth the slightly higher price.
Superfood 10: full fat and fermented milk products
Recommendation: Enjoy greasy Greek yogurt, cheese and kefir
The benefits of dairy products are controversial, but the most controversial in this group are certainly the full-fat dairy products. It is therefore important to define exactly what we recommend – and what not. Certainly not all dairy products are equivalent. As toddlers, we produce a digestive enzyme called lactase, which helps break down lactose in breast milk. Lactose is the most important carbohydrate in dairy products. As we age, many of us lose this ability, which can lead to lactose intolerance. It is widespread in Africa, Asia and South America, but also occurs in Europe, North America and Australia. However, fermented dairy products (such as yogurt, cheese or kefir) and butter are generally tolerated and have a high quality nutrient composition that is quite different from milk. The composition of nutrients – and especially the solid acid composition – also depends heavily on what the animals eat and under what conditions they are kept.
Products of animals raised on pastures have higher omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin K2 profiles than fattening animals; the same applies to the essential fatty acid portion of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is not found in this form in low-fat dairy products. Studies from countries where grass-fed animals predominate have repeatedly demonstrated the benefits of consuming whole-fat dairy products. In this context, we recommend foods such as full-fat Greek yoghurt, kefir and butter, which were produced with the milk of grass-fed animals. In a recent study at Harvard University, the researchers concluded that subjects with the highest levels of full-fat dairy consumption had less visceral fat, better lipid levels, less tendency to inflammation, better insulin sensitivity, and a convincing 62 percent lower propensity to type. 2 diabetes.