superfood fruits and vegetables

The term “superfood” has gained traction in marketing as a tool to convince consumers that certain types of foods are bursting with nutrients to the point that they can positively affect human health. Since then, the term has been used for branding various food products — from creamers to energy-boosting snacks.

While the fact remains that there’s no single food group that holds the key to ultimate wellness, superfoods are here to stay. In fact, the best ones are not only packed with vitamins and minerals, but also contain the highest levels of antioxidants which are powerful compounds that help prevent cell damage and premature aging due to inflammation and oxidation.

Here are five examples of antioxidant-rich superfoods you should definitely add to your diet:

  1. Glutathione

While glutathione is most popular for its skin whitening effects, it was first and foremost a renowned antioxidant. In fact, it has gained the moniker “master antioxidant” that reflects its key role in enhancing cell performance in the body.

Studies found that glutathione can effectively boost immunity and power-up enzymes as well as other antioxidants in the body. It is also considered a strong detoxifying agent that prevents oxidation and inflammation while shielding the cells from harmful toxins and supporting the mitochondria. It can even help you get over a hangover.

Glutathione can be found in abundance in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach, as well as the pulpy part of watermelons (the red area close to the rind).

  1. Vitamin C

Aside from being an immunity booster, Vitamin C is also considered an excellent antioxidant that promotes the neutralization of free radicals and prevents oxidation. It also aids in the manufacturing of glutathione and is essential for the formation of collagen, the protein responsible for the elasticity of your skin.

Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin can be found in sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli. But since it can be difficult to load up your plate with vitamin C-rich foods, you can supplement with a minimum of 500 milligrams of ascorbic acid daily.

  1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble antioxidant that prevents damage and oxidation of cell membranes. It is also popular for its anti-aging effect on the skin and free radical protection caused by exposure to harmful UV rays.

There are a total of eight forms of this essential vitamin, but the human body prefers tocopherol, which can be acquired by adding olive oil, seeds, and nuts to your food intake.

  1. Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a potent antioxidant that contributes to healthy cell membranes. It has the capacity to promote cell communication and optimize mitochondrial function. It is also beneficial for the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy storage molecule or the “energy currency” for all living organisms.

If you have low levels of CoQ10 in your body, you are at risk of developing chronic ailments such as cancer, diabetes, and muscular, cardiac, and neurodegenerative diseases. 

To ensure that you get an ample supply of CoQ10 even as you age, make sure to add ubiquinone-rich items in your plate, such as fatty fish and organ meat.

  1. Flavonoids

A diverse antioxidant group called “flavonoids” is another superfood you need to add to your every meal, especially if you wish to improve cognitive function, enhance your memory, and promote learning. To enrich your diet with flavonoids, you can incorporate teas, berries, and dark chocolate into your diet. Having this type of antioxidant is also counted as one of the many health benefits of coffee.

There are many types of flavonoids, but only two are considered the most potent ones: resveratrol and fisetin.

Resveratrol is commonly found in red wine and cocoa as well as blueberry and grape skins. It is a powerful antioxidant that prevents aging and enhances cardiovascular health. It can also prevent skin damage and fight chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and even cancer.

On the other hand, fisetin has been found to boost quality of life and stretch one’s lifespan by roughly 10 percent based on a study conducted on mice. While clinical trials have yet to determine whether it has the same effect on humans, you have nothing to lose if you include more apples, strawberries, cucumber, and persimmons in your diet, especially if you are at higher risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, and depression.

The Takeaway

Every healthy food can be considered a “superfood” as far as nutritional value is concerned. However, antioxidants like those mentioned in this article have been found to yield countless benefits for human health, especially since they protect the smallest unit of the body: the cells.

AUTHOR BIO

Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.

References:

Gupta S. C., et al. (2014 Oct. 1) Downregulation of tumor necrosis factor and other proinflammatory biomarkers by polyphenols. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0003986114002082?via%3Dihub

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