Beginner's Guide to Superfoods

In this age of fast food and high calorie counts, it’s more important than ever to balance our diet with critical nutrients and vitamins that we need for full and healthy lives. That being said, there are certain food items that can offer us more benefits than others. These are called “superfoods”.

Whether you are just getting to know about healthy eating, or are already having a balanced diet, check out this ultimate guide on superfoods, with recommendation on the top 10 superfoods and their benefits. 

What exactly is a superfood?

A superfood is, according to the most common definition, “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”. Generally speaking, foods designated as superfoods are packed with multiple kinds of nutrients and vitamins, and as such are capable of delivering more health benefits than other (less nutritional) foods.

There are quite a few foods considered superfoods, but today we will discuss 10 of the most prominent superfoods, 5 of which are popular throughout the world, 5 of which are grown in Asia that you can consider for the traditional Asian dishes. 

The 5 Important Global Superfoods

1. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are a popular superfood thanks to their versatility (they can be used in many different recipes, although they are most commonly put into fruit smoothies and pancakes) and wide range of potential benefits. 

Chia seeds have been proven to help improve digestive health and bowel regularity as it is high in fiber. The antioxidants from chia seeds speed up the skin’s repair systems and prevent damage and aging. 

2. Almonds

Almonds can be used in virtually everything, from snacks, granola mixes to baked goods, and they are an amazing superfood when it comes to providing us with high amounts of fiber and protein. Almonds are also a great superfood for promoting heart health and controlling blood sugar. 

3. Raw honey

Honey in general is said to have many potential benefits, but raw honey is even better. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help boost immune system and treat digestive issues. Besides soothing a sore throat, raw honey can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus, even heal wounds! 

4. Kale 

This leafy green is used most often in salads, although it has recently gained popularity as an ingredient in green smoothies, and is notable for providing high levels of iron, calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin A.

5. Wild salmon

Cliche, but salmon has impressive health benefits as it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for a healthy heart and circulatory system. Wild-caught salmon is also high in protein, B Vitamins and Potassium that great for overall wellness, mainly on skin care, brain health, heart health and weight control. 

Five Important Asia-grown Superfoods

1. Green tea

This is considered as the healthiest beverage in the world! Green tea contains bioactive compounds and antioxidants that improves your overall health and wellness. It increases fat burning and lowers the risk of many diseases such as Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, oral infection and some types of cancers.

Green tea may also help you live longer! In a study of forty thousand Japanese adults, those who drank green tea on a daily basis were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period. 

2. Goji berries

Goji berries have been used in Chinese medicine for more than 6000 years. It is notable for containing vitamin C, vitamin B2, vitamin A, iron, selenium and other antioxidants. Goji helps to improve high blood pressure, promote healthy skin, detoxify the liver and protect eye health (especially in relieving dry eye syndrome)

A common way to consume Goji is to brew it with herbal teas, such as Goji Ginger tea and longan Goji tea. It's also recommended to add some Goji into soups to enhance the nutritional value. 

There are western Goji recipes, too! These red little berries can be used in smoothies, fruit salads and even baked goods. 

3. Ginger 

Ginger is a well-known ingredient in Asian and Indian cuisine. Used in many different recipes such as curry dishes and stir-frys, ginger contains magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, phosphorus, folate, riboflavin, niacin and more.

The main health benefits of ginger include improving digestion, soothing stomach, reducing nausea, pain and inflammation. Brown sugar ginger tea is a soothing drink for women during periods as it warms the body and reduce menstrual cramps. 

4. Dates (Jujube)

Jujube is a type of fruit from southern Asia, that are about the size of a date and range from red-brown to purplish-black. Jujubes are also commonly called red dates, Chinese dates, Korean dates or Indian dates. It is considered as a natural vitamin supplement and stress reliever in Asian countries as it contains many beneficial nutrients and vitamins. 

Dates has been widely used in Asia as a puree, paste, tea or soup to boost hemopoietic system, regulate body circulation, improve bone health and help to treat insomnia and restlessness. 

    5. Coconut

    Coconuts can be used in almost everything from our daily cuisine to our beauty regimens. 

    Whether you are eating the meat, drinking the juice, or consuming it as an oil, coconuts are a nutritious source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and electrolytes. Coconuts support immune system health, reduce risk of heart diseases and kidney diseases. Gaining popularity in recent years, coconut water is a natural source of quick energy and enhances physical and athletic performance. 

    Now that you know about these 10 superfoods, take a step further and include them in your diet for a more balanced living. In every Zenkle Box, we handpick organic snacks made with these superfoods that are delicious at the same time. Click here to find out more!