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5 Colourful Superfood Powers!

What is a “superfood”? When a food is referred to as “super”, it means that in its natural habitat the food typically wears a cape. Of course, this isn’t true but it should be! In reality, a superfood is one that is dense in nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.

Taste the Real Colours of the Rainbow
Fruit & veggie superfoods contain powerful chemicals primarily in their colourful skins called phytonutrients, which help us in several ways. Other superfoods like chia or hemp seeds will also contain powerful disease-fighting properties like fruits and veggies, helping our bodies to maintain a healthy balance by providing the following benefits:

1. Antioxidant abilities: helps reduce oxidative damage caused by factors such as environmental and dietary toxins.

Example food: green veggies such as kale, wheatgrass or a good quality powdered greens supplement!

2. Cardiovascular protection: antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber have been shown to reduce cholesterol in the blood and in turn can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Example food: blueberries and chia seeds!

3. Anti-inflammatory properties: the consumption of phytonutrients and the subsequent urinary concentration of polyphenols (a large class of phytonutrients) has been linked to lower levels of inflammatory markers, along with a decreased risk of dying. Not too shabby eh? After all, NOT dying is the goal, isn’t it?

Example food: turmeric!

4. Anti-aging agents: Ah ha! NOW I’ve got your attention. Antioxidants, especially when eaten as the whole fruit or vegetable, contribute to a healthy and youthful external appearance as well as (and even more importantly) a healthy and youthful inside. Vitamin C is an important factor in the production of collagen!

Example food: cranberries!

5. Prebiotic power: Phytonutrients are now classified as prebiotics, meaning they act as food for the good bacteria in our gut. What happens when intestinal bacteria are well-fed and happy? They keep us healthy- physically and mentally.

Example food: beets or spirulina (for an added benefit, look for the fermented versions of these foods or ingredients)

References:
Gibson GR, et al. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Jun 14.
Guo X, et al. Effects of Polyphenol, Measured by a Biomarker of Total Polyphenols in Urine, on Cardiovascular Risk Factors After a Long-Term Follow-Up in the PREDIMED Study. Oxidative Med Cell Longevity 2016; 2016:2572606.
Knekt P, et al. Flavonoid intake and coronary mortality in Finland: a cohort study. Br J Med 1996;312:478-81.
Liu RH. Health-promoting components of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):384S-92S.
Medina-Remón A, et al. Polyphenol intake from a Mediterranean diet decreases inflammatory biomarkers related to atherosclerosis: a substudy of the PREDIMED trial. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2017 Jan;83(1):114-128.
Šamec, D., et al. Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) as a superfood: Review of the scientific evidence behind the statement, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 20 Mar 2018.
Schagen, Silke K. et al. “Discovering the Link between Nutrition and Skin Aging.” Dermato-endocrinology 4.3 (2012): 298–307. PMC. Web. 25 Apr. 2018.

About the Author: Dr. Kat Kremblewski

Dr. Kat Kremblewski

Dr. Kat Kremblewski is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in downtown Toronto. She has a passion for digestion and skin care, as well as spin class, organic red wine and the Atlantic Ocean (all in that order). When she’s not busy with all the above, you can find her writing a new book on skin health!