You may be hearing about “new superfoods” this year.
What does this mean and how can you fit this information into a realistic plan for health and wellness? (Hint, see below for 3 tried and true tips).
Essentially the term “superfood” is not necessarily one that is scientific but may still be relevant to consider with identifying food sources that are packed with nutrients.
“Superfood” is indicative of a food source and the compounds within it that have been linked to certain health benefits or the prevention of adverse health conditions. Many of these foods are derived from plant-based sources, although not all.
You will likely hear about the power of these foods concerning a range of health topics including, but not limited to the following:
- weight loss
- reversing or preventing cognitive impairments and our overall brain health
- help in mental and emotional wellness, such as conditions like depression
- overall health of the gut
- stress reduction
The health benefits from these foods may include reducing excess inflammation and adverse oxidative stress which are two key factors involved in the discussion of chronic health conditions. This is also a key reason for the emphasis on these “superfoods” when it comes to your health outcomes.
It seems that each year there is a new list of hot topic food options that can apply to your health and wellness but may also be trendy and, therefore, will show up in restaurants or product offerings. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of as an empowered health consumer.
So, what are a few of these “2020 superfoods” that you may be hearing more about this year?
In somewhat of a continuation from recent years past, you will be hearing and learning more about fermented foods, seaweeds and algae, and seeds that are both edible and carry significant nutritional benefits. Furthermore, food sources that may aid in your digestive health such as those with prebiotics, fiber, or digestive bitters.
A term that you may hear and could be new to you is “nervines” which are adaptogenic herbs supportive of your nervous system or are “neuroprotective”. Nervines can also influence hormone regulation so can be important in many health-related conditions. Also, these food sources may be good to include in your health plan for approaches to stress.
One of my all-time favorite companies for herbs, spices, teas, and essential oils is Mountain Rose Herbs. They break down Understanding Nervines and Adaptogens in their blog. Furthermore, Healthline, a leading source for consumer information related to health and wellness, also provides an overview of Adaptogenic Herbs.
Then, of course, there are the tried and true options such as berries, avocados, beets, dark leafy greens and microgreens, mushrooms, and fatty fish like salmon or sardines. An important attribute to many of these foods is the rich pigments (i.e. color) of the food. In natural foods, color is often indicative of nutrients critical to human health.
So how can you make sense of the term “superfood” used in media and marketing?
According to the leading global consulting firm, Accenture, consumers are changing to be more health-conscious and aware. Also, the emphasis on personalized approaches to diet and nutrition is growing.
As a health and wellness professional myself, it is an exciting trend to observe. Yet, it is also one to monitor for quality and overall relevance of the information. As alluded to above, there is an intersect of science and marketing with the term “superfood”. However, there are certainly ways to remain clued in and empowered as a health consumer.
In closing, 3 simple, tried and true approaches to include superfoods in your health and wellness are:
- Eat colorful foods in variety
- Incorporate nutrient-dense foods into snacking
- Include herbs and spices in food preparation and cooking
If you simply start with and focus on these 3 tactics, you will undoubtedly be at an advantage when it comes to living most healthful and well.
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality. Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results. Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health. Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!
In need of formalized support to make healthful lifestyle changes? Contact me through my business site.