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The Perfect Guide to Superfoods: Get to Know Our Favorite Nutrient Boosters

You’re eating too many superfoods,” said no one ever.

While supplementing your diet with nature’s most nutrient-rich foods to optimize health isn’t a new concept, the buzzy term, “Superfoods” is a relatively recent addition to the health and wellness industry’s lexicon. Today, with the mainstreaming of natural health practices, it has already earned itself some serious cred among those interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And for very good reason.

Superfoods first popped onto the wellness scene in the late ’90s, following the publishing of books like Michael van Straten’s, Superfoods. Then, as organic and unprocessed foods gained traction due to claims of superior nutrients, superfoods began getting a lot more air time, too. Lingo aside, maintaining a diet that’s rich in superfoods is a vital way to boost longevity and the support the immune system with their disease-fighting properties. Not to mention, they just make you feel good!

The Lowdown on Superfoods

But don’t take our word for it

As far back as 3500 B.C., Aztecs consumed large quantities of omega-packed chia seeds as a main part of their diet, considering them to be magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over sustained periods of time. While chai seeds may not literally be magical, they are one of the most powerful health foods that provides a serious energy boost.

chia-seeds-superfoods

Flaxseeds are another nutrient-rich food that cultures around the world have been incorporating into their diet for thousands of years. Rumored to be native to Egypt, but cultivated in Asia, South America, and parts of the U.S., these tiny oblong seeds pack a punch when it comes to health benefits, including being a source of good fats, enhancing digestion, and fighting diseases. Mahatma Gandhi is even quoted as saying, “wherever flaxseed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health.” It’s also worth noting, flaxseeds grow well in containers and in the ground, so are pretty easy to cultivate which makes them a great option for a home garden. With 2 grams of dietary fiber, 37 calories, and 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat per tablespoon, it’s easy to understand why flaxseeds get a lot of love!

The body needs fuel to run efficiently, right? The reality is, it simply can’t get everything it needs from a single food source. That’s why it’s important to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods throughout the day. The added benefit of choosing superfoods is their nutrient density, which translates into consuming less because they have more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and other good stuff. In short, you get more nutritional bang for your buck than the rest of your fridge or pantry. And it’s no secret, being mindful about incorporating more superfoods into your diet can have a profound effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

So, what makes Superfoods so…super?

Speaking of magical, this planet of ours really knows what it’s doing when it comes to offering its inhabitants truly amazing whole and organic foods. But, if you’re curious about why superfoods are a good idea other than for their nutritional value, here’s the lowdown:

Superfoods can do wonders for your fitness levels. For example, did you know an astounding 80% of proper recovery after exercise and physical training can be attributed to good nutrition? Consuming higher quantities of superfoods also gives you a serious edge when it comes to metabolizing more efficiently. The takeaway: Superfoods have an enormously positive effect on your metabolism, which, in turn, means a positive effect on your waistline. Hello, skinny jeans!

Superfoods also tend to be rich in phytochemicals, a.k.a. plant-based chemical compounds. These powerful antioxidants–found in kale, blueberries, cacao, pecans, and spinach­ (to name just a few)–have been proven to help protect human organs from cell damage. In fact, studies have shown eating lots of superfoods can boost your immunity, giving cells the ability to more effectively fight off certain diseases or even help with some types of cancer prevention. While no one is saying skip cancer treatment, a diet rich in superfoods can only be a good idea for long-term health.

Legendary bodybuilding trainer Vince, “The Iron Guru” Gironda was famous for saying, “Bodybuilding is 80% nutrition!”

Some Fats are Really Good for You. Really!

Okay, so maybe fat–more specifically, oil–doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of healthy eating, but it is central to an optimal diet. Certain oils earn themselves serious superfood status due to the good dietary fats they contain, including omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids have a solid rep for being great for the heart, skin, brain, weight, and overall health. These good oil fats can also help prevent the buildup of cholesterol in arteries, make arterial walls stronger, and can increase the production of good hormones. And while it’s always a good idea to avoid saturated fats and trans fats when possible (think: margarine, shortening, lard, and a plethora of items on most fast food menus), good fats in moderation are, well, good! In fact, you’ll find healthy fats in our Perfect Bars with wholesome ingredients like sesame oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, and flaxseed oil. Go ahead, read the ingredient list!

Antioxidants Were Born to Neutralize Free Radicals

Antioxidant values in foods are referred to as ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values, a unit of measurement developed by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Foods with higher ORAC scores are believed to have a greater antioxidant capacity, which can help neutralize free radicals. Translation: The antioxidants found in superfoods are attributed with anti-aging properties. Are these antioxidants the key to the fountain of youth? That may be a bit of a stretch, but we’re still pretty keen on their benefits. We recommend giving a superfoods-rich diet a try to see if, over time, your health, wellbeing, skin elasticity, metabolism, and energy levels start to improve.

superfood-blueberries

Where Do Superfoods Come From, Anyway?

The good news is, you don’t have to search far and wide to find superfoods. In fact, they’re pretty much everywhere, and sometimes even right in your own backyard. At Perfect Snacks, we use 20 yummy superfoods–such as kale, spinach, lemon, alfalfa, carrots, flaxseeds, and other nutrient-dense ingredients–in every single Perfect Bar. If you’re on the hunt for more exotic superfoods like goji berries from China or açai from South America, both popular in seriously expensive smoothie bowls available at nearly every farm-to-table restaurant, you might have to buy them online. But, while goji berries and açai are awesome (we’re fans!), kale, lemons, and carrots are just as super, and are also super easy to find.

But not all superfoods are exotic or expensive. The truth is they can be found almost anywhere. By familiarizing ourselves with different superfoods and knowing where to find them, we can easily incorporate them into our daily meal plans to ensure we’re maximizing our nutrition. And the best part? It couldn’t be easier to do. Sure, the occasional goji berry or açai splurge is understandable, but vitamin-rich bananas are a superfood and they’re everywhere. It’s all about balance.

Fun fact! Did you know popular superfood, blueberries, have been around for more than 13,000 years? While they’ve only been domesticated for the past hundred years (give or take) and you’ll primarily find them in North America, they actually predate American history. These small, round berries are epic antioxidants that help the body fight disease and prevent cell damage.

In the words of nearly everyone’s mom, let’s not forget our greens! Kale, spinach, swiss chard, all the dark leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-rich superfoods around. They tend to be easy to grow from seed and don’t require over-the-top rich soil. Just a lot of sun and a steady supply of water. Different varietals of dark leafy greens grow worldwide, and they provide more nutrition per square foot than any other garden crop. No wonder so many people grow them in their home gardens!

Why We Love ’Em

In case you haven’t noticed, Perfect Snacks is pretty passionate about superfoods, and we want you to love them just as much as we do! Not just because Perfect Bars are loaded with them, but because they’re just good for you. And quality, organic superfoods that come straight from nature are simple and nutritious. With frequent consumption, you’ll help your body fight diseases and repair cells, which could add years to your life. Did we mention they’re delicious?

superfoods-shopping

Of course, one great way to get your daily dose of superfoods is through a Perfect Bar. But there are also endless other ways to prepare healthy and nutrition meals with these power-packed ingredients. A simple smoothie with kale, bananas, and blueberries. Or a fresh salad with spinach, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of nutritious nuts or sunflower seeds on top.

Like to bake? Enhance your sweet treats with superfoods. Skip the butter in favor of olive oil for some recipes. Add a handful of flax or chia seeds in brownies or cookies. Not only are you adding nutrients, you’re swapping out bad fat in favor of good fat while enhancing the flavor and texture. It’s always a good idea to make sure healthy oils are an okay substitute for your recipe. When it comes to homemade cookies, breads, and bars, it’s usually a workable swap that can add a truly unique flavor to your baked goods.

Get Ready to Harness Your Superpowers with Every Perfect Bite

You’ve all undoubtedly heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” Well, when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it’s 100% true. Your body is your temple, and you can give that temple of yours a big boost of superpower energy by fueling it with the right foods. Bite for bite, superfoods will leave your body in tip-top shape, impacting everything from your mood, metabolism, and energy levels, to skin elasticity and weight, to your ability to fight disease and even elongate your lifespan. Why wouldn’t you want to maximize the nutrient content of the foods you’re putting into your body?

While the term “superfoods” still isn’t scientifically defined, centuries upon centuries of cultures have taken advantage of these nutrient-rich foods for ages. With benefits that are hard to deny, superfoods should be an essential part of every diet for anyone pursing natural health. So, go ahead and load up on extra helpings of blueberries, kale, and flax seeds as you supercharge YOU. After all, a healthy mind, body, and spirit are the ingredients to a long, happy life. And superfoods are the key.

 

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Mackenzie is the Social Media Coordinator at Perfect Bar.

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