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Benefits of Superfoods

Posted on: Feb 12, 2019

Goji Berries

A 2008 Chinese study compared the results of participants who consumed goji berry juice daily for 14 days to those who didn’t. People who drank goji berry juice reported an increase in:

  • energy
  • athletic performance
  • quality of sleep
  • ability to focus
  • calmness
  • overall well-being

The same group also reported significantly better outcomes for issues of tiredness, stress and overall digestion. But the results were also self-reported and didn’t account for other conditions.

Some health claims also state that goji berries can:

  • increase life expectancy
  • lower heart risks
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce bone/muscle pain

However, more studies should be undertaken to determine the overall extent of how Goji berries can act as a superfood.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are full of nutrients, they are very rich in healthy fats, in particular omega 3 and 6, high quality protein and several minerals.

It has also been found that hemp seeds may reduce the risk of developing heart disease.  This is due to the gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds which has been linked to reducing inflammation, which may decrease your risk of diseases such as heart disease and blood pressure.

Since hemp seeds are high in oils, they may also have the benefits of improving skin complexion, whilst relieving dry skin.  They have been recommended for patients who suffer from eczema.

They are also a great source of protein! They are a complete protein source which means they have all the recognised 9 essential amino acids.  It is also easily digestible, much better than nuts, grains and legumes.

They are also very high in fibre, so you will definitely reach the recommended 30g of daily fibre by consuming hemp seeds as a snack, or as a porridge topping!

Chia Seeds

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Don’t be put off by their small size, the small seeds are loaded with nutrients!

A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:

Fibre: 11 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s)

Calcium: 18% of the RDI
Manganese: 30% of the RDI
Magnesium: 30% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI

They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.

This is particularly impressive considering that this is just a single ounce, equalling 28 grams or about two tablespoons. This small amount supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.

Also, if you subtract the fibre — most of which doesn’t end up as usable calories for your body — chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce (28 grams).  Moreover, most of the carbohydrate found in chia seeds are fibre!

This makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie!

To top things off, chia seeds are a whole-grain food, usually grown organically. Plus, they’re non-GMO and naturally free of gluten.

Maca Powder

Maca powder originates from the maca plant and has been claimed to improve energy and stamina.  The edible part of the plant is its root, which exists in numerous colours, ranging from black to white.  The root of the plant is dried and made into powder form for consumption.

Maca powder is highly nutritious as it is a good source of carbohydrate and protein.  It is low in fat and high in fibre.  It is also high in vitamin C, iron and copper.

As well as being highly nutritious, maca powder has been claimed to improve fertility in men as well as relieve symptoms of menopause.  It also has been shown to enhance overall mood and boost sport performance and energy.

Fun fact – The root of the maca plant may also act as a UV protector against the sun rays, however, do not substitute the maca plant for sun cream!

Raw Cacao

Cacao should not be confused with cocoa, refer to our previous blog post “Cacao VS Cocoa – What’s the difference?

Here is a breakdown of why raw cacao is good for you!

It’s good for your heart

Raw cacao is high in flavanols, these are plant compounds associated with antioxidant activity. The flavanols in cacao are thought to help improve circulation to the heart and therefore may reduce risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, reduce blood stickiness and even improve cholesterol levels!

Flavanol levels can be greatly reduced when cacao is roasted to make conventional chocolate. Cacao is also rich in potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure, and magnesium, which is vital for muscle function!

It’s a natural energy booster

Cacao contains a small amount of caffeine, as well as a compound called theobromine, which has a mild stimulating and energising effect. So, having a few pieces of raw chocolate can be a great afternoon pick-me-up without the over-stimulation and jittery feeling you can get from coffee, it can also give you the extra boost to smash those extra reps in the gym!

But what makes cacao the real energy superstar is its high magnesium content: magnesium is essential for your body to make energy, and many of us don’t get enough of it in our daily diet. What’s more, when choosing chocolate, choose a chocolate with smaller amounts of unrefined sugar, as this will be slow-releasing, provide sustained energy and all without the sugar rush!

It’s good for your skin

Raw cacao has been claimed to act as a skin protector against UV light, reduced skin scaling and roughness, and increases circulation and hydration!

It supports your fitness goals

As mentioned above cacao can give you an energy boost, but the high levels of magnesium it contains can also aid in muscle recovery after a workout.

It makes you happy

Cacao is highly rich in minerals such as magnesium and zinc, which help to produce other ‘feel-good’ brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.

 

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