Much has been written about 'Superfoods': depending what guide you go by, you'll get a different list of 'Superfoods' each time. At Naturally Good Food we list many foods in our own 'Superfoods' category, which include:
- Apricot kernels - apricot kernels are, like most nuts and seeds, highly nutritious. Among the nutrients they contain is one called amygdalin, which is also known as vitamin B17. There is some speculation that this can attack cancer cells, and thus help prevent cancer from breaking out in our bodies. The science behind this is unclear and we would not suggest you eat apricot kernels to cure cancer. However, we would recommend that you eat dried organic apricots for their taste alone!
- Beetroot - and in particular, beetroot juice. Studies looking at the humble and rather overlooked beetroot have shown some surprising results. It seems that beetroot juice may boost your stamina, helping you to exercise longer, as well as improving your blood flow, and helping to lower your blood pressure. At Naturally Good Food we stock a range of beetroot juices, including shots and tetra pack variations. Considering the low price and good study results, beetroot juice is definitely on my 'superfood' list. (And who can forget when Mark Cavendish coined the hashtag #pissingrainbow to describe the effect it had on his urine?! It goes an orangey-pink colour, which is normal and harmless. Well, what's good enough for Cav is good enough for me!)
- Blueberries - there are claims that the catechins found in blueberries activate fat-burning genes in abdominal fat cells to assist with weight loss, and belly fat loss, in particular. According to research at Tufts University, regularly eating catechins increases abdominal fat loss by 77% and doubles total weight loss. Blueberries contain a group of natural phytonutrients (plant nutrients) called proanthocyanidins, which have a unique ability to protect both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some environmental toxins. Blueberries are one of the richest sources of proanthocyanidins. These phytonutrients decrease free radical levels that are linked to aging (yes, wrinkling!) and disease. It appears, therefore, that there are several good reasons to include blueberries in your diet - but perhaps the main reason should be that they are so good to eat.
- Chia - evidence from the 16th century suggests that chia was cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times; economic historians have suggested that it was as important as maize as a food crop. It is still used in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico and Guatemala, sometimes with the seeds ground, or with the whole seeds, in nutritious drinks and as a food source. Chia, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is grown commercially, with the seeds boasting an extractable yield of about 25–30%. Chia seeds are particularly popular with vegetarians and vegans for their nutritional properties. In the US, they're also big news for athletes, especially those who like endurance events.
- Cacao nibs - this is the basic raw ingredient from which chocolate is derived. One ounce of cacoa nibs contains 130 calories, 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of protein. The nibs are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium you can find, as well as a good supplier of calcium, iron, copper, zinc and potassium. Cacao nibs are not as sweet as most chocolate is: they are slightly crunchy and good for adding interest to muesli.
- Goji - trials are ongoing to determine the health benefit claims of goji berries, which are a popular line with many of our customers.
- Maca powder - maca powder (Peruvian gingseng) is a fast-emerging product in the West, but has been used in Peru for endurance, energy and hormonal balance for over 2,000 years. Historians suggest that it was taken by Inca warriors before going into battle, to increase their strength and stamina – something to consider when it's you or the treadmill!
- Oily fish - there is strong evidence to support the idea that eating oily fish is highly beneficial; for this reason, we have placed oily fish in their own category among our sports nutrition products.
- Wheatgrass - you might also be interested in this product.
At Naturally Good Food we are seeing a surge in interest in these products, and are listing on our site more and more 'superfoods'. The science behind some of the newer products is not yet clear, so we feel it inappropriate to speculate about the effectiveness of some; for others, the evidence is perfectly apparent. As further research yields results, we will update our site.
Science can't always provide the definitive answer on food-related issues, of course, as we should all aim to eat a range of foods, and disentangling the benefits of one single food is hard to do. There are also individual circumstances to consider: if you are short of 'X', then it may be appropriate to eat foods high in 'X'; but if your level of 'X' is OK, do you get any benefit in increasing the level in your body? Our bodies are fairly good at self-regulating, so adding vitamin supplements to your diet may have no beneficial impact if you already have an adequate level of vitamins.
News on sports superfoods
On this page we hope to add items of interest in the news about sports superfoods, and to connect to our blog pages about sports superfoods.