What really is a super food? The word is thrown around often these days that the meaning has become lost and confusing. Everyday there seems to be a new superfood that claims to aid any health concerns you may have. To get the real scoop I decided to sit down with Celebrity Nutritionist, Nicolette Pace, Founder of NutriSource Inc. (nutrisource.org) to talk about super foods and what they really are.
The term “super food” is basically a non-scientific term to describe a food that contains either a high content of nutrients or a unique subset of plant chemicals that can promote a health benefit. You can argue that almost all foods can be super foods, but one aspect that stands out and is universally accepted is that super foods should only be whole, unprocessed foods, not foods that are grown and/or produced via non-organic or controversial growing and farming practices.
Choosing how you eat super foods is important to consider as well -locally sourced, seasonal and fresh is also at the top of the food chain. But, you can also consider naturally preserved methods like drying, canning and freezing. This is important for foods that are out of season and perhaps grown outside of your geographic region.
Some are familiar, some just coming into the spotlight, but all with good research to support their benefits for you and your body from the inside out!
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Tomatoes are a beauty powerhouse chock full of nutrients that include vitamin C and lycopene to help build collagen and protect against UV sun damage. This fights off wrinkles and aging and will help you keep a youthful appearance with soft, supple skin. In fact eating foods routinely with lycopene and other carotenoids will pass through the vascular system onto your skin and can improve your skin complexion and color in just 6 weeks!
These little red fruits surround the familiar bean which becomes our daily wake up elixir. Usually they’re lost to processing methods, but were recently rediscovered for their health benefits. With an extremely rich antioxidant polyphenol profile, this can help you fight the signs of aging by working toward improving the aging load free radicals bring to inside your body. That can boost health and improve some types of skin inflammation conditions.
Skin friendly bacteria called probiotics work deep down to condition your skin both inside and out. Including them in your diet improves skin health and gives you an edge over common beauty busters like redness and dryness leading you to a healthy glow! Look for and find super food probiotics in as many unprocessed, natural fermented products as you can. It’s the bugs you want, not the chemicals so you may find a variety of foods that can naturally contain them. They may include fermented dairy/cheeses, fermented soy (miso, tempeh) and cured veggies (sauerkraut, kimchee).
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Berries: Blueberries, Bilberries, Raspberries
The anthocyannin content gives the fruit its gorgeous cosmetic like color and makes these berries top notche on the antioxidant list for healthy biologic activity throughout your body–especially for skin. Acting as a free radical scavenger, it is a must for environmental concerns with skin offenders and can also promote cell-regenerating abilities for new skin!
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These blossom fruits are a nutrition powerhouse, worthy of introducing into your diet. They are a rich source of vitamin C and especially appropriate for northern climates where citrus fruit cannot be grown. In fact they contain more than oranges! Harvesting and drying the fruit for tea or producing syrup for a base in syrup, soup or shakes can give you a tremendous wealth of skin nourishing ingredients that include iron, vitamin A and calcium.
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An oldie, but goodie! The antioxidant power of green tea is well established, but what distinguishes this from other teas is the chemical, ECGC which holds promise in multiple studies to help mediate in the way cells grow to keep them in a healthy life cycle and fight off invaders.
A grass seed with incredible potential as a complete food due to its unique complete amino acid profile. This versatile grain-like plant can provide a multitude of nutrients and skin superfood qualities to help you cut down on an overloading high fat animal protein diet that will increase the aging load on you.
Jeanette M. Zinno is the Beauty Editor at “Social Life Magazine,” an on-air beauty & style expert and a freelance writer. Her blog Haute-Girls.com covers beauty and style. Jeanette is also Co-Founder of LZ Media Group (leighzinno.com), a Manhattan based public relations boutique.