What Are Superfoods?
We’ve heard a lot about superfoods and what they’re used for, from helping you to lose weight, to prolonging lifespan, but what are they really? Well it’s actually more of a marketing term than a scientific one, but the general idea is that it refers to foods which are much more nutrient-dense than the usual suspects. In other words, they are meant to have a lot more of the good stuff and a lot less of the bad stuff; however, this term is often misused because it can refer to a food which actually contains natural toxins which aren’t good for you (i.e. some seaweeds).
In addition to this, there’s no definitive list of superfoods, but that hasn’t stopped us from putting together a list of our favourite superfood, superfruits! These are our go-to fruits whenever we want to detox the tasty way.
Get Your Fruit Squeaky-Clean!
Unless you buy organic (and we try to), your fruit can get a ton of pesticide residue on it (especially apples and melons, which are some of the worst offenders)… So what to do? Well, we got a helpful tip on how to wash your fruit the easy-peasy way.
- Fill your clean sink halfway with lukewarm water.
- Add 1 cup of white vinegar and mix.
- Add your fruit and soak for about 10 minutes. Then rinse!
Voila! Clean fruit and no vinegar taste (rinse well).
So, now that you know how to get your fruit squeaky-clean, let’s get on to our favourite detox superfood, superfruits!
Turns out it’s not just an old wives’ tale, apples really are good for you. Here’s why:
- Excellent for detoxification.
- Rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre.
- Good source of pectin, which can help detox metals and food additives from your body.
- Richest fruit source of vitamin E.
- Good source of vitamin A, C, biotin and folic acid.
- Eat apples with skin; almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin; also increases insoluble fibre content – which provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system.
- Apples are extremely high in phytochemicals – compounds which help prevent disease and cell damage; again the highest concentration of phytochemicals is found in the apple skin.
- Also high in the mineral boron which helps strengthen bones.
Rich in a special form of soluble fibre: pectin; which helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls (reducing risk of arteriosclerosis and heart disease); which helps clear out dangerous heavy metals (like lead and aluminium).
Recipe: We love Dr Axe’s Apple Cinnamon Detox Drink.
These guys can pack a pretty sour punch, especially the juice, but they’re also one of the most refreshing fruits you can get (in our humble opinion).
- Grapefruit is a great body alkalizer due to its’ high mineral content.
- Slows down phase 1 detoxification in the liver, which is good, because excessive toxins can hyperactivity during this phase, leading to high levels of free radicals in phase 2 of detoxification.
- The seeds are packed full of antioxidants and powerful antimicrobial agents.
- High in vitamin C (boosts production of white blood cells) and increases glutathione levels in red blood cells.
- Go Red! Pink and red grapefruit also contain more vitamin A, iron and vitamin C than white grapefruit. Red grapefruit is higher in antioxidants than white grapefruit; the deeper the color the more lycopene (a cartenoid) it contains.
- Grapefruit is full of soluble and insoluble fibre which helps reduce LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol).
- Low glycemic fruit.
Any time is a good time to have one of these delightful fruits; sweet and juicy and packed full of healthy stuff. This is why we love them:
- Most nutrient-dense of the commonly eaten fruits; more vitamin C than any other fruit.
- Rich in vitamins A, C and E (more vitamin E than 2 apples).
- More vitamin C than an orange of the same size (almost as much as 2 oranges and 3 lemons).
- Rich in antioxidants and digestive enzymes.
- Good source of potassium (about 4.5% of the RDA for adults) – almost as much as a banana.
- Full of phytonutrients, flavanoids and carotenoids, providing antioxidant protection.
- May help to protect against DNA damage as well as stimulate repair of oxidative damage to DNA.
- Packed full of dietary fibre (1 kiwi can contain more fibre than 4 sticks of celery).
- High in vitamin K; each kiwi containing about 35% of an adult RDA.
- High levels of lutein and zeaxanthin help protect against macular degeneration.
A beautiful fruit all the way from the delicious red center to the incredible lime green outer. This is such a sweet and juicy fruit that it’s almost too good to be true. This can’t possibly be healthy… but it is:
- Watermelon is about 90% water, but also a natural diuretic due to high levels of cucurbocitrin.
- A cup of watermelon contains about 20% adult RDA of vitamins A and C.
- An excellent source of vitamin B6.
- A very good source of the carotenoid lycopene (studies point to beneficial effect of lycopene on prostrate health). A better source than even fresh tomatoes (but not canned ones).
- High in glutathione; considered by many as the body’s most important antioxidant because it is found in every cell.
- Watermelon seed kernels are also a good source of both potassium and magnesium.
Wow! You want a tangy, zingy fruit, you got it. While we probably couldn’t eat a whole one (we haven’t actually tried), lemon makes a great zesty drizzle to your detox fruit salad. Or throw a couple of slices into a glass of water, add some ginger and pow: a thoroughly refreshing detox drink.
- High in vitamin B6, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and, of-course, vitamin C.
- Rich in bioflavonoids: powerful antioxidants which help protect against oxidative stress and free radical damage.
- Alkalizing effect on the body. Even though they have the highest citric acid content than any other fruit, lemons actually have an alkaline effect on the body when metabolised (i.e. alkaline forming). This is because citric acid is only a weak acid and the overall nutrients in a lemon are alkaline.
- High in the soluble fibre pectin; which helps lower cholesterol, can protect against metabolic syndrome and improves intestinal environment (i.e. the good bacteria).
- Lemon water can also aid digestion by stimulating your liver to create more bile (a digestive juice).
- Lemon juice is a natural antiseptic and diuretic.
- Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to lemon juice and water for extra digestive stimulating action!
The spiky exterior defies the super-sweet interior of this tasty fruit. So even though it may be a bit hard to handle, it’s worth it:
- The pineapple is the only edible fruit from the bromeliad family and stops ripening the moment it is picked.
- Bromelain, an enzyme found abundantly in the stem and core of the pineapple, helps with digestion. Also known for its’ anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties; pineapple helps reduce mucus (so is good if you have a cold).
- Low in calories, fat free and rich in fibre.
- Excellent source of vitamin C.
- Excellent source of manganese which is important in energy production and antioxidant defense, as well as strong bones and connective tissue.
- Good source of thiamin (B1), also used in energy production.
- Good source of potassium.
- Pineapple juice is also a natural diuretic.
On to the berries! Let’s start with our favourite, the blueberry! These little guys are so versatile, you can use them in a 100 different ways and even so, we love them just as they are!
- One of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can eat; the blue color comes from its’ polyphenols (anthocyanidins) which provide most of the antioxidant properties.
- Rich in vitamin C.
- Go organic if you can. Studies have shown that organically grown blueberries contained significantly more antioxidants.
- Low on calories (a cup has about 80 calories) and no fat or cholesterol.
- Some studies have shown that blueberries may be good for your brain by slowing age-related cognitive loss.
- Research has also indicated that they may be good for your heart and urinary tract health.
- Good source of the trace mineral manganese (which is a component of many critical body enzymes).
- Take a look at this for more studies that have been done.
These berries are pretty zesty and packed full of goodness. Not only that, they make a perfect snack any time of day!
- Another berry packed full of antioxidants.
- They’re good for your teeth! A compound (proanthocyanidine) prevents plaque formation on teeth.
- Regular consumption of cranberry juice could kill some bad bacteria.
- Studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice can block urinary tract infections.
- Eat the whole berry! Many studies have shown that eating whole cranberries rather than liquid or supplement forms offer significantly higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Have been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels (i.e. bad cholesterol).
- Cranberries have a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) – a measurement of antioxidant capacity – than even raspberries or blueberries.
- Cranberries have also been used in anticancer research with some promising findings, however more reasearch will need to be done.
Probably the most exotic fruit on our list, some people love them, others hate ’em. Either way, you can’t deny the nutritional content of these berries:
- These (rather expensive) berries have the highest ORAC rating of any fruit – so they pack a lot of antioxidant punch.
- Goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for strength, libido and longevity.
- Are a complete protein: they contain 18 amino acids including all 8 essential amino acids.
- Contain more carotenoids than carrots. In some studies, carotenoid content in tissue has been linked to lifespan.
- Contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are important nutrients for eye health.
- Contain 21 trace minerals, including: selenium, zinc, magnesium and iron.
- Studies have shown some neuroprotective benefits in animal models.
Your turn: What are some of your favourite superfood fruits? Are you going to try any of these? Are you a lover or hater of Goji berries? Let us know in the comments below!