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Superfoods, Not Just a Trend

The term “superfood” is one we’ve encountered everywhere in the past few years: on television, in online articles, in trendy recipes and even on some of the products at your grocery store. If you’ve rolled your eyes and thought it was all just a marketing ploy, think again. Superfoods are well and truly great for your health. In fact, when your body transitions between seasons this fall, consider adding some superfoods to some of your classic dishes. Your system will have an easier time absorbing and integrating the nutrients found in superfoods than those in food supplements, and their benefits are boundless. Ready to discover what make them so super?

What is a Superfood?

Superfoods are fruits, vegetables, seeds or spices with greater-than-average (see exceptional) nutritional value. According to some specialists, superfoods could play an important role in preventing malnutrition in developing countries.

When foods undergo little or no transformation by man, their nutritional value is higher. The more a fruit or vegetable is forced to grow in difficult conditions, the more it’s forced to fortify itself against extreme climate, providing it with an enormous concentration of nutrients. Anti-inflammatories, relaxants for the mind and body, antibiotics: the list of benefits is long. Some of the things superfoods do are the following:

  • Protect against diseases, infections and inflammation
  • Help to reinforce the immune system
  • Contribute to greater mind-body balance
  • Prevent malnutrition or a deficit in certain nutrients
  • Provide energy and make for a better workout
  • Help with workout recovery

Superfoods for a Super Workout

These little bombs of energy were quick to win over athletes worldwide, and they’re slowly encroaching on cupboard space and fridges in kitchens across the nation.

A few tablespoons of chia seeds on your cereal in the morning, and the nutritional value of your breakfast has just skyrocketed, especially in terms of protein. We’re talking 22 grams for every 100 grams of chia.

Acai berries are increasingly popular—particularly as a sorbet in the renowned acai bowl—which isn’t surprising. On top of being delicious, they help with digestion and sleep, promising to provide you with a level of energy that is stable enough not to send you through the roof.

We can’t talk about superfoods without discussing spirulina. This blue-green algae is full of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and its exceptional levels of chlorophyll deliver oxygen to the blood.

You’ll be happy to know that raw cocoa is also a superfood. We’re not talking chocolate here, but cocoa—to be consumed in smoothies or as cracked beans on top of desserts. It stimulates the mind on top of containing powerful antioxidants and taking care of your heart.

All athletes should know about goji berries, one of the rare fruits that contains a complete protein. Goji berries provide a great mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fibre, enabling the body to build endurance and a tolerance to physical effort.

You may think that superfoods are pricey and found only in upscale grocery stores. Not necessarily! Inexpensive turmeric is a superfood that can be found everywhere. Add it to your vinaigrettes or sprinkle it on top of your salads. On top of adding a gorgeous splash of orange, it reduces the inflammation caused by micro-tears, which is why bodybuilders are so enamoured of it!

Finally, garlic, when organic and bought locally, is exceptional: rich in antioxidants, it’s also an antiviral, antiseptic, and antibiotic. Slip it into a stewing soup for a wonderful scent and to reap its many benefits.

Post-workout Smoothie

This simple recipe, designed to be consumed within 30 minutes of working out, was created by nutritionist Karine Mousseau. This refreshing smoothie will help you rebuild glycogen stores in your muscles and liver, fill up on protein and repair muscle fibre while replenishing the electrolytes that were released with your sweat.

  • 2 cups kale (or spinach)
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup strawberries, if in season, or acai purée
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp
  • 1 cup coconut water

Drink up and enjoy!

As a complement to a balanced diet, superfoods are great allies for optimal health. There’s no need to use each one every day to benefit from their impact. By integrating a few of them into your diet, you will begin to see changes in your day-to-day life, be they mental or physical. Explore health food shops and grocery stores, ask for help and discover the multitude of superfoods that make a difference. Bon appétit!

Karine Mousseau

After studying naturopathy, Karine completed a Bachelor's degree in nutrition at the University of Ottawa. Check out more of her work at karinemousseau.com, or by booking a private consultation in Bromont or Longueuil.