Superfoods and benefits

Superfoods and benefits

I am fortunate enough to have close relations with a wonderful girl who goes by the name of Mina. She works in her husbands family business which sells/wholesales herbs, spices, teas, superfoods, essential oils, vitamins and so much more here in my beautiful hometown, Thessaloniki! She recently gave me a bag with a mix of superfoods so that I can add 2 Tablespoons a day to my breakfast. This mix promises good health, stimulation. energy, vitamin intake and the list goes on and on and on! I’ll tell you one thing, my life has changed since this super boost intake and it will surely change yours. Read the benefits of EACH one below and you will understand why…

Aronia Berries

 They are extremely high in antioxidants. They also have the highest anthocyanin concentrations (pigments), and are very high in proanthocyanidins (tannins), in addition to a lot of other polyphenols .Aronia berries have been used in scientific research because of their extremely high levels of these phytonutrients.  Following an initial review of the available clinical data we feel there is evidence to suggest that regular aronia berry consumption may:

Reduce blood pressure

Reduce oxidised LDL cholesterol levels

Reduce inflammation

Reduce the chance of a heart attack

Reduce recovery time following a heart attack

Reduce weight gain

Reduce eye inflammation

Reduce muscle recovery time after workouts 

Regulate Blood sugar

Reduce the chance of developing cancer


They hold significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called pro-anthocyanidins (PAC’s). Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries have potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections.

Antioxidant compounds in cranberries such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s), anthocyanidin flavonoids, cyanidin, peonidin and quercetin may prevent cardiovascular disease by counteracting against cholesterol plaque formation in the heart and blood vessels. 

Research studies show that cranberry juice consumption offers protection against gram-negative bacterial infections such as E.coli in the urinary system by inhibiting bacterial-attachment to the bladder and urethra.

Consumption of cranberries turns urine acidic. This, together with the inhibition of bacterial adhesion property of cranberry juice, helps prevent the formation of alkaline (calcium ammonium phosphate) stones in the urinary tract by working against proteus bacterial-infections.

In addition, the berries are also good source of many vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, ß-carotene, lutein, and folate and minerals like potassium, and manganese.

Pumpkin seeds

Crunchy, delicious pumpkin seeds are high in calories; about 559 calories per 100 g. In addition, they are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals, and numerous health promoting antioxidants. Their high calorific value mainly comes from protein and fats. Nonetheless, the kernels are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Pumpkin seeds carry good-quality protein. 100 g seeds provide 30 g or 54% of recommended daily allowance of protein. In addition, the seeds are an excellent source of amino acid tryptophan and glutamate. They are a very good source of anti-oxidant vitamin E and are also an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folate. These vitamins work as co-factors for various enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism in the human body.

Sunflower seeds

Much of their calories come from fatty acids. The seeds are especially rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acid linoleum acid, which constitute more 50% fatty acids in them. They are also good in mono-unsaturated oleic acid that helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good-cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in monounsaturated fats help to prevent coronary artery disease, and stroke by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.

Like other nuts, they are also a very good source of proteins with fine quality amino acids such as tryptophan that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 21 g of protein (37% of daily-recommended values).

Further, the seeds are indeed a very rich source of vitamin E; contain about 35.17 g per100 g (about 234% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals. They are one of the finest sources of B-complex group of vitamins. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.

The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sunflower seeds. Many of these minerals play a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme secretion, hormone production, as well as in the regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.

Acai berry

These have very good levels of anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have health benefiting and disease preventing properties.

Unlike other berries and fruits, acai has high caloric values and fats. 100 grams of berries provide about 80-250 calories depending up on the preparation and serving methods. Acai berry contains many polyphenolic anthocyanin compounds like resveratrol, cyanidin-3-galactoside, ferulic acid, delphinidin, petunidin as well as astringent pro-anthocyanidin tannins like epicatechin, protocatechuic acid and ellagic acid. Scientific studies suggest that these compounds have been claimed to act as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer functions by virtue of their anti-free radical fighting actions. In addition, tannins found to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties.

Acai berry is also rich in medium chain fatty acids like oleic acid (omega-9) and linoleic acid (omega-6). These compounds help reduce LDL-cholesterol level and raise good HDL-cholesterol levels in the body and thus help cut down heart disease risk. Additionally, the essential fats in acai help prevent skin dryness by maintaining adequate moisture in the skin.

Acai berries contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is utilized inside the human body as co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Further, they are rich in B-complex vitamins and vitamin-K. Niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and riboflavin are found in adequate amounts in them. These vitamins are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Chia seeds

These compose almost of all the essential nutrients such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals essential for optimum growth and development in good proportions. Being an oil seed, chia is rich in calories. 100 g seeds provide 388 calories. However, much of their calories come from poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUF). Chia seeds compose an excellent proportion of omega-3 to 6 poly-unsaturated fats; in the recommended ratio of 1:4. An important omega 3-fatty acid in chia is alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Studies found that ALA and other omega 3 fatty acids by virtue of their anti-inflammatory actions help lessen blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon, and prostate cancers risks. Adequate quantities of omega-3’s in the diet may be essential for normal development and maturation of nervous system in infants and young children.

Chia seeds compose of several health benefiting anti-oxidants namely ferulic acid, caffeic acid, quercetin, etc.

100 g seeds provide about 91% of daily recommended intake levels of dietary fiber. The outer coat of chia is made of water-soluble mucilage, a non-starch polysaccharide (NSP), which swells up several times and acquires gel-like consistency. Mucilage helps in smooth digestion and bowel movements.

Chia is a gluten free grain. People with known sensitivity to gluten sensitivity or celiac’s disease can safely add it in their diet.

Chia are one of the low glycemic index foods and according to has a fullness facor of 2.8. Low glycemic index help in effective regulation of daily blood glucose levels. Substitution of chia to rice and other cereal grains may benefit in individuals with diabetes.

The seeds are an excellent source of vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folic acid. Niacin is an important B-complex vitamin found abundantly in chia, nearly more than twice the amount in sesame seeds. 100 g of chia provide about 8.83 mg or 55% of daily-required levels of niacin. Niacin helps reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.

Goji Berries

Similar to the benefits you get from eating other berries, goji berries are loaded with beta-carotene (a pigment found in plants and fruits) which helps promote healthy skin.

Goji berries have also been known to help boost the immune system and protect the eyes — talk about a super fruit. And like other berries, goji berries are also an excellent source of vitamin C and can reduce tough cold symptoms.

Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants because of their oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value. An ORAC value indicates a food’s antioxidant power on a relative scale.

As a plus, goji berries are low in calories, fat-free and are packed with fibre — which also helps you manage weight and go the bathroom on a regular basis.

My sources people (Yup, I’m not a know it all!!)