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Just How Good are Superfoods and Is Kratom a Superfood? Learn Here!

It’s hard to walk down a grocery store aisle nowadays without seeing the word “superfood” on a package. As a health-conscious consumer, this might leave you wondering “what makes these foods so special, and should I be eating more of them?” Even though they may be extra nutritious, it’s important to eat these foods as part of an overall balanced diet, and to beware of marketing scams. 

Searching for more information about superfoods and health benefits? Explore the resource below, and learn about how kratom may fit into a superfood diet.  

Bowls full of different superfoods

What Is A Superfood? 

Superfoods are thought to be just what the word implies—foods with above average abilities. They are considered to be nutrient-dense foods, with ideal levels of both macronutrients (like protein, healthy fats, or carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). These foods may also contain exceptional or concentrated levels of other health-promoting compounds, like antioxidants, flavonoids, or fiber. 

Like functional foods, superfoods are believed to provide nutrition beyond the basic level. In essence they are purported to be more nutritionally efficient, meaning they might offer health benefits in tandem to high nutritional value. Additionally, superfoods may also be more efficiently digested or absorbed by the body in relation to other foods. Scientists often use words like “bioavailability” or “bioactivity” to describe these functions. 

In general, superfoods are suspected to “have an edge” up on the average food item. Not always, but in many cases, superfoods can be connected with other values, such as sustainability or eating organic. 

Why Eat Superfoods? (Superfoods and Benefits)

Perceived to have positive effects, superfoods and their benefits may be of special interest to those hoping to prevent or delay the onset of disease. How superfoods work may still be a mystery in some regard, but their exceptional nutritional value is thought to translate into better health. 

Other than contributing to reducing the risk of disease, superfoods are also studied for their potential to boost physical and mental health. Although each food is different, in general, the unique properties of superfoods are associated with everything from better heart health to better immunity to decreasing inflammation. For those hoping to restore health or enhance function, superfoods seem like a promising solution. 

As an added perk, superfoods are available in most marketplaces. They come in a variety of forms, including raw and fortified foods, powder, and capsules. Although they sometimes have a reputation for being expensive or foreign (with intriguing names like moringa or acai berry), superfoods are often approachable and affordable, meaning they are easy to incorporate into your diet. Since some superfoods do come from across the globe, they can be a great way to get out of your comfort zone and expand your tastes. 

woman looking at food label in health food store aisle

The Downside of The “Superfood” Definition

Unfortunately, “superfood” is a term without a standard medical, legal, or dietary definition. Many sources track its origins back to food marketing strategists, not nutrition experts like dietitians or food scientists. Currently, there’s no universal definition of what makes a superfood a superfood, or what level of nutrients makes these foods rise above the rest.  

Although some foods are truly super, some companies may use the term as a form of marketing jargon used to distract consumers from other, more suspicious ingredients. It’s been labeled a buzzword that can create confusion, and is sometimes used to catch attention rather than convey true nutritional value. 

In other words, the superfood label is quite ambiguous and informal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but may mean that superfoods have health claims that are yet to be proven. Instead, they are often based on long-standing use in indigenous communities, rather than scientific studies (a phenomenon that may make sense if you’re in the kratom crowd).  The good news is, there’s a growing body of research behind these foods, so you can decide for yourself whether or not they vibe with your diet values. 

Advice For Incorporating Superfoods Into Your Diet 

Instead of exclusively seeking out packages that say “superfood” or eating only superfoods, try incorporating superfoods as part of an overall healthy dietary pattern. As the Harvard School of Public Health suggests, “focus on a super plate, not just superfoods.” 

Keep your eye out for nutritious options that don’t necessarily contain the superfood label. These may include local, seasonal foods that are at their nutritional peak, which also tend to be more affordable. 

What Superfoods to Eat Daily

Superfoods may include foods you already eat, such as eggs or kale. Or, they may introduce you to options that are more exotic to you, like spirulina, chlorella, and edible aquatic greens (like seaweed). 

Most foods fall within the fruit, vegetable, or grain food groups, but there are some interesting outliers. Keep in mind you see some foods with more specific labeling, such as “superfruit” or “supergrain.” These foods typically fall in the superfood category, too. 

If you don’t know where to start, check out this superfoods list, with superfoods examples from a variety of food groups: 

  • Animal-based protein: skinless poultry, salmon, eggs, yogurt, and non-dairy milks 
  • Plant-based protein: nuts (such as walnuts), seeds (like chia, hemp, carob, and flaxseed), beans, and lentils   
  • Grains: some cereals and breads (usually made from whole or ancient grains), such as buckwheat, quinoa, and oats 
  • Fruits & vegetables: beets, bananas, berries (including acai and goji berries), citrus pomegranates, avocados, passion fruit, dragon fruit, jackfruit, tomatoes, bell peppers broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, mushrooms, and dark leafy greens (like kale)     
  • Beverages: coffee, green tea, and matcha tea
  • Herbs, spices, flavoring agents, and other: maca, moringa, cinnamon, cocoa and dark chocolate, ginger, turmeric, garlic, ginseng, ashwagandha, bee pollen and honey, olive oil, and fermented foods    

It’s important to note that you don’t have to eat all these foods daily, but can pick and choose from the list. One easy swap to make is to replace foods you are already eating (such as rice) with a superfood option (such as quinoa). That way, you’ll be more likely to stick with eating superfoods as part of an overall healthy diet. 

Lemon, mushroom, and other superfoods

Is Kratom a Superfood? 

After all this talk about superfoods, you may be wondering about kratom. After all, Golden Monk is a kratom manufacturer that discusses the holistic benefits of this popular, botanical ingredient. Well, especially in terms of macro-nutrients, kratom may struggle to be categorized as a traditional superfood. It just isn’t that calorically dense. This is also a big reason why many people think of kratom as a dietary supplement rather than a food item.

More food for thought: While it’s hard to pinpoint some of kratom’s nutritional specifics, research suggests kratom may show excellent antioxidant activity. Since superfoods include items like herbs, botanicals, and mushrooms, it’s not too far of a leap to say that kratom might be making waves in the superfood world soon. Regardless of the labeling, kratom is known to give many people a boost of energy and a general sense of well-being with the potential to unlock other changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Another similarity that kratom shares with other superfoods is that it’s available in a variety of forms, including powder and capsules. This means kratom may easily fit into your lifestyle, alongside other foods and items you’re already consuming for your health.  

Summing Up Superfoods 

More than just a marketing gimmick, some foods really are super. Seek out items that have an ideal nutrient profile, and that align with your overall healthy lifestyle. Even just a few swaps to recipes you already eat could take your diet from average to exceptional. 

Searching for the missing piece in your holistic health journey? Kratom may be a super option for you. Select what works best for you from our wide range of products

Reference Sources

American Heart Association. Get Smart About Superfoods Infographic. Heart.org. Accessed December 2023. 

Cleveland Clinic. What Is a Superfood, Anyway? Health.clevelandclinic.org. Published November 2021. 

Gupta E, Mishra P. Functional Food with Some Health Benefits, So Called Superfood: A Review. Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2021;17(2):144-166.  

Fernández-Ríos A, Laso J, Hoehn D, Amo-Setién F, Abajas-Bustillo R, et al. A critical review of superfoods from a holistic nutritional and environmental approach. J Clean Prod. 2022;379(1):134491.  

Harvard School of Public Health. Superfoods and Superhype? Hsph.harvard.edu. Accessed December 2023. 

Jagdale YD, Mahale SV, ZohraB, Nayik GA, Dar AH, et al. Nutritional Profile and Potential Health Benefits of Super Foods: A Review. Sustainability. 2021;13(6):9240.  

Leffler S. The Top 10 Superfoods, According to More Than 750 Registered Dietitians. Realsimple.com. Published November 2023. 

Liu H, Meng-Lewis Y, Ibrahim F, Zhu X. Superfoods, super healthy: Myth or reality? Examining consumers’ repurchase and WOM intention regarding superfoods: A theory of consumption values perspective. J Bus Res. 2021;137:69-88. 

Marks J. 27 Superfoods to Add to Your Grocery List. Verywellhealth.com. Published September 2023. 

Noia JD. Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:130390. 

Northwestern Medicine. Do Superfoods Exist? Nm.org. Published January 2020. 

Šamec D, Urlić B, Salopek-Sondi B. Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) as a superfood: Review of the scientific evidence behind the statement. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(15):2411-2422.  

Shalchi H. What is a superfood? Blogs.bcm.edu. Published September 2023. 

Sign MP, Soni K, Bhamra R, Mittal RK. Superfood: Value and Need. Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2022;18(1):65-68.  

Yuniarti R, Nadia S, Alamanda A, Zubir M, Syahputra R, Nizam M. Characterization, Phytochemical Screenings and Antioxidant Activity Test of Kratom Leaf Ethanol Extract (Mitragyna speciosa Korth) Using DPPH Method. J Phys Conf Ser. 2020;1492.

 

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