If you’re after natural and minimally processed foods, the Institute of Food Technologists has suggested a list of eight seeds and berries you might be interested in trying. Forget that they call them superfoods, as we have mentioned before you need a bit of everything to feel good. No individual food can alone keep you healthy, but it sure doesn’t hurt to add some of the foods on the list to your diet.
The good seeds
First of the seeds are Chia Seeds that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They can be part of homemade trail mixes, baked goods, commercial nutrition bars, beverages and snacks.
Next we have Flaxseeds that are a good source of protein, fibre, antioxidants, phytoestrogens in the form of lignans, and omega-3 fatty acids. They might lower your blood cholesterol.
Sunflower seeds provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, fibre, vitamin E, and phytochemicals like choline, lignan, phenolic acids and betaine.
And finally Pumpkin Seeds that are packed with protein, fibre, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Up to you which one to choose or you could mix them all.
The good berries
If you are more for berries you have a choice of four.
Blueberries, as we have written about before, might reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness and are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, fructose, and antioxidants. The antioxidants might delay progress of diseases like cancer, heart problems, and the aging process.
Açai Berries are a particularly rich source of anthocyanin and have a fatty acid ratio similar to olive oil. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Tart Cherries are also high in anthocyanin and have high antioxidant activity with possible benefits including enhanced sleep, anti-inflammation in arthritis and gout, and sports recovery.
And finally Cranberries that have long been associated with benefiting urinary tract health but have also shown to benefit heart health, cancer prevention, oral health, and glycemic response, although conclusive evidence might be lacking.
You want more?
The Incaberries didn’t make it too the list. I have a pack of dried Incaberries in front of me just now calling it an ‘Exotic berry with super powers!’ They are native to high-altitude, tropical Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador, where the fruits grow wild. Only recently has the plant become an important crop and widely introduced into cultivation in other tropical, subtropical and even temperate areas. To increase their attractiveness they are called Pichuberries in the USA and Golden Berries in Britain.
Incaberries have an antioxidant capacity higher than Goji Berries (also missing from the above list) and other major dried fruits. Dried Incaberries are very high in fibre and contain vitamin C, but quite low levels. They make up for this with a strong antioxidant capacity and lots of phosphorus and potassium. The polyphenol antioxidants in Incaberries have been found to have anti-inflammatory qualities.
All good, but what about Noni Berries and Mangosteen or Aronia Berries and Maqui Berries? Not mentioned despite Aronia Berries being named the healthiest fruit in the world or the healing benefits of Maqui Berries so important to the Mapuche of Chile and Argentina.
I think the Institute of Food Technologists have more homework to do. We want it all!