What is it, where are they and how true are “superfoods”?

Blueberries, quinoa (or quinoa), Andean poppies, chia seeds, moringa, goji berries … These are some of the foods that many believe have exceptional health benefits. These are known as superfoods.

But how much truth is there in these wonderful properties?

For the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, the term “superfood” In recent years, it has been used for advertising purposes, but in reality has no scientific definition, and does not elaborate on what advantages these well-known products have.

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Scientifically proven properties of the so-called “functional products” These are products that, in addition to their nutritional value, have an additional and beneficial effect on our body’s health.

Besides the necessary nutritional input, these products have prophylactic or healing properties as they can reduce the risk factors that cause disease.

And what foods have these properties? The most important of these are three: phytosterols, phytoestrogens and probiotics.

Phytosterols help reduce

Spoons able to lower blood cholesterol levelsbecause they interfere with its absorption in the intestines. Thus, part of the risk of cardiovascular diseases is also reduced.

Where do we find phytosterols? Well of course we find them in vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts and grains… Consuming enough of these foods ensures the contribution of phytosterols to our body.

But not only in natural products. Industry has enriched some products with these components to provide us with their benefits. For example, we can find margarines, yoghurts or dairy products fortified with these compounds on the market.

Phytoestrogens of moderate hormonal action

Hot flashes, sweating, insomnia, and depression are symptoms that appear during menopause and can be relieved.r with the intake of “phytoestrogens”, since they perform a function that estrogens do not perform at this stage.

As the name suggests, phytoestrogens have a small estrogenic effect that softens the function of this hormone, increasing or decreasing its effects. These connections can act as prevention of breast cancer, according to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation.

The main source of phytoestrogens soy products, especially soy protein (it contains phytoestrogen isoflavin). Remarkably some fruits, vegetables and nuts contain phytoestrogens from the group of “lignans”, which, although they act as isoflavines, are less active.

Probiotics to Improve Gut Microbiota

Gut microbiota it is a collection of microorganisms that live in the intestine… The importance of microbiota to our health is such that it is even considered a new organ our body.

And one way to keep it in top condition is by consuming probiotics. These live microorganisms, usually bacteria, survive transport through the upper intestines, especially through the acidic environment of the stomach, adhering and colonizes the intestines and favorably changes microbial balance.

The main function of “probiotics” is to colonize the intestine and make it an unsuitable environment for pathogenic bacteria, as well as improve intestinal function.

Lactobacilli, popular for life in yogurt, cheese, kefir, etc. they are probiotics with the specified protective activity, as well as bifidobacteria present in breast milk.

Among the possible positive health effects of probiotics, we find: reduce the frequency or severity of gastrointestinal infections, improve the body’s defenses, and can improve bowel function.

Probiotics They can be found not only in dairy products, but also in pharmacies.… Although at the moment these supplements they provide only 8 types of bacteriawhen there are more than 160.

In custody, the consumption of “functional food” goes beyond vitamins and minerals which are included in the basic food. Rather, they are compounds that occur naturally or are added to food and provide various benefits when consumed.

But as the Spanish Nutrition Foundation warns, not eating them does not cause nutritional deficiencies.

And don’t forget this this type of food should be eaten as part of a healthy and balanced diet, and in the same quantities in which the rest of the food is usually consumed.

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