New ideas and discoveries are coming out every day, along with hoards of emerging supplements and “superfoods”. The internet is constantly yelling about the newest trends, and it can be hard to sift through all the new info and find what is actually useful.
Here we are going to talk about some of the trending health foods on the market with examples of superfoods you’re probably seeing on the shelves of your local grocery store. We’ll break down what superfoods are, how they work, and whether or not you actually need them.
Examples Of Superfoods That May Be Important For You
As you grow older, you are trying to stay intentional about what you put in your body. You may be on a diet recommended by your doctor that is specific to your unique health needs, you may be trying to help your body age healthily, or you might just want to maintain your already healthy lifestyle. Regardless of your motivation, one thing’s for certain: in order to keep everything functioning properly and maintain optimum mobility in the years to come, you need high-quality nutrition.
It’s important that you spend your money on only the foods that have the highest value for your body, like, for example, superfoods, which pack a whole lot of power into a small package. To save you some hours reading nutrition labels, we’ve compiled some of the top trending superfoods here and will discuss some of the reasons you might want to include each one in your diet.
Here are some examples of superfoods you may be seeing in your local grocery store:
- MCT Oil
- Collagen Protein
1. What is MCT Oil?
Though you’ve heard of it, you may still be wondering what MCT oil really is. For starters, MCT is short for medium-chain triglyceride, which is a medium-length chain of fats. These particular fats are quickly absorbed and digested by the body and act as a powerful energy source. MCT Oil is found in coconut oil, palm oil, and full-fat dairy products.
As you get older, you may have noticed your energy start to decline. If you’re tiring out more easily, you may need a little extra energy boost to help you get through the day, especially if you are headed out for an event or family gathering. MCT Oil may help provide that boost of energy and dose of mental clarity you need.
If you choose to add MCT Oil to your diet, start slowly. If you take too high a dose of these fatty acids, you may be running to the bathroom. And remember, you want to get a good balance of fats in your diet, not just one kind. So make sure you mix it up and consume a healthy mix of saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.Benefits of MCT Oil
- May reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing heart-protective HDL cholesterol
- May promote weight loss by increasing hormones peptide YY and leptin
- Optimizes the growth of good gut bacteria which improves digestive health
- Acts as a near-instant energy source for both the brain and body
2. What Are Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)?
There is a group of amino acids that are not created naturally by your body but are still immensely beneficial for a happy, healthy life. These amino acids are known as BCAAs.
There are 20 different amino acids that combine to make up all the proteins you need to function properly. Nine must be obtained entirely from your diet (thus named essential amino acids). The other 11 are produced by the body and require minimal supplementation from the diet, although we still benefit from eating them. Additionally, three of the 9 essential amino acids are in a chemical structure called “branched-chain”, thus the common term “BCAAs”. These 3 amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Particularly active adults may consider taking BCAAs to help reduce soreness and boost recovery. Most people take BCAAs after they’ve been out exercising or are coming home from a physically challenging day. For our readers who generally turn to light exercise, BCAAs may not be completely necessary.
If you do decide to try this superfood out, you can drink them in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Though if you drink too much in the evening you may not sleep as well as you should, so we recommend sticking to this one earlier in the day.
Benefits of BCAAs for Athletes
- Helps decrease muscle soreness after exercise through reducing protein breakdown
- May improve mental focus
- Helps reduce exercise-induced exhaustion
- Can help increase muscle growth (aka muscle protein synthesis)
3. What is Collagen Protein?
Collagen is an insoluble fibrous protein that is the main building block for your tendons, ligaments, bones, skin, muscles, and other connective tissues. It is the most abundant protein found in humans and mammals, making up about 25%-35% of the total protein in your body.
Collagen is created by three chains of over 1,000 amino acids including proline, hydroxyproline, and glycine. It is strong enough to form the powerful foundational and protective structures of your body and is important in recovery and injury prevention. In short, this is an incredibly important superfood.
Yet, because collagen protein comes from the tendons and connective tissues of animals (generally cows) we don’t eat much of it in our modern diet. You can use collagen peptide protein supplements in the same way you would use other protein products. A popular way to get a quick dose of collagen protein (collagen peptides) is through our own ProT Gold liquid hydrolyzed collagen protein, which is fast-absorbing and trusted by over 3,000 medical facilities. Additionally, it’s a complete protein with all the essential and non-essential acids, which is not something that general collagen can promise.
Benefits of Collagen Protein
- Supports the aging of healthy joints
- Can help strengthen bones and improve the aging process
- Supports strong, healthy skin
- Improves muscle mass and strength
- Aids in injury prevention/recovery
- Can help strengthen your connective tissue and improve your flexibility
4. What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a filamentous cyanobacterium which grows in warm oceans, creating large tangled masses that look similar to seaweed. It’s harvested and dried, then made into a superfood powder that is now a trending supplement. It is also used as a non-artificial food dye, given its dark green color. It contains many vitamins and minerals which are what constitute its benefits.
Spirulina is an example of a superfood that is nutrient-dense, heart-healthy and provides great benefits for most people. Plus, with a tablespoon being a full serving, it’s easy to take. Add a scoop to a morning smoothie before work and give your body an extra boost.
Benefits of Spirulina
- May reduce risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and raising heart-protective HDL cholesterol
- May help reduce blood pressure
- May improve anemia symptoms by increasing hemoglobin content of RBCs
Plus, spirulina is extremely nutrient-rich, with just one tablespoon containing:
- Copper (21% RDA)
- Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 (15% RDA)
- Iron (11% RDA)
- Thiamine or Vitamin B1 (11% RDA)
- Niacin or Vitamin B3 (4% RDA)
- Protein (4 grams)
- Fat (1 gram)
5. What is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is the freshly sprouted leaves of a wheat plant. While the internet is full of claimed health benefits, only a handful have been studied and “proven” in scientific literature. Wheatgrass is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, as with other plant foods. Whether or not wheatgrass is a “superfood” is up for debate, but it fits in well with other produce items in terms of nutrient-density and benefits.
While getting your greens is always a great idea, we believe in adopting new habits that are backed by plenty of research. If you’re a health food buff and want to see if wheatgrass helps get your morning started, one shot glass is all you need. But, if you’re overwhelmed with all the examples of superfoods here and in your grocery store, there are others on the list that you should prioritize.
Benefits of Wheatgrass
- Contains antioxidants including glutathione and vitamins C and E
- May reduce inflammation in the digestive tract
- Contains dietary fiber (helps with good bowel movements)
- May contain antimicrobial properties
6. What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and middle-eastern dishes. It is a root plant with an active ingredient called curcumin, which is the source of most of its health benefits. Turmeric is also a common non-artificial food dye because of its staining yellow/orange coloring. Historically, it has been used to make medicine, and has recently become popular in western culture as a superfood - and for good reason.
Turmeric, specifically the curcumin in turmeric, has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is an example of a superfood that is certainly not a “cure-all” - nor should it be treated as such - but it can be a great ingredient in a wholesome, balanced diet.
Instead of buying expensive turmeric supplements, you can simply buy it as a spice or even buy the entire turmeric root in the produce section of your grocery store. Sprinkle it in your homemade meals with black pepper to boost its bioavailability and - viola!
This is one of the easier foods on our list to incorporate in your diet - and you may already be eating it.
Benefits of Turmeric
- Potent anti-inflammatory qualities
- Contains antioxidant properties
- Increases brain-derived neuropathic factor
- May support memory
- May improve mood by supporting healthy levels of serotonin and dopamine
7. The Benefits of Mushrooms
Many brands have started to release “performance mushroom” superfood supplements, and lots of us at home might be wondering what all the hype is about. Is it worth spending money on a mushroom supplement, or should you just buy mushrooms from the produce section and include them in your meals?
Mushrooms do have benefits for active adults, but because you can eat them, we don’t suggest spending a lot of money on powdered forms. The most important thing to remember is that not all mushrooms are created equally! Take a look at some of the benefits below and start adding a few different kinds to a stir fry, veggie scramble or side dish for a nutrient-dense meal.
Benefits of Mushrooms
- Cordyceps and Chaga mushrooms may elevate stamina
- Reishi and cordyceps mushrooms can block lactic acid from building up in your muscles
- Mushrooms contain good amounts of antioxidants
- Cordyceps support the cardiovascular system
Fuel for Every Stage of Life
Good nutrition is absolutely vital to lasting health and aging gracefully. Without the right food to fuel your body, you may not have the energy or stamina to continue to live actively throughout your adult and senior years.
All the examples of superfoods that we listed today have some benefits. But, be careful not to get wrapped up in the “superfood” culture where one food is deemed superior to all others. Remember that all those regular fruits and vegetables, calorie-dense proteins, and other common foods have just as worthy health benefits!
If you’re looking for something to reduce signs of aging, fuel your cells, strengthen your connective tissues, and help with injury prevention, check out our high-quality collagen protein supplement. ProT Gold is designed with overall health in mind and fits the bill when it comes to having an easy, convenient source of collagen protein in your diet.
If you remember from our examples above, collagen is one of the superfoods that will replenish your body’s natural collagen stores (which start to deplete in our 20’s) and support your body when it comes to aging gracefully. Try ProT Gold today and see why it’s trusted by over 3,000 medical professionals for its broad range of health benefits.