The superfood diet: 10 rules to follow
Deciding to include superfoods in your diet can be one of the best decisions you make this year: just make sure you follow these rules to harness the full benefits of nature’s greatest gifts.
1. Mix & match the superfoods in your diet.
Our body needs a vast array of nutrients, so don’t just stick to one, but include a variety of superfoods, both local and exotic – no superfood is the absolute “best”, but combining and alternating them in the context of a healthy, varied diet is definitely the best way to go.
2. Include both local and exotic superfoods.
We tend to prefer exotic-sounding superfoods, but let’s keep in mind that locally sourced superfoods can provide the right balance of nutrients you need when living at a certain latitude – become aware of what superfoods are in season where you live, and don’t spend the winter feasting on tropical fruit if you are in Northern Europe!
3. Make sure the superfoods you buy are from pure and uncontaminated sources.
It is best to choose organic, especially when buying from non-EU countries that might still be using pesticides that are classified as dangerous in Europe.
4. Be aware of how the superfoods you choose are prepared.
Many nutrients are lost if the product is heated: make sure your superfood diet includes some raw products, not heated above 46 °C. Also, with drinks like coconut water, you should do a little research on whether it is a pure form or comes from concentrate.
5. Some superfoods also contain anti-nutrients
Before including certain superfoods in your diet, make sure you know whether they have any side effects:
Goji berries are for instance part of the nightshades family (the same as aubergine and potatoes) which have been linked with the exacerbation of some health issues; broccoli are a great source of nutrients but should not be consumed raw in great quantities when impaired thyroid function is suspected.
6. Consume your superfoods as close as possible to their natural form.
Be careful: you will often find on the market products claiming they contain superfoods, but if the ingredients list also includes sugar, salt or unhealthy oils you should steer clear from them! Always look for the purest form and carefully read ingredients list, especially on “superfoods bars”.
7. Timing can be important as well.
Some superfoods are stimulating (like spirulina and maca roots) while others have a more relaxant effect (oats are very soothing for the nervous system, while cacao contains high levels of the relaxation mineral magnesium): be aware of which superfoods have certain effects so you can take them at the right time to harness the benefits.
8. Superfoods can have side effects if not taken correctly.
While generally safe, you should be careful when including nutrients-dense superfoods in your diet for the first time:
Chlorella for instance has a powerful detoxifying effect which can be tough for your body to handle; spirulina should be taken at very low doses for the first couple of weeks as it can cause headaches and general malaise; when using bee products like bee pollen you should only test with a small amount to make sure you are not allergic.
9. Superfoods aren’t everything
Always keep in mind that you can have the healthiest, superfoods-laden diet, but if you aren’t moving your body with the appropriate amount of exercise, the benefits will be lost –so yes, exercise is a “superfood” too!
10. Keep it simple
While we tend to think that the more exotic the superfood the better, remember that simple things like pure water, organic local apples and broccoli are amazing superfoods as well – and they come with the added benefit of being more sustainable.