According to various scientific information sources, a superfood is an unscientific term used in various contexts used to describe food with high nutrient, vitamin or phytochemical content that may confer health benefits, with few properties considered to be negative.
This lead Aaron Moss in the journal Nature Nutrition in 1998, to claim “Humans have many options when it comes to fueling their bodies, but the benefits of some options are so nutritious that they might be labeled as superfoods.”
In legal terms though the term ‘superfood’ has no standing although its use has been regulated in certain jurisdictions. For example, since 1 July 2007, the marketing of products as “superfoods” is prohibited in the European Union unless accompanied by a specific medical claim supported by credible scientific research.
As such whilst there is no definitive list of superfoods, the following list combines the up-and-coming with old favourites including Aloe Vera nearly 20 years ago, so readers may be better informed and eat their way to good health!
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables with cynarine being its most prominent chemical constituent in Cynara. The majority of the cynarine found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.
This vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting an aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function and gall bladder function, and raising of the HDL/LDL ratio, thereby offering the potential to reduce cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease (furring up of the arteries). Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-Coenzyme A Reductase and having a lipid lowering influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Its main bioactive agents are apigenin and luteolin with some beneficial effects on beneficial gut flora. Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with dyspepsia (indigestion) and may ameliorate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
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