What is a superfood? And what are the benefits of superfoods for our dogs?

Merriam Webster defines a superfood as ‘a food that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fibre, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person's health’

According to University California Davis Campus ‘Scientifically speaking, though, there is no official definition of a superfood, other than to say it is a food that offers high levels of desirable nutrients, linked to promoting personal health and wellness or preventing disease and sickness.’

And finally, T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University opines ‘…. a food is promoted to superfood status when it offers high levels of desirable nutrients, is linked to the prevention of a disease, or is believed to offer several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value.’

The list of superfoods is not particularly lengthy given the number of foods we have to choose from and one of the best lists can be found on Healthline.

To summarise this is their list of superfoods and the reasons why these foods are elevated to this status.

  • 1.       Dark Leafy Greens – accorded superfood status because of their excellent nutrient density, including many important vitamins, minerals and fibres, coupled with their potential to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. They also contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds known as carotenoids, which may protect against certain types of cancer.

Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens and Swiss Chard are singled out.

  • 2.       Berries – described as ‘nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.’ Their potent antioxidant capacity is associated with the reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions. They are also thought to be effective in treating digestive and immune-related disorders. 

Their list includes Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries and Cranberries. We would add Goji berries and although it is not a berry, Baobab, to the list given the very high levels of antioxidants they contain.

  • 3.       Green Tea – is a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds, including epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which have strong anti-inflammatory effects that have the ability to protect against chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

  • 4.       Eggsthe only animal-based food other than salmon to make their list,eggs are rich in many nutrients including B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus and also high-quality protein. They contain two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to protect vision and eye health.

It should be noted that high quality protein can be found in many plant-based foods, many of which also enjoy superfood status as can zeaxanthin and lutein which are found in equal abundance in kale, spinach, broccoli, peas and lettuce.

  • 5.       Legumes - Legumes, or pulses, are a class of plant foods made up of beans (including soy, broad beans, chickpeas, adzuki bens), lentils, peas, peanuts and alfalfa. They are packed with nutrients and phytonutrients that play a role in preventing and managing various diseases.

Legumes are a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, protein and fibre.

Research indicates that they offer many health benefits including improved type 2 diabetes management, as well as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol.

Eating beans and legumes regularly may also promote healthy weight management and control, due to their ability to improve feelings of satiety.

  • 6.       Nuts and Seeds – these foods are rich in fibre, vegan protein and heart-healthy fats.

They also contain various plant phytocompounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can protect against oxidative stress.

Research shows that eating nuts and seeds can have a protective effect against heart disease.

Their list includes almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds.

We would add quinoa to this list which is technically a seed although often mistaken for a grain. Quinoa is a complete protein and has numerous powerful phytochemicals shown to be disease preventative.

  • 7.       Kefir (And Yogurt) - Kefir is a fermented beverage usually made from milk but can be made using plant-based milks (coconut milk, rice milk and coconut water) that contains protein, calcium, B vitamins, potassium and probiotics. Fermented, probiotic-rich foods like kefir have several associated health benefits, including reduced cholesterol, lowered blood pressure, improved digestion and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • 8.       Garlic - garlic is a plant food from the allium family (onions, leeks and shallots). It’s a good source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and fibre.

It has also been used for its medicinal benefits for centuries. Research shows it may be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease, as well as supporting immune function. Sulphur-containing compounds in garlic may even play a role in preventing certain types of cancer.

  • 9.       Olive Oil - it is a natural oil extracted from the fruit of olive trees and one of the mainstays of the Mediterranean diet. It contains high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyphenolic compounds.

It may reduce inflammation and the risk of certain chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. It also contains antioxidants such as vitamins E and K, which can protect against cellular damage from oxidative stress.

  • 10.   Ginger - ginger is used as both a culinary flavour enhancer and for its multiple medicinal effects. Ginger root contains antioxidants, such as gingerol, that are likely responsible for many of its reported health benefits.

It has also been shown to be effective for managing nausea and reducing pain from acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, as well as reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, dementia and certain cancers.

  • 11.   Turmeric (Curcumin) - turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is closely related to ginger. Originally from India, it’s used for cooking and its medicinal benefits. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and is the focus of most research surrounding turmeric.

Studies show that curcumin may be effective in treating and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

It may also aid wound healing and pain reduction. Turmeric is that it’s not easily absorbed by the body, but its absorption can be enhanced by combining it with fats and black pepper.

  • 12.   Salmon - a highly nutritious fish packed with healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, potassium and selenium. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for a variety of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation which reduces risk of heart disease and diabetes and helps maintain a healthy weight.

There is a caveat to eating salmon and other types of seafood and that is possible contamination with heavy metals and other environmental pollutants. Seaweed is the original source of Omega-3 and is only contained in Salmon and other fatty fish because it forms part of their food chains diet. Seaweed also mitigates the risk of heavy metal contamination.

  • 13.   Avocado - avocado is a highly nutritious fruit, rich in many nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Like olive oil, avocado is high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). Oleic acid is the most predominant MUFA in avocado, which is linked to reduced inflammation in the body.

Avocado may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancer.

  • 14.   Sweet Potato - sweet potato is a root vegetable loaded with many nutrients, including potassium, fibre and vitamins A and C. They’re also a good source of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant that may reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. They are also known to be beneficial for eye health.

They may actually improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.

  • 15.   Mushrooms - some of the most common varieties of edible mushrooms are button, portobello, shiitake, cremini and oyster mushrooms. There are numerous mushrooms revered for their medicinal properties including Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps and Turkey tail.

Though nutrient content varies depending on the type, mushrooms contain vitamin A, potassium, fibre, and several antioxidants, including potent beta-glucans, not present in most other foods.

Due to their unique antioxidant content, mushrooms play a role in reducing inflammation and preventing certain types of cancers.

Another super feature of mushrooms is that agricultural waste products are used to grow them. This makes mushrooms a sustainable component of a healthy food system.

  • 16.   Seaweed - seaweed is a term used to describe certain nutrient-rich sea vegetables. Seaweed packs multiple nutrients, including vitamin K, folate, iodine and fibre. They are a source of unique bioactive compounds — not typically present in land-vegetables — which have powerful antioxidant effects.

Some of these compounds may also reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

If you have been through our Bonza ingredients, you will notice that we include a significant number of these ‘superfoods’ in our unique recipe.

These superfoods work synergistically with our blend of super herbs and adaptogens to deliver the very best in preventative health benefits for your dog in a vegan dog food.

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us