We see the word 'superfood' just about everywhere these days — it's in the media, in the aisles at the grocery store, and even in beauty products. But what exactly are superfoods, and what makes them so super? Is there a secret society of cape-wearing fruits and veggies somewhere saving the world from one villain at a time? Can carrots read minds, or do Brussel sprouts fight crime?
Well, not exactly. However, some foods are so nutritious, you wouldn't be wrong for thinking they have superpowers, but the truth is outside of the marketing world, there actually is no such thing as a superfood — by scientific standards, at least.
That said, food is generally promoted to the coveted superfood status with high levels of nutrients. They’re also often linked to the prevention of illness and disease or are believed to offer many simultaneous health benefits that go beyond its nutritional value.
Many purported superfoods are considered to be nutrient powerhouses, providing large quantities of antioxidants, phytochemicals (compounds in plants), vitamins, and minerals. However, of all the many nutrient-dense foods, kale has held the title as the best superfood on the planet, reigning supreme over the rest — that is, until now.
Today, psyllium—the husks of psyllium seeds—is taking over the spotlight as the superfood champ, leaving kale in its shadows to eat its dust — but is it worthy of replacing the world's favorite green?
In this post, we're pitting psyllium and kale against each other to uncover their benefits in order to crown the deserving superfood as KING. Will kale protect its throne, or do we have a new superfood ruler in town?
Let's find out which is the best choice as part of a diet!
First Things First, What Exactly Is A Superfood?
There's not an exact definition of what makes a food a "superfood" because the term was actually made up in an attempt to boost sales. Yep, it's true — a few creative marketing geniuses essentially took advantage of society, turning a new leaf into the health-conscious era, and rode the wave all the way to the bank.
Wondering where it all started and what was the first superfood? The origin of the term appeared in the 20th Century as a way to market — drum roll, please — bananas. The company behind the marketing strategy used the term to promote the practicality of bananas as a daily source of cheap, easily digestible nutrition.
As the beloved fruit's popularity began to circulate, so, too, did its moniker.
More than 100 years after being coined, the word superfood is virtually synonymous with presumptive health benefits. In fact, when a product claims to be a superfood (or made of superfood ingredients), consumers are likely to swarm as good health is the gold standard these days. Truth be told, the food industry really only needs a little scientific evidence on a particular food, some cleverly written news articles, and a catchy food marketing campaign to present the world with a new "superfood."
While some do have well-proven health benefits and the endorsement of medical professionals, many skeptics argue temporary fads and celebs popularize other foods to the point of misrepresentation.
Take whole grains, for example. Many people are under the impression that whole-wheat products are good for them. And why wouldn't they? Whole grains are often marketing as a superfood. But the harsh reality is that whole-grain products are just a slightly more healthy alternative than regular or bleached grains as grains, in general, promote inflammation which, as we all know, is enemy #1.
With that in mind, if you're looking for something to replace bread to keep inflammation at bay, we recommend our unbelievably tasty Uprising Superfood Bread. It’s made with only a few clean ingredients, like almonds, flax seeds, and egg whites, baked to perfection without any fillers or added sugar. Masterfully crafted with nine grams of prebiotic fiber, six grams of heart-healthy protein, and only two net carbs — finally, bread you can feel good about eating!
OK — So What Is A Superfood, Really?
Superfoods are nutritionally dense whole foods — mostly plant-based — that are high in beneficial nutrients. While there are many different superfoods, the best possess three of these four components:
- Good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients.
- High in antioxidant and phytonutrients compounds, such as vitamin A, C, E, and D, as well as beta carotene.
- May help lower the risk of chronic diseases and other health conditions.
- Readily available.
While superfoods aren't a cure-all, they do contain much more nutrition than your average food. Eating a diet full of healthy superfoods is linked to many incredible health benefits. In fact, a superfood might perform one or more of the following feats:
- Boost immunity
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of artery-clogging atherosclerosis
- Fight inflammation
- Neutralize damaging free radicals
- Assist with a healthy body composition
- Keep blood sugar levels in check
- Support good gut health
Kale vs. Psyllium: The Ultimate Superfood Showdown
Now that you know exactly what a superfood is and where the buzzy term came from, let's talk about kale and psyllium, shall we?
Reigning Superfood Champion: Kale
When it comes to healthy veggies, kale is often regarded as the best. Packing a powerful punch of antioxidants and excellent digestive support, the leafy green's role in optimal wellness is tough to dispute— hence why it has a massive following of kale-crazed super fans.
Thanks to its undeniably impressive nutritional profile, kale rose from near obscurity about a decade ago to become a star superfood. But what exactly is kale?
Kale is a member of the Brassica family, a group of body-nourishing cruciferous veggies including cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Native to Europe and Asia Minor, the leafy green has been grown and eaten for nearly 4,000 years. While there are quite a few kale varieties with colors ranging from pink to green, the most common types include curly, Red Russian, Lacinato, and Salad Savoy.
An antioxidant superstar, as a result of the nutrient powerhouse's high antioxidant content, kale is one of the veggies with the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating on the planet.
What Is ORAC, You Ask?
Simply put, ORAC is a measurement that is used to measure food's ability to scavenge free radicals.
Hold Up — What Are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause a whole lot of damage to your body at the cellular level. This damage has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many different diseases and disorders. They may also have a link to premature aging, so if your skin is looking a little drab as of late, free radicals could be to blame.
Fortunately, foods with high ORAC ratings — like superfood kale — can inhibit the formation of these harmful free radicals and may reduce the damage they would cause to the body.
Does Kale Provide Any More Benefits?
On top of its incredible ability to combat icky free radicals, kale provides many other wonderful health benefits, such as:
Benefit #1: Good for the bones
Kale is a great source of vitamin K, which the body needs for bone mineralization and to maintain calcium balance. Just one cup of kale contains over 600 percent of the recommended daily allowance of this all-important vitamin.
Benefit #2: Fights bad cholesterol
The Brassica family of veggies contains over 40 phenolic compounds that may help to combat many serious medical conditions — high cholesterol being one of them. This is due to the leafy green's ability to bind to bile acids produced by the liver, causing them to be excreted by the body rather than being reabsorbed where they can clog arteries. As a result, the body uses stored cholesterol to replace the lost bile acids, which, as a result, causes a reduction in "bad" cholesterol.
Benefit #3: Natural detox
Another benefit of kale is that it's a great source of potassium, an essential mineral with alkalinizing properties that can help your b. Toxins gradually accumulate in your system over time, causing you to experience fatigue, memory difficulties, sleep impairment, and many other not-so-great symptoms. Fortunately, we have kale.
Superfood Challenger: Psyllium
As you can see, kale is a pretty nifty superfood that provides many incredible benefits. From fighting free radicals to building strong bones, it makes perfect sense why the leafy green holds the current title as the king of all superfoods. That being said, psyllium just might have kale beat, if you’re choosing which to make part of your diet…
Ground psyllium husk powder is an excellent ingredient for low-carb baking and cooking, and there are tons of recipes out there. A form of fiber made from the whole husks of the Plantago ovata plant's seeds, psyllium is an excellent source of prebiotics and soluble dietary fiber — which are essential for a happy and healthy gut.
Why Is Good Gut Health So Important, You Ask?
Well, believe it or not, new research is beginning to emerge showing a connection between poor gut health and other health issues, with some doctors starting to believe that most diseases and ailments stem from the gut.
You see, your gut hosts both friendly and unfriendly bacteria, and they need to be kept in constant balance. If the bad guys take over, they can mess with your overall health. To maintain control, you have to work on repopulating your gut with the good critters, as well as providing them with an environment where they can flourish and thrive. Introducing prebiotics (food for the good bacteria) into your diet is a great place to start.
Prebiotics are found in high-fiber foods. Therefore, more soluble fiber in your diet means more prebiotics to feed the good guys in your belly. To achieve good gut health, it's recommended to consume around 28 grams of prebiotic-rich fiber each day. However, that can be easier said than done — which is why many folks love psyllium.
A master in good gut health, psyllium seed husk can help with regularity and keeping your digestive tract working optimally — but that's not all it does! In addition to supporting a healthy gut, some of psyllium fiber's notable benefits include:
Benefit #1: Boosts Immunity
The bacteria living in your gut doesn't only help your digestive tract function to perform at its best, but it also supports your immune system by helping fight against infection. However, seeing as nearly 70 percent of your immune system is housed in your gut, and the prebiotics in psyllium is known to help the good guys flourish to promote good gut health, this hardly comes as a surprise. Keeping them happy means our intestines remain in tip-top shape, and you’re supporting your immune system.
Benefit #2: Combats Bad Cholesterol
Similar to kale, psyllium binds to bile acids and fat in the body. The liver then used the remaining cholesterol in your body to replace what was excreted. This results in a deficit of cholesterol, subsequently decreasing the cholesterol in the blood. It may aid in retaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Benefit #3: Supports a Healthy Body Composition
In addition to cholesterol, psyllium also has an effect on regulating blood sugar levels which can help you to maintain a healthy weight. This is because the gel-forming fibers in psyllium work by slowing down the digestion of food and reduces the overall carbohydrate absorption, which can lead to lower spikes in blood sugar after eating.
What's more, the versatile fiber supplement can also give you that feeling of satiety to help you consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Benefit #4: Improves Heart Health
A high fiber diet is directly related to a lower risk of heart disease. Not only has it been proven to improve cardiovascular health, but it's also an excellent way to lower blood pressure.
According to one recent study, when taken for six months, supplementing psyllium fiber or whole psyllium husks into the diet on a daily basis showed to significantly reduce high blood pressure in those who had hypertension.
Benefit #5: Provides Anti-inflammatory Properties
Believe it or not, there are a ton of studies that show the mucilage of psyllium is able to reduce inflammation in the gut and colon. Yup, it's true — thanks to the fibrous activity in this unique mucilage, psyllium is able to ease stress and strain on the colon.
Benefit #6: Naturally Detoxes the Body
Although psyllium is often referred to as a laxative, it's just a highly efficient type of dietary fiber! However, it does effectively detoxify the body to help cleanse out the gastrointestinal system, which can be very beneficial for overall gut health.
It’s a fantastic solution to constipation and to ensure that you have regular bowel movements. A good way to think of it is as a broom that sweeps the bulk of debris out of your body to help your colon function at its optimal level.
Conclusion: Which Superfood Comes Out on Top?
There's no doubt that kale and psyllium are both superfoods. Not only are they jam-packed with a plethora of body-nourishing nutrients, but kale and psyllium offer many incredible benefits ranging from improved gut health to decreased risk of heart disease and everything in between.
So, is psyllium the next big superfood?
Seeing as the versatile fiber supports a healthy gut, boosts immunity, detoxes the body, and more, we're going to have to say, yes — psyllium is the new superior superfood reigning supreme over all superfoods, including kale.
Plus, another benefit that we forgot to mention is that psyllium powder is an excellent keto-friendly and gluten-free alternative thicker that can be used to make a number of yummy baked goods. In fact, to keep our unbelievably tasty bread and high-crunch chips a healthy indulgent, we bake our food using psyllium!
Offering the freshest bread bundles in town, you simply can't find food this healthy that tastes this good. Fiber-packed supplements disguised as savory staples, all it will take is one bite, and we know you'll be hooked.
Ready to clean the pipes and fertilize your gut? Check out Uprising Food today and experience a mind-bending combo of taste and health tomorrow!