Seven Superfoods You Need…NOW!
While the image of various types of foods wearing superhero capes does amuse me, that’s not exactly the intention when you label something a superfood. By definition superfoods are those loaded with nutrient value with very low calories and full of large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Eating them is believed to help prevent chronic disease and maintain a healthy overall wellbeing.
However, recently the term ‘superfood’ has become just another marketing strategy used by the food industry to convince people who are too lazy to read the packaging to buy their products. So I’ve decided to list the 7 superfoods I believe you should introduce into your diet ASAP, not because they’re a “cool” trend, but because their benefits are too good for you to miss out on. You’ll also note that all of these are whole foods with most being sold without the stress of confusing packaging ingredients or unnecessary calorie counting.
If you haven’t already jumped on this bandwagon adding these bad boys to your breakfast oats, green smoothies and salads then I suggest you get onto it quick! Chia, the ancient Mayan word for strength, accurately describes this superfood packed with a high dose of fibre and protein to help you feel fuller for longer. They are also high in Omega 3 fatty acids that can help improve your overall exercise performance and assist in weight loss. Even better they’re a whole grain food, organically grown, GMO and gluten free and you can find them on any supermarket shelf.
This one may just seem like a new fashionable trend as it pops up in stylish cafes alongside the smashed avo all over Melbourne but I promise you there’s more to it. It’s believed that this leafy green wonder can help to lessen the occurrence of a variety of cancers including breast and ovarian because the phytonutrients it contains triggers the liver to produce enzymes that can neutralise potentially cancer causing cells. On top of this, research suggests it can also help fight cardiovascular disease, asthma and arthritis. With a taste similar to spinach it’s a great addition to your morning eggs, on the side of your dinner plate or in a fresh salad.
There is a reason your mum was always trying to get you to eat your veggies when you were younger. One cup of broccoli contains enough Vitamin C and folic acid to boost your immunity for the whole day. It also benefits digestion, is low in sodium and just like kale can help suppress the growth of tumours because it too contains phytonutrients. To get the most value out of this delicious vegetable, steaming, stir –frying and microwaving are the best methods of cooking and it goes perfectly alongside the next superfood.
If you’re not a much of a seafood eater, I suggest focusing on introducing salmon into your diet before anything else. With a much more subtle taste than others such as tuna, Salmon is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that the body cannot naturally produce which helps to reduce inflammation, improves circulation and our bodies ratio of good and bad cholesterol. Loaded with protein and an excellent source of Vitamin D, eating salmon on a regular basis has also been proven to reduce the risk of depression and cognitive decline in the elderly. Fresh is best but buying it tinned from the supermarket to have with a salad or side of veggies is a great, time efficient meal that you can take anywhere.
Nobody can deny the benefits of fruit all around but it still needs to be consumed in moderation because of its high fructose content. However, berries are an exception as they are low GI meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar and leave you crashing an hour later. This can help control your weight loss more consistently as well as fighting problems with blood pressure. Berries are definitely a great natural, guilt-free sweetener to add to your yoghurt and muesli or as an after dinner treat.
Who doesn’t love eggs?! Unfortunately, for too long the media has been telling us to limit our intake because they are high in cholesterol. What the media hasn’t told you is that while the eggs may be high in cholesterol this doesn’t actually mean it will raise the cholesterol in your blood by eating them especially as they’re known to reduce the risk of stroke. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain almost every nutrient we need making it the perfect contender for the best superfood. They’re also really high in protein so they’re the perfect start to the day keeping you fuller for longer. If you’re not big on the taste of eggs on their own try mixing them into one of your smoothies or oats, it’ll make it creamier and you won’t even know!
People seem to think that healthy food has to be bland but that’s just crazy talk. I encourage all of my clients to try a mixture of different seasonings such as Himalayan pink salt, ground pepper, chilli flakes and this sneaky superfood; turmeric. If you haven’t tried this one yet, I highly recommend it. In the past it has been used in both Chinese and Indian medicine to treat jaundice, menstrual difficulties, toothaches, bruises and chest pain. After further research it has recently been found to also ward off dementia and reduce the risk of heart attack, the severity of bacterial and viral infections and symptoms of bloating and gas. It’s also super yummy as a seasoning on some roast chicken or lamb.