The word ‘Superfood’ is a broad term used to describe foods which are nutrient-dense, rich in antioxidants and various other beneficial photochemical such as flavonoids.
Keeping in mind that superfoods cannot be substituted for a healthy diet packed with fruits and vegetables they can be a wonderful addition to it.
There have been an increasing number of seeds, plants, herbs, spices, algae’s, berries and other unprocessed superfoods which are showing promise of fighting disease, have anti-ageing properties, keep your heart and brain healthy and are cancer-preventative.
Quite often, we buy these superfoods but end up not using them as we do not know how to incorporate them in our diet.
Here are three ways you can add superfoods to your diet:
Start your day with a heart-friendly punch. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of omega-s rich chia or hemp seeds on your breakfast oats, muesli or yogurt. You can also add anti-oxidant rich goji berries or cacao nibs and a drizzle of fat-burning coconut oil. Sprinkle superfoods on salads too !
Blend it Up in a Smoothie!
Smoothies are a great way to mask the taste of some of the more ‘hardcore’ superfoods such as spirulina, chlorella or acai. Throw some berries a banana a handful of kale or spinach, top up with water, almond milk or some freshly squeezed orange juice. Blend it up and enjoy ! A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people with the highest levels of folate lost 8.5 times more weight while dieting. So don’t leave the greens out.
Superfood Green Smoothie
1 banana (or fruit of your choice i.e. berries )
1 Tbsp Spirulina or Chlorella or Moringa
1 Tbsp Maca Powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds or flaxseed oil
1 Tbsp Coconut oil
1 Tbsp Hemp seeds
1 Date, pitted (optional)
1 large glass water
1/4 tsp powdered cinnamon or nutmeg or pinch of cloves or all three
Blend and enjoy !
Drink it Hot !
There’s nothing like a hot superfood drink in the afternoon to give you an energy boost. Put a teaspoon of cacao, carob, maca or lucuma powder in a mug, add hot water and a teaspoon of manuka honey and enjoy !
Four most common superfoods you should be trying:
1. Moringa Oleifera
Moringa, sometimes described as the "miracle tree," has small, rounded leaves that are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition: protein, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium. It has 3 times more iron than spinach, 3 times more potassium than bananas and 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, moringa really is amazing. … you name it, moringa's got it.
No wonder it's been used medicinally (and as a food source) for at least 4,000 years.
Also noteworthy are its isothiocyanates, which have anti-bacterial properties that may help to rid your body of H. pylori, a bacteria implicated in gastritis, ulcers, and gastric cancer.
2. Goji Berries
Goji beries have recently experienced a recent surge in popularity. They stimulate the immune system, and are also high in anti-oxidants.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are more commonly known to be high in omega-3 and protein, but are also revered for their weight-loss and blood sugar-stabilising benefits. They are also known to be high in fibre hence creating a long-lasting feeling of fullness and in turn assisting with weight-loss.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae noted for having the highest percentage of complete protein by weight of any food on earth. Rich in a wide variety of vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants, studies have established a strong correlation between spirulina intake and enhanced endurance as well as expedited recovery induced by exercise stress. It also protects against oxidative damage from exercise, increases exercise performance and fat oxidation.
Spirulina has been identified by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation as a potential tool in the fight against widespread malnutrition. And according to NASA scientists, “one gram of algae has the nutritional equivalent of 1000 grams of fruits and vegetables”. (Boston MZ [PRWEB], August 2012).
Research has also shown that Spirulina has, gram for gram, 300% more calcium than whole milk, 2300% more iron than spinach, 3900% more beta carotene than carrots and 375% more protein than tofu. Three grams of Spirulina has more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity than five servings of vegetables (Moorhead K, Capelli B, Cysewski Dr GR: Spirulina, Nature’s Superfood, Cyanotech Corporation 2006).
One last tip before you go superfood shopping.. superfoods should be minimally processed and resemble their natural state as much as possible. By keeping this rule of thumb in mind, you can be sure you are consuming a quality product high in valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !