What are superfoods? Here’s your explanation, benefits and uses.
Food is food… Wrong! There are foods, and there are superfoods, which raises the bar in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to maintain and improve overall health. There are no standard criteria or legal definitions to classify any food as a superfood at this time. However, most superfoods are plant-based (researchers believe some fish and dairy products have the same effect too).
Top superfoods include blueberries, strawberries, avo, dark chocolate, bananas, ginger, tomato, etc.
Why are superfoods important?
Remember the antioxidants we mentioned before? It’s basically natural molecules that occur in certain foods, helping neutralise free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are natural byproducts of energy production that can wreak havoc on the body. In plain English, it helps to:
- reduce the risk of heart disease
- improve memory
- lower cholesterol
- reduce inflammation
- regulate the metabolism
- protect your cells and organs from toxins
Superfoods and how to use them
- Blueberries: Low in calories, rich in nutrients, and lots of vitamin C! Thinking of… They’re one of the rarest blue foods there is… But they’re filled with antioxidants. You can use them to complement meat and fish, but they’re also great as breakfast smoothies or paired with oats, almonds, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
- Strawberries: Blueberries’ sisters… They’re rich in antioxidants too. With its versatile use, it can either be used in sweet or savoury. They can be baked, blended, smashed, and used in dishes and meals such as shakes, jams, smoothies, cake, salads, or even biscuits. They also pair great with other berries, almonds, walnuts, oats, and vanilla.
- Avos: One of the world’s healthiest foods, avos contain vitamin K, C, E, B-6, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. They have a buttery and nutty taste, and they’re great when paired with eggs or when added to guacamole, salads, or soups, make a great spread and serve as a healthy substitute to mayo.
- Dark Chocolate: This one doesn’t classify as a guilty pleasure. It makes a healthy dessert because it’s rich in antioxidants, manganese, magnesium, and fibre. You can eat it alone or use it for icings, cookies, glazes, and various sweets, such as brownie truffles.
- Bananas: Known as the ‘fruit of the wise man’, bananas are jam-packed with minerals, nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants that positively impact your cognitive processes. You can eat a raw banana for breakfast, or as a snack, use it in desserts, or simply bake delicious yet straightforward banana bread!
- Ginger: This herb is also rich in hundreds of healthy metabolites and compounds and is an excellent spice in light, tangy and sweet dishes. Specifically, it’s great in sauces, paired with maple syrup, or used in glazes for meat and vegetables. Have you tried ginger tea?
- Tomatoes: Another great fruit! With 95% water, a healthy amount of fibre, vitamin C, folate, lycopene, and beta-carotene, it’s a great ingredient to cook with. They are great in sandwiches, sauces, salads, soups or just raw.
- Red Wine: You were waiting for this one, weren’t you?! Studies show drinking red wine in moderate doses is healthier than not drinking at all… You can drink red mulled wine, but you can also cook and bake with it, bring out the flavor of your meals, use it in mussels, prepare steak, cook with onions, or make a strawberry dessert. Mulled wine may be the standout red wine recipe – it’s a popular winter treat, and it’s easy to make.
That’s all we have time for now, but there are many other superfoods, too, like eggplant, water, green tea, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, oats, salmon, eggs, and yoghurt. Perhaps we’ll write another blog to cover these, or you could Google them in the meantime.
Happy eating these awesome foods! Oh, before we forget, these tips can help you get more superfoods into your diet:
- Look at the colours on your plate. Is all of your food brown or beige? Then it is likely that antioxidant levels are low. Add in foods with rich colours like kale, beets, and berries.
- Add shredded greens to soups and stir-fries.
- Try replacing your beef or poultry with salmon or tofu.
- Add berries to oatmeal, cereal, salads or baked goods.
- Make sure you have a fruit or a vegetable every time you eat, including meals and snacks.
- Have a daily green or matcha tea.
- Make turmeric, cumin, oregano, ginger, clove, and cinnamon your go-to spices to amp up the antioxidant content of your meals.
- Snack on nuts, seeds and dried fruit (with no sugar or salt added).
Okay, till next time!
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