Get to know your superfoods
20 March, 2015 | In: Nutrition
Do you know which superfoods can really benefit healthy nutrition? Get to know these 8 classic superfoods… and discover 3 brand-new categories!
Packed with healthy essential fats, plant micronutrients and fibre, avocados are convenient, flexible and tasty. Add them to salads, eat raw, or turn them into healthy low-sugar desserts by blending up with raw cocoa or cacao powder (dark chocolate gets a mention later in our list).
The bright and dark colour of berries is a clear sign that they are packed with nutrients. And nature knows best! Keep frozen berries in your freezer and use in smoothies, on cereal and porridge, or as a healthy low-sugar snack which packs a micronutrient punch.
Of all the forms of rice, black rice is highest in anthocyanins, colour pigments responsible for the deep dark colours of many healthy foods. These powerful antioxidants protect the body against cellular stress and damage. The amount of anthocyanins in black rice is 5 times higher than in white or brown rice, and similar to the amount in blueberries!
The healthy living market is full of coconut products, from coconut oil for cooking, to coconut milk and coconut water. There's a good reason behind coconut's status as a superfood: its fat is structured differently and is an MCT (medium chain triglyceride) meaning our bodies are more likely to use it as energy. Coconut flour, milk and cream are great additions to a gluten-free or dairy-free diet.
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables are the superfoods of the veggie world. A wonderful source of many vitamins, including vitamin C, anti-cancer compounds, and powerful phyto-chemicals which could help offset excess oestrogen.
Clarified butter (ghee) has a bad reputation as the oily layer on poor-quality takeaway dishes, but it's actually very good for you. The rise of Paleo style of eating has brought ghee back to the forefront of nutrition. It's a healthy unprocessed fat packed with vitamins, nutrients and omega fatty acids.
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants called catechins, which are flavonoids that help fight disease. There's some evidence that it can support weight loss (usually when taken as a supplement in capsule form), but simply drinking the tea is a great all-round healthy living support, and is a good alternative to regular tea and coffee.
The health benefits of proper dark chocolate (high cocoa content) and raw cacao are well documented: antioxidants for heart health, stress reduction and even protection against UV damage. And a little dark chocolate can help offset cravings for more sugary treats.
Are these 3 new superfood superstars in your kitchen?
Move over quinoa, there's a new bunch of superfood grains in town. Ancient grains, including amaranth and teff, can be used in place of rice, or ground into flour. Ancient grains are a good source of protein and amino acids, and tend to be easier on the digestion than more modern grains.
Gut health is a hot nutrition trend, and fermented foods, including sauerkraut and kefir, are leading the way. They help provide good bacteria to offset inflammation and intestinal issues which have been linked to a range of diseases.
Like fermenting, sprouting foods is something you can do at home. When a food is sprouted, its nutrients - including minerals, vitamins and protein - increase and become easier to digest. Live sprouted grains, beans and pulses are set to become popular.