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A-Z Superfoods - Part Three

Superfoods are a hot topic at the moment, but what exactly are they? Superfood is a term that appeared in the 1990s and refers to types of wholefoods that contain high concentrations of phytonutrients making them exceptionally worthwhile to include in our diets for their health-giving properties. In order for a food to be labelled a superfood, it must offer specific health benefits above and beyond its normal nutritional value. Superfoods work synergistically with your body systems, nourishing you at the cellular level for optimal health benefits. Adding superfoods to your daily menu is a smart and delicious way to optimise your health.

Rolled oats

Oats

Nutrients

Rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, B vitamins, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, beta-glucans, phytoestrogens and 18 amino acids.

Why they're super

A great energy food, oat’s high soluble fibre content and low GI helps you feel full so you can control your weight and keep you regular too. Beta-glucans helps reduce and protect cholesterol. Oats also help make you happier by boosting the brain chemical serotonin.

Tip

Oats are great for breakfast all year round – porridge, natural muesli, bircher muesli or add a couple of tablespoons to your favourite smoothie for extra fibre.

Pomegranite

Pomegranate

Nutrients

Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B vitamins, potassium, bioflavonoids, choline and betaine.

Why they're super

Pomegranates are rich in powerful and potent antioxidants that help to protect you from free radicals. They promote heart health, help to lower blood pressure and may help to slow the ageing process.

Tip

A tip to get the seeds out of a pomegranate: cut it in half, hold one half upside down over a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to hit the back of the pomegranate so the seeds tumble into the bowl. Add the ruby red beads to salads for a delicious, antioxidant burst of flavour.

Quinoa

Quinoa

Nutrients

Protein, fibre, folate, iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and phytoestrogens.

Why they're super

Known as “the gold of the Incas”, this South America grain-like seed is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids, that is more protein than most other whole grains making it a great choice for vegetarians. It boosts heart health and helps stabilise blood sugar levels.

Tip

Serve quinoa as an alternative to rice or couscous.

Red Capsicum

Nutrients

Vitamin A, C and K, carotenoids.

Why they're super

All capsicums are packed vitamins A, C and K, but red capsicums are simply bursting with them. Rich in carotenoids, these help regulate inflammatory pathways in the body which helps to protect the cardiovascular system.

Tip

A great morning or afternoon tea, dip sticks of red capsicum in hummus for a dose of carotenoids and protein.

Salmon fillets

Salmon

Nutrients

Lean protein, omega 3s, carotenoids, vitamin D, vitamin B3 and B12, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium.

Why they're super

Salmon is one of several cold water fish that provide high levels of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids, nutrients that have been proven to provide the benefits of reducing conditions such as heart disease and arthritis pain. Additional health salmon may even include lowered cholesterol levels as well as improved memory function and brain health.

Tip

Eat at least two servings of a fatty, coldwater fish like salmon, sardines, trout or mackerel a week.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Nutrients

Vitamin C, A, K, potassium, iron, coumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, carotenoids (lycopene).

Why they're super

Bright red tomatoes contain the antioxidants lycopene and betacarotene that may help protect against some cancers.

Tip

Eating tomatoes cooked can quadruple the lycopene action. Serve them with broccoli for even greater health benefits.

Umeboshi plum

Umeboshi plum

Nutrients

Sodium, potassium, manganese, vitamin A, B1, B2 and fibre.

Why they're super

The umeboshi plum originates from Japan and is salted, pickled and preserved in shiso leaves. These pickled plums have a high acidity that, surprisingly, creates alkalinity in the body. It is widely known for its medicinal qualities due to its ability to stimulate digestion, alleviate nausea, improve energy, reduce fatigue and help the body to eliminate toxins.

Tip

Available in select health food stores umeboshi plum comes in many forms such as puree, vinegar and the whole plum. All can be used to make delicious sauces, dressings or used directly in the cooking process in place of salt.

Read More

A-Z Superfoods - Part One

A-Z Superfoods - Part Two

A-Z Superfoods - Part Four