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A-Z Superfoods - Part Two

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.

Isoflavones

Isoflavones

Nutrients

Isoflavones can be found in soy beans, peanuts, chickpeas, broad beans, alfalfa, and all members of the legume family.

Why they're super

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens found abundantly in soy products. They are organic compounds which are strong antioxidants and have a similar chemical makeup to the oestrogen in the human body. If consumed in excess, isoflavones can interfere with or reduce the production of oestrogen, but eaten in moderation, they can help protect against hormone related cancers, symptoms of menopause, osteoporosis and heart disease. Men’s health may also benefit because isoflavones help prevent enlargement of the prostate gland.

Tip

Women who have had oestrogen sensitive breast cancer should avoid the soy isoflavone as it may counteract oestrogen suppressor medications.

Vegetables and juice

Juice - Fresh Vegetable and Fruit

Nutrients

Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many phytochemicals.

Why they're super

Raw, fresh juice is one of the most rejuvenating substances we can consume. Within minutes easily digestible vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and countless phytonutrients are delivered to the body. A multivitamin and mineral in a glass!

Tip

Use mainly vegetables in fresh juices and keep fruit to a minimum (due to sugar content). Suggestions: kale, celery, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, spinach, broccolini, red capsicum, tomato, apple, pineapple, orange, pear, lemon, lime, mint, ginger, parsley, coriander, garlic.

Kale

Kale

Nutrients

Vitamins A, C and K, manganese, copper, potassium iron, calcium, folate, carotenoids, glucosinolates, bioflavonoids and fibre

Why they're super

Bursting with essential vitamins and minerals, kale comes from the same family as the sulphur-containing vegetables broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage. In addition to the powerful organosulphurs that protect the body’s cells, kale also protects the eyes with the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Tip

Where recipes call for spinach why not substitute kale.

For a healthy kale crisps cut thick stems from kale and tear leaves into bite sized pieces. Wash and dry thoroughly, then lightly spray with olive oil and toss with sea salt. Bake in 150oC oven for 20 mins or until crisp.

Lentils

Lentils

Nutrients

Protein, fibre, calcium, B vitamins, manganese, iron, bioflavonoids and isoflavones

Why they're super

A great source of soluble and insoluble fibre, lentils and other legumes help to lower blood cholesterol, especially LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. They also help maintain intestinal regularity and help prevent blood sugar spikes.

Tip

Salt added to the cooking water will toughen lentils, so season when they are completely cooked. Acidic ingredients such as tomatoes or wine can lengthen cooking time, so add these ingredients after the lentils become tender.

Miso soup

Miso

Nutrients

Vitamin B2, B12, vitamin K, zinc, manganese, copper, protein

Why they're super

Miso is a fermented soybean paste used mostly in cooking. It is a great source of probiotics. Health benefits include energy production, immunity booster and accelerated wound healing.

Tip

Starting a meal with a miso soup is highly beneficial for digestion. It is great to use in place of salt for benefits far beyond other flavourings. Check the ingredients to avoid miso that contains flavour enhancers such as MSG (621).

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Nutrients

Protein, B vitamins, potassium, selenium, fibre, beta-glucans

Why they're super

Mushrooms are low in calories and provide plenty of protein, fibre and flavour when they are cooked. But the big news is that they are high in antioxidants selenium and other nutrients that protect the immune system and fight cancer.

Tip

There are so many wonderful mushrooms, each with their own unique health benefits. Try different varieties in stirfries, soups and salad – oyster, enoki, button, portabella, morels, maitake, porcini, shiitake, reishi.

Nuts

Nuts

Nutrients

Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, bioflavonoids, phytosterols and carotenoids

Why they're super

Nuts are rich in fibre and provide many health benefits. Studies have shown that eating a handful of raw, unsalted nuts five times a week reduces your risk of coronary heart disease.

Tip

Nuts are a great nutritious snack for on the go. But remember they are high in calories so limit to a small handful a day.

Read More

A-Z Superfoods - Part One

A-Z Superfoods - Part Three

A-Z Superfoods - Part Four