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A-Z Superfoods - Part One

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.

Avocado

Avocado

Nutrients

Monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, folate, protein, vitamins B6, E and K, glutathione

Why they're super

This is one nutrient dense food! Yes, they are high in fat, but in this case they are healthy fats. Monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados can actually help you lose that stubborn fat around your midline. Also contains cholesterol-lowering plant sterols.

Tip

Use as a healthy alternative to butter.

Blueberries

Blueberries

Nutrients

Vitamin C, E, A, B vitamins, manganese, copper, bioflavonoids, resveratrol and fibre

Why they're super

Blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, one of the most powerful forms of antioxidants. Another plus is that they are extremely low in kilojoules, and contain important nutrients to aid in boosting immunity and slowing the aging process.

Tip

Pop them on porridge or muesli or whiz them up in a smoothie. When they are out of season frozen berries are super convenient and just as nutrient dense as fresh.

Ground cinnamon

Cinnamon

Nutrients

Antioxidants, iron, manganese and calcium

Why they're super

Research has shown that less than half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon a day helps to balance blood sugar by making insulin more effective.

Tip

Sprinkle some over breakfast muesli or for a healthy afternoon snack combine natural yogurt with berries, chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Chocolate

Dark chocolate (at least 65% cacao)

Nutrients

Antioxidant flavanols such as procyanidins and epicatechins, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and phosphorus

Why they're super

Rich in heart-protective antioxidants (about 8 times those found in strawberries), dark chocolate is also loaded with minerals essential for strong bones.

Tip

The darker the better! Enjoy a couple of squares a few times a week for an antioxidant rich treat.

Cracked egg with yolk

Eggs

Nutrients

High quality protein, all 9 essential amino acids, B vitamins, vitamins D and A, selenium, iodine, phosphorus and carotenoids

Why they're super

Long underappreciated, eggs are a compact package of nutrition that provide every vitamin except vitamin C. Eggs are low in saturated fats, and high in protein meaning you stay full longer. Egg yolks are packed with micronutrients, two of these, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, are especially good for eye health.

Tip

Enjoy poached, boiled or scrambled for breakfast on toast with avocado and baby spinach for a superfood start to the day.

Flaxseeds

Flaxseed

Nutrients

Omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), soluble fibre, phytoestrogens (lignans), vitamin B6, manganese and magnesium

Why they're super

Flaxseeds are the best plant source for omega 3s, which helps to lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. They act like a sponge in the large intestine to prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

Tip

As we are unable to digest whole flaxseeds it is important to consume ground flaxseeds to get the most out of them. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons on breakfast cereal, yoghurt or blend into a smoothie.

Garlic cloves

Garlic

Nutrients

Quercetin, allicin and diallyl sulphides, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and 18 different amino acids

Why they're super

There are many health benefits offered by this delicious little herb. The two main medicinal ingredients which give garlic its healing powers are allicin and diallyl sulphides. Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural broad spectrum antibiotic good for preventing colds, coughs and congestion. Garlic has also been found to reduce blood pressure and relieve gastrointestinal inflammation.

Tip

For cold and flu relief simmer water, lemon juice, crushed garlic and chopped red chilli in a saucepan for a few minutes. Add manuka honey to taste. Drink throughout the day.

Honey

Honey - Raw Manuka

Nutrients

Contains at least 181 known substances including antioxidant enzymes and peptides, phenolics and organic acids, salicylic acid, minerals, alpha-tocopherol and oligosaccharides

Why they're super

Reputed to have the highest antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of all honeys. Manuka’s main claim to fame has been wound care and treating even the hardest to heal infections such as MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant conditions. Manuka honey can help to ease cold and flu symptoms, boost immunity and is also a natural instant energy booster.

Tip

It is important to only use active, medical-grade manuka honey with a UMF rating between 10 and 20. You also want to make sure it is raw manuka honey because it is packed with active enzymes while pasteurized honey has lost many of the active enzymes.

Read More

A-Z Superfoods - Part Two

A-Z Superfoods - Part Three

A-Z Superfoods - Part Four