As well as cute kid’s drawings, I have an all important list stuck in pride of place on my fridge. I swear by the health-giving benefits of including these superstar items in my weekly shop.
The darlings of health fanatics everywhere, superfoods are those plants and grains which are chock full of good things our bodies need like antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, enzymes to name a few. And there’s more of that to go around when you go for clean, pesticide free, organic sources of these goodies.
While all natural foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds – have nutritional benefits, science is now able to confirm what many traditional cultures have known for centuries – those foods items that offer multiple benefits at the same time.
Superfoods contain all the right nutrients in the right proportions. So they are the perfect addition to your diet if you’re looking to manage your weight and maintain good health without needing to take vitamins or food supplements. They also help with the elimination of toxins from the body. Which means that for those wanting prevention rather than a cure they’re just what the doctor ordered!
Thankfully you don’t need to be a nutritional expert or break the bank to include these delicious food items in your diet either. With plenty of everyday food types alongside exotic newcomers like acai, goji and chia seeds, adding these items to your weekly menu is easy and delicious. And because you’re getting more nutrition with a lesser amount of food, its one of the best choices you can make in a busy lifestyle.
Look at your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options to see where you can fit in some of these tasty additions. I’ll be sharing more sexy superfoods (including some not so familiar ones) and delicious recipes in future posts. I’ll also be dazzling you with the amazing properties of dark chocolate (now that will be easy to add to the diet!).
So pop this list of some of the more common superfoods on your fridge – and add your own favourites!
- Avocados are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, high amounts of potassium, magnesium, folate, protein, and vitamins B6, E, and K. as well as fibre and cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. Wow! (Limit yourself to half a day.)
- Eggs are nutritious, versatile, economical, and a great way to fill up on quality protein. They contain 12 vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Make sure they are genuine free-range. Mine come from happy hens in my own backyard.
- Nuts have protein, heart-healthy fats, fibre and antioxidant content. They also lower cholestrol and promote weight loss. The key to enjoying nuts, experts say, is portion control. Try a handful (25 grms) of almonds, walnuts, macadamias or pistachios. More on activating nuts later.
- Kiwi fruit is among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants, including your daily Vitamin C requirement. A good source of potassium, fibre, and a moderate source of vitamin A and vitamin E – they also can have a mild laxative effect!
- Quinoa is an ancient high protein grain (8 grams in 1 cup cooked). It also has fibre and iron with plenty of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to help control your weight and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Other healthy wholegrains to try include barley, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat, wild rice, and millet.
- Beans are loaded with insoluble fiber, to help lower cholesterol for heart health, as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste. A good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium.
- Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, zinc, magnesium, and selenium so they help protect against depression and heart disease, and may ease motion sickness. Chia and flax seeds are equally good addition to your diet.
- Broccoli is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K, and has plenty of fiber to fill you up and help control your weight. Try adding to Asian dishes.
- Sweet potatoes lead the pack in vitamin A content. Substitute a baked sweet potato (also loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium) for a baked white potato. The natural sweetness means you’ll be less likely to need butter or salt.
- Blueberries (and all berries) are full of antioxidants, and phytonutrients, low in calories, as well as high in water and fibre to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. Satisfy sweets cravings for a fraction of the calories found in baked goods.