Superfoods: what are they?
Publicado el 12 de June
Superfoods are foods which are considered nutritionally dense and exceptionally good for your health. Berries such as blueberries and açai and leafy greens such as kale and spinach are just a few examples of foods that have earned the “superfood” label. However, there are no set criteria to determine what is or not a superfood.
All superfoods contain a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants — thought to help prevent cancer; healthy fats — thought to prevent heart disease; fibre — thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; and phytochemicals — responsible for deep colours and smells that have numerous health benefits. Consuming a variety of foods that are packed with nutrients (superfoods) is a good idea to maintain a healthy diet and power-pack your meals and snacks.
Superfoods list to boost a healthy diet
Naturally sweet and high in fibre. They are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients.
- How to include them in your diet: frozen or fresh, add them to yoghurt, cereals, and smoothies, or simply enjoy them as a snack.
Dark, leafy greens are a good source of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium.
- How to include them in your diet: mixed salads are great such as rocket, spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, or mustard greens with a little olive oil.
Some nuts are a good source of plant protein such as hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, and pecans. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which is considered by some as a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease.
- How to include them in your diet: add a SMALL handful (they are calorically dense) to your everyday muesli, oatmeal, yoghurt, salad or simply enjoy them as a snack. You can also try various types of nut butter such as peanut, almond, or cashew on your toast.
A good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all which help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- How to include it in your diet: it’s a great substitute for butter or margarine in baked goods. Drizzle it over salads or use as a dressing, or when sautéing.
They are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. They also contain several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Various studies have shown that they have been known to lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease and diabetes.
- How to include them in your diet: enjoy a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Bulgur, quinoa, wheat berries, or brown rice are tasty substitutes for everyday staples. Look out for “100% whole wheat flour” when shopping for bread.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress and radishes. They are an excellent source of fibre, vitamins, and phytochemicals (including indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles), which may help to prevent some types of cancer.
- How to include them in your diet: why not try them roasted, steamed or stir-fried. They are great frozen and tasty when added to soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes.
Adzuki beans, anasazi beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, fava beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils. They are an excellent source of fibre, folate, and plant-based protein. Studies show they can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- How to include them in your diet: add them to salads, soups, and casseroles or make them into a spread such as hummus.
Sweet potatoes and squash
Like leafy greens, they are generally excellent sources of fibre, and vitamin A. They are naturally sweet and don’t require butter, cream or salt.
- How to use them in your diet: they are great when roasted, steamed and puréed. Add them to salads, soups, and casseroles.
They are high in vitamin C and lycopene. Studies show they can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- How to include them in your diet: try them in a salad with a drizzle of olive oil, as tomato sauce over your pasta or as a soup.