JUST HOW “SUPER” ARE SUPERFOODS?
Is this just another marketing ploy, or is there some truth in the term?
So let us look at what a super food actually is before we pre judge any further. Superfoods are foods that are meant to have certain health-giving properties due to their high levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, such as phytochemicals. There is no doubt that the term ‘superfoods’ has been heavily marketed over the years, however the marketing of products labelled ‘superfoods’ have actually been prohibited unless accompanied by extensive medical research. The term, unfortunately, drives people towards buying certain foods rather than looking at their own dietary needs. Compared to past generations most of us are eating more refined and processed food, we don’t eat five portions of fruit and veg a day and then wonder why more and more people are suffering from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. It is important to note that food plays an important role in helping prevent certain lifestyle diseases.
There are so many foods that have been deemed “super” by various experts, too many in fact to list here. But listed below are our personal favourite “super foods” which we believe can be extremely beneficial to the body, with suggestions on how to incorporate them. Why not try just one, if not more in your diet today?
Regarded as a sacred food by the Incas, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). This grain contains more protein than most cereal grains, and is considered a complete protein containing all eight of the essential amino acids the body needs for tissue development. Quinoa can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley taking just 10-15 minutes to cook! Why not try making a salad with it or serve with a stir-fry instead of rice or noodles?
Quinoa is available at all major supermarkets and health food stores.
2) Coconut Oil
This oil can actually speed up your metabolic rate, helping you to burn more calories as opposed to other saturated fats, which become stored in the body’s cells. Fatty acids in coconut oil are converted straight into energy as they are sent to the liver directly. The sweet, earthly and refreshing scent of coconut oil and its delicious flavour makes it an ideal for cooking with. It may be used for shallow or deep frying anything such as fish or chicken for example. Another bonus is that coconut oil is solid at room temperature allowing it to be stored for a longer duration. Do be aware though that edible coconut oil is different from the oil used for skin and hair!
Coconut oil is available at most health food shops. Why not try 100% Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil (25grams for £3.95) at “Why Be Healthy” 339 Ballards Lane, North Finchley N12 8LJ
3) Goji berries
This Himalayan berry has inspired a surge of interest for its use in treating diabetes, hypertension, cancer and other ailments. Goji berries pack more vitamin C per gram than some oranges and more beta-carotene than carrots. Bear in mind that goji berries and goji juice can be on the pricey side. Goji berries can be eaten straight from the pack as a healthy snack. They can also be baked into breakfast bars, or added to muesli.
Goji berries are available at leading supermarkets, health food shops or online.
Pomegranates are a source of polyphenols which help the body rid itself of cancer-causing agents and tannins, which lower blood pressure and stimulate the immune system. Infact this fruit has been known to contain three times as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as green tea. Pomegranate fruit is rich in vitamins A, C and E, and iron, which help the blood maintain an effective supply of oxygen to the body. The edible part of a pomegranate is its arils (flesh-covered seeds). Separating the arils from the peel and internal white membrane can be a bit challenging, but not impossible, although many supermarkets sell the seeds prepared and ready to use! Pomegranate seeds can be sprinkled on fruit salad, yogurt, ice cream, and other desserts for colour, flavour and texture. The seeds can also give a refreshing crunch to savoury dishes such as salads, soups and rice dishes. Many supermarkets also sell pomegranates in the form of juices or smoothies but always read the label as these can contain high amounts of sugar. Pomegranates are available at most major supermarkets
Superfoods may be “super” or may just be extremely good for you, as part of a balanced diet. If we can follow a diet that is made up of a variety of foods, many of which are either raw or only lightly cooked and as un-processed as possible then our bodies should be able to function at an optimum level.
Until Next Time…X