10 Superfoods to Improve Your Health
Superfoods are everywhere — but what exactly are they? Defining superfoods can be tricky as they defy the usual food grouping categorisation. We all seem to be completely fascinated with them. So what makes a food, super?
Superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that are exceptionally good for our health. Containing a range of nutrients, fats, fibres and antioxidants, they’re nature’s way of ensuring a healthy and happy life. But there’s some disagreement among scientists and nutrition experts on the validity of this superhero status. Many claim it’s a marketing ploy to separate us from our hard-earned cash. Certainly, there is a lot of pseudo-science surrounding extravagantly priced products that seem to be more intent on our money than helping our diets. But that’s only part of the picture.
Whether or not you believe the hype, any foods abundant in nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, healthy fats and phytochemicals are superfoods in our book. Here are ten incredibly delicious, nutritious and health-enhancing foods you can use yo improve your health and transform your life.
1. Kale and Other Dark Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach and swiss chard just look healthy. Packed full of vitamins A, C and K, as well as a whole load of calcium, fibre and minerals these greens are more than just a picture of health — they’re the real deal.
Opt for dark greens — the darker, the better — and add to salads, soups and smoothies for an instant health boost.
2. Blueberries and Other Bountiful Berries
Have a quick scroll through health accounts on Instagram and you’ll find thousands of pictures of these gorgeous fruits. Whether blueberries, strawberries, or the health enthusiast favourite — goji berries, these sweet delights are packed full of phytochemicals, vitamins and soluble fibre.
Add them to your porridge in the morning, smoothies, or sprinkle with chocolate for a heavenly dessert and savour the most delicious of superfoods around!
3. Omega-Rich Salmon and Fatty Fishes
The Mediterranean and Japanese diets are scientifically proven to be the top diets around for boosting health, longevity and happiness. But what do the diets of these two cultures, by thousands of miles have in common? We’ll give you a clue — they swim in water and taste delicious grilled, fried, poached and smoked. Did you get it? Yep, it’s fish!
The fish in question are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and packed full of healthy fats and nutrients and include sardines, mackerel and salmon. Grill them and serve with salad, poach them and put them in a sandwich, or roast them for a healthy alternative to the Sunday roast!
4. Cocoa Nibs and Chocolate
We bet this one is a bit of a shock. Sure, we wouldn’t exactly recommend gorging on the standard bar of Cadburys. But chocolate is a real superfood. Beloved since ancient times in South America where it featured in health rituals, chocolate is full of polyphenols, flavanols and antioxidants. It even lowers your risk of heart disease.
Stick to dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa or chocolate nibs and enjoy the bittersweet taste of thousands of years of health-enhancing knowledge!
5. Orange Squashes and Pumpkins
What comes to mind when you think of the colour orange? Happiness? Sunshine? Life-lengthening, mood-boosting superfoods? Well, it should! Orange roots like squash and pumpkin are incredible sources of vitamin A and fibre.
Sweet and nutty, they work incredibly well in both savoury and sweet dishes alike. I guess we’ll take another spiced pumpkin latte, please!
6. Beans, Beans, Beans
Beans, beans — good for your heart, the more you eat, the healthier you are! Ok, so maybe we’re not the best at rhymes, but beans are a true superfood. Bursting with insoluble and soluble fibre, minerals and vitamins, beans keep you feeling full, lower your cholesterol and power you through your day.
Eat on their own, with your breakfast or swapped out instead of meat for meatless Mondays. And who knows, if you eat enough, you may grow as strong and sturdy as Jack’s beanstalk.
Vampires beware — garlic is on the menu and it brings with it an incredible array of health benefits. Not only does garlic transform bland food and the most basic of meals, but it also contains tons of nutrients and minerals.
For those who can hack it, raw garlic is especially potent and powerful. For those disinclined to chow down on the stuff, try a raw garlic supplement.
Avocado seems to be having a bit of a moment. In every restaurant and hipster cafe, there’s at least one dish with avocado — smashed, sliced, or diced — included on it. But these exotic, creamy fruits (that’s right, avocado is a fruit) are far more than a passing trend. Bursting with monounsaturated fats, folate, Vitamin C and K, avocados even contain more potassium than bananas.
Eat in salads, soups, smoothies and anything else you can think of!
They say the best things in life come in small packages, and when it comes to nuts, it couldn’t be closer to the truth. Almonds, cashews, pistachios — they all contain super-high levels of minerals, healthy fats and nutrients.
We love them as a healthy, energy-boosting snack. Just be sure to keep your consumption to a handful each time as nuts are quite dense in calories.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are both a modern and ancient superfood. First used in ancient times in Central America, they were used by warriors before battle as a way of boosting energy and firing up their concentration. Loaded with omega 3, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, chia seeds are said to improve heart health, aid with weight loss, and keep you energised all day long.
Try a chia seed pudding or mixing them into your porridge or bircher in the morning.
To find out more about how superfoods can improve your health, book an appointment with a certified nutritionist and supercharge your diet.