Technically speaking, there is no such thing as a superfood. It was a term coined by marketers to sell those pricey little tubs of ‘superpowders’. A ‘quick fix’ if you like in getting all those much needed nutrients.
The spirulina, the lucuma, the maca. All very expensive, and yes, all very high in nutrients. Two years ago if you googled superfoods, these are the products that would appear as the top searches. Nutrition has moved on from these though, and if you search superfoods now, you get a very different picture. It’s all about the kale and the spinach, the berries and teas. Basically, anything that has high levels of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, or fibre. Its not that these overpriced powders are bad for you, they’ve just become rather unnecessary in a healthy, balanced diet,
This makes superfoods so much more accessible as its so much cheaper than buying a tub of green elixir endorsed by some supermodel. Now, lets get on to some of the best superfoods you can get your hands on today.
Broccoli is absolutely packed full of goodness, from Vitamins C and K, to fibre, potassium, and even folic acid, something that is particularly important for pregnant women. Its also so easy to add to almost any meal as a side dish. Try steaming it and adding some avocado and a drizzle of lime for a tasty side dish.
Always near the top of the list when it comes to foods high in nutrients. They have huge amounts of nutrients, fibre, and also phytochemicals, something which studies have suggested can decrease the risk of heart disease in women.
Yes, the dreaded kale… its really not that bad everyone. Plus, you don’t have to eat a lot of it to reap the benefits. It is one of the most nutrient-dense products on the planet, loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C. If you like a smoothie in the morning, just throw in a small handful of kale to your normal recipe and I promise you will hardly notice the difference.
Most of the superfoods listed are plant-based, but as a fish-lover I had to throw salmon in there, Now, because its such an oily fish, it is recommended that you only eat it once a week, but its full of omega-3, something your body needs in preventing or managing heart disease, and lowering blood pressure. Salmon is also low in mercury, something a lot of people avoid as it can effect your brain, liver and kidney functions .
5. Green tea
Now, green tea is something that was extremely trendy a few years ago because it was rumoured to lower the risk of all sorts of diseases due to its high levels of antioxidants, particularly catechin, a disease-fighting flavonoid. As a lover of matcha, I will say that matcha contains 137 times more antioxidants than green tea, so, although it is more expensive, it is a much purer form of green tea so its worth investing in. If you don’t like the taste of green tea, you may find you enjoy matcha more, but it can be an acquired taste.
6. Dark Chocolate
Yes, I’m throwing chocolate in here. Why? Because dark chocolate (70% or higher) , or, even better, raw chocolate, contains high levels of antioxidants, and minerals such as potassium and zinc. Studies have proven that it can help with circulation. Now, because dark chocolate contains other hidden nasties such as sugar, its best not to eat too much of it, but you don’t need to feel guilty by treating yourself with some good quality dark chocolate.
7. Kidney beans
Well, beans in general really but kidney beans tend to be the most popular to throw in a bolognese or shepherds’ pie. They are rich in fibre and protein, and have been shown to lower cholesterol and boost energy.
8. Sweet Potatoes
My all time favourite vegetable also happens to be high in fibre, vitamin A, and much more. Because they are naturally sweet, they don’t need the added butter or salt that you would typically add to normal potatoes. They are lower in carbohydrates (though not by much it should be noted), and they taste amazing roasted, steamed, in a curry, or a salad. These are such a versatile vegetable so its really easy to get a few helpings in during the week.
Eggs are the full package. The yolk contains most of the goodness, including Vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as healthy fats. The white contains extra protein so eating 2 a day 3 or 4 times a week is ideal.
10. Turmeric (curcumin)
Turmeric, in the right form, can have amazing health benefits. Curcumin is the active compound found in turmeric, and it has been suggested to help with preventing and treating chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Unfortunately, it cannot be absorbed by the body in its natural form, but combining it with other spices, such as black pepper, helps you to absorb the curcumin. Read more about curcumin here.
In summary, there is no need to be caught up in the superpowders trend, as all of the necessary nutrients can be found in food we eat everyday. Don’t get caught up in the trends. There are plenty of powerful, healthy foods out there that no one is calling ‘super’.