Superfoods are a fantastic way to add as much nutrition as possible into our diets in very little time.
A Superfood is any food that gives you a high bang for your buck. These can be everyday items that have high nutritional value that we can include in our diet to make it more exciting taste wise, and ensure we are getting a broad spectrum of nutrients from a variety of sources.
Some of the more elusive superfoods like spirulina, maca powder, Amazonian acai berries, reishi mushrooms, lucumu powder are all fantastic and each offer their own nutritional benefits, particularly if you are targeting a specific issues, but please don’t worry if you are not including them in your diet as you can be perfectly healthy by just eating real food in its most natural state. For more information on the benefits of each superfood, please refer to Superfood Guru David Wolfe at http://www.davidwolfe.com/.
Here are some of our favourite everyday superfoods including ways in which to incorporate them easily into your everyday diet:
Eggs – The nutrient powerhouse
Eggs contain all the nutrients for a baby chicken to grow into a big chicken. High in quality protein, essential amino acids, vitamins and mineral, eggs should be considered a superfood that can be eaten every day.
Hard boiled eggs can be made a few days in advance and added to salads, or as a lunchbox snack on their own. Eggs are great for breakfast with some sautéed mushrooms and spinach or kale. Organic pasture raised eggs are the best, followed by organic and then free-range – Buy the best eggs you can afford.
Lemons are another cure all superfood. High in a variety of vitamins and minerals, lemons and home squeezed lemon juice boosts your immune system, aids in digestion and detoxifies your body. Starting your day with a cup of warm water with lemon juice is a great habit to get in to for overall health and wellbeing. Lemon juice with some raw honey in warm water aids in a quick recovery from a cold or flu. Lemon juice can also be added to apples and avocados to prevent them oxidising and going brown.
For the best lemon juice, hand squeeze your lemon juice by hand. Any store bought lemon juice is heated and loses all of its nutritional benefits.
Apples – An apple a day does keep the doctor away
Apples are a great source of dietary fibre which aid in digestion, helps prevent cholesterol build up and promotes good gut bacteria. Apples assist in detoxification of the body and the skin is also high in vitamin C.
Apples should be bought organically where possible as conventional apples are coasted in wax to make them look shiny on the supermarket shelf. If organic apples aren’t available, a fruit and veg wash can be used to wash apples.
Chocolate – Anti Aging antioxidants
Lucky for us chocolate is on the list of highly nutritious superfoods, and may be the best anti-aging food in the world. Cacao is extremely high anti-aging antioxidants, has a feel good effect improving mental health, aids digestion and improves blood circulation – Now everyone has a great excuse to eat chocolate, but of course, it needs to be the right kind of chocolate…
Cacao is the raw cocoa been that is commonly found in a highly refined and processed form to create conventional chocolate and cocoa. Luckily for us, the raw, unprocessed version of cacao is readily available. Cacao powder can be substituted for cocoa powder in any recipe. My favourite way to have cacao is cacao powder blended with milk or nut mylk and maple syrup for a delicious chocolate milk drink. Cacao chocolate bars are also becoming more readily available in health food stores, my favourite being Loving Earth Peppermint Chocolate, Alter Ego Burnt Caramel and Lindt 70% Chocolate which does contain a small amount of sugar but contains mostly cacao.
Quinoa – The Super Grain Superfood
There are a number of wonderful superfood grains, and quinoa is at the top of the list. Quinoa is a gluten free complete protein which means it has all 9 amino acids essential to form a protein, and is easy to digest. Quinoa is high in fibre, keeps you full, improves metabolism and maintains blood sugar levels which all make it a great weight loss companion.
When purchasing quinoa look for a healthy, large grain. Quinoa contains bitter saponins so it is important to wash quinoa thoroughly before cooking to ensure it isn’t bitter. It can also be cook in stocks or spice mixes to increase flavour. It is wonderful served cold added to salads or warm cooked in soups. Cook with honey and cinnamon for a sweet porridge version for breakfast. Our favourite brand is Olive Green Organics quinoa which is excellent quality and has already been wash to remove saponins
Leafy Greens – Get your green on
Leafy greens are probably the most nutritious of all the fruit and vegetables and the easiest to incorporate into your diet in an easy tasty way. Here are some quick easy ways to get your greens in:
- Add finely shredded kale into soups, the kale will quickly wilt and you won’t even know its there.
- Adding a handful of baby spinach at the end of the cooking time to any pastas or stir fry for extra nutritional value.
- Make a side dish of kale and spinach sautéed in crushed garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to serve – For extra decadence add a dash of cream.
- Make a green smoothie with baby spinach and cos lettuce – If you combine it with water, a ripe banana, seasonal fruit and lemon juice, you won’t even taste it. If you need a bit of extra sweetener add some raw honey.
- Cos lettuce is the most nutritious of all the lettuce and lucky for us, it is also the tastiest. When making a salad, ensure you use cos lettuce and maybe even add some baby spinach and rocket for variety.
Leafy greens should be bought organic where possible as they contain a high amount of residual pesticides with conventional farming. If purchasing non-organic greens, ensure they are washed thoroughly with a fruit and veg wash.
Sprouts are the start of life, the seed has released all its protective properties and contains all the nutrients to help it grow into a big plant.
Add sprouts to salads, stir fry or eat on their own with some nuts and raisins as a quick healthy snack.
Apple Cider Vinegar – The super fluid for overall health
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is a fantastic way to alkalinise your body to boost your immune system, get lots of good bacteria into your gut as well as aid digestion and curb food cravings.
It can be used in salad dressings, as a dip with olive oil and dukka with Gluten Free or Spelt breads, or drunk as a tea with warm water (below 80 degrees), with cold water or a tablespoon taken on its own.
Apple Cider Vinegar is easily available at supermarkets in the health food isle and health food stores. Our favourite brands are Melrose, Braggs and Spiral – Just ensure whichever brand you buy is raw or cold pressed.