Whilst there is no official scientific definition of a "superfood", and many dietitians avoid using it all together, it is generally agreed that superfoods are foods that contain significantly higher levels of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Superfoods are ultra-healthy foods which are mostly plant-based, but there are some that are derived from fish and dairy. Blueberries, beetroot, kale, salmon and acai are just a few examples of foods that have the nutritional benefits to be labelled as a "superfood".
Let’s look at five superfoods worth considering:
Native to Mexico, chia seeds are derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. These black or white seeds contain large concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids which can help support a healthy heart and can be consumed either raw or added to dishes. Limited research suggests including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors, such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Furthermore, chia seeds are very high in dietary fibre which can help with weight management and managing blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds are neutral in flavour and can be added to just about anything; sprinkle on your salads, or add to smoothies, mueslis or yoghurts.
Grown in the Andes and known as the “Peruvian ginseng”, Maca is a root vegetable that is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients, making this ancient Incan food a nutritional powerhouse. Maca has been traditionally used in South America to boost energy, endurance and to boost libido and fertility. Studies have suggested that consuming Maca increases the body’s resistance to the damaging effects of stress and gives an increase in energy levels almost instantly. Maca may also help to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, and depression by balancing hormones with its unique set of nutrients that fuel the endocrine system. Maca also supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases.
Maca has a rich earthy flavour and nutty taste and can be added to just about anything; try adding a teaspoon to your smoothie to increase energy, stamina and endurance or incorporate into baked items or just sprinkle over cereal.
Raw cacao is rich in several nutrients that are critical for supporting heart health. It is the base ingredient used to make cocoa / dark chocolate (cacao is processed and cooked to turn it into cocoa, which is then processed further to create dark chocolate.) Like dark chocolate, cacao powder contains flavonoids, which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart.
With fewer than 15 calories per tablespoon and containing almost no fat, cacao provides a strong chocolate flavour without the guilt. Try adding the powder to your smoothies for a rich chocolaty taste.
This small dark purple berry is native to the rainforests of South America and is one of the richest known sources of antioxidants on the planet; with one berry holding ten times the amount of antioxidants as grapes, and double the amount that blueberries hold. The acai berry is also a good source of fibre, protein and heart-healthy fats. The small berry has been touted to have the nutritional content that supports the idea behind anti-aging, heart health, improved mental function and aids in weight-loss. Acai berry (or powder) has a creamy consistency and almost chocolatey flavour that works well with both sweet and savoury flavours by adding just one tablespoon to your smoothie.
Move over spinach, this fibre-rich, dark green leafy vegetable is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals. 100grams of uncooked kale contains nearly 200% of your daily vitamin A requirements, almost 130% vitamin C and nearly an incredible 700% vitamin K. Vitamin A keeps your skin healthy and may protect against some forms of cancer and vitamin C in kale is fantastic as it acts as an antioxidant and increases your immune system. It also contains lutein, a nutrient that is beneficial for your body and complexion, while the body needs vitamin K for bone health and blood clotting. Kale is a dark, bluish-green leafy vegetable with curly leaves and when grounded to powder form can also be added to salads or try including into the morning smoothie.
SUPERFOODS AND YOU
Overall the best way to eat your way to a healthy lifestyle is by including nutritional superfoods into your daily diet. It's easy to add nutrient-rich, flavoursome superfoods to your menus and create delicious combinations which not only taste amazing, but will also bring long-term health benefits. Visit our website
www.aushealthwarehouse.com/collections/superfoods to find out more on our range of superfoods and other products.