There has been lots of hype about superfoods lately, so I thought I would write a short blog post about some of my favourites that AREN’T kale or berries! There is no scientific definition of a superfood as such, but they are generally thought of as being very nutritionally dense and especially beneficial for our health and wellbeing. Most superfoods are rich in nutrients such as antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and/or fibre.
I thought I would keep it interesting and share some different superfoods you may not have heard of before!
Here are 5 superfoods to add to your diet:
Matcha: Matcha tea is the dried leaf of green tea that has been ground into a powder. Before the leaves are harvested, they are shaded for 30 days to increase their chlorophyll production. Matcha is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids as well as chlorophyll. It can help boost your energy and improve your overall health. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine that can help to enhance your brainpower. Matcha green tea powder can be used as a brewed tea, but can also be added to baked goods, smoothies or sprinkled through your salad. If you want to get creative check out my healthy green tea cookies here.
Turmeric: This spice is what gives curry its unique taste. Turmeric is known for its antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and was used in ancient medical traditions in India and China. Turmeric gets its gorgeous deep golden colour from a compound called curcumin. Studies have found that curcumin may improve circulation, prevent blood clotting, help indigestion and subdue a variety of pains. You can add turmeric to your quinoa or oat porridge, sprinkle in rice dishes and sprinkle over vegetables or meat when cooking to boost flavour.
Sprouted seeds: Sprouting seeds is a process where seeds are grown until they begin to sprout and develop small shoots, which are then removed and eaten either raw or cooked. Generally, sprouted seeds have a higher protein, vitamin and mineral content than the raw vegetables you eat. They also contain more enzymes, which are molecules that allow your body to absorb and effectively use the foods that you eat. An easy way to get a an added nutrient boost is to add sprouted seeds to your salad, stir-fry or in your favourite vegetable-based juice.
Ancient Grains: The word ancient grains doesn’t just refer to a 4000-year-old grain, it refers to the ancient grains that have been used in the traditional diets of nomadic communities across the world. However, these grains have only recently been ‘discovered’ and talked about in the Western world. Most ancient grains provide a wheat-free and/or gluten-free alternative to the modern grains available now. Nutritionally, ancient grains are wholegrains that have more protein, more fibre and provide greater amounts of vitamins and minerals. Some of the more well known grains are quinoa, chia and millet, but there are many others, including amaranth, wild rice, freekeh, spelt, buckwheat and sorghum. Try adding these ancient grains to your favourite salads or use their flours when baking!
- Fermented Foods: Within your intestine there are trillions of good, live bacteria called probiotics. These little microorganisms are responsible for a healthy digestive system and boosting overall immune function, which is important for a healthy body. How can you increase the amounts of good bacteria in your digestive system? One of the best ways is to eat foods that are full of probiotics, which can be found in fermented foods. What are fermented foods, you ask? Some examples of fermented foods include: Kefir, Kombucha, Miso, Tempeh, Sauerkraut, Kimchi (the spicy version of sauerkraut) and yoghurt. When buying yoghurt, it is important to look for yoghurts that say “Live & Active Cultures” as these are the ones that contain the benefits.
Just remember there is no one food that can sustain us on its own or prevent health problems. It is important to eat a variety of foods to provide us with all the nutrients we need. By including ‘superfoods’ from time to time, you can add a nutritional boost to your healthy diet. What is your favourite superfood?
Love, Kayla xx