Let’s face it, most foods are good for you – in the right amounts of course, but there is one group of foods with super-duper nutritional properties, aptly named ‘Superfoods’. Clever thinking that! And even better, they keep discovering more and the list keeps on growing.
So, whether you’re someone who follows the latest health food fads, you’re hot in pursuit of a new you for the New Year or just fancy trying something different, read on to find out more!
1. Move over Kale! Kelp is our Friend!
Yes! That’s right, Seaweed is the next big thing! It’s nutrient rich and has been steadily gaining recognition for its superfood properties which include high levels of iodine – great for our thyroid and pituitary function, and thus helping to regulate that naughty little ‘ism’ we would all like a bit more control of – our metabolism. Find it in Japanese restaurants or sushi bars and Asian supermarkets.
2. Mushrooms are magic!
Yep! The humble mushroom is packed with goodness including high levels of vitamin D and B vitamins, which provide energy by breaking down proteins, carbs and fats. They are a great way of adding flavour to a dish without adding cholesterol raising salt. Plus the betaglucans in mushrooms help boost immunity and increase resistance against allergies.
3. Not as Freekeh as it sounds…
Freekeh (pronounced freak-eh) is one of those ancient grains, like Quinoa, that seems to have been rediscovered for its amazing nutritional qualities. It’s wheat but harvested super early, so ranks much lower on the glycaemic index and retains more protein and fibre than mature wheat based grains. So, in other words: it’s a grain that’s great for your guns. The good news is that it’s a delicious and satisfying addition to a salad and a great sub for rice.
4. Black Pudding makes a comeback.
It seems the rest of the UK have realised the benefits of this little northern delicacy, and right they are too! Its super rich in Zinc and Iron – needed to make healthy blood cells, prevent fatigue and help concentration So if you find yourself feeling a little lack lustre, maybe one of these little fellas will sort you out. P.S They are also packed with protein, potassium, calcium and magnesium which more than makes up for their saturated fat and cholesterol content … right?
5. Say hello to natural sweeteners!
With sugar being deemed public enemy number one, you’d turn to artificial sweeteners right? Wrong! The experts say we should instead get our sweetness from natural sources such as honey and agave, and if you’re really serious then unprocessed options or raw honey, pure Stevia, Lucuma or Monk Fruit which need less processing. These may he harder to hunt down at first but make your local health store our first port of call.
6. Brussels Sprouts Stay Put.
They haven’t been in any rush to disappear after their annual festive pilgrimage to our dinner plates… in fact this year they have been granted Superfood status in place of their veggie fore bearers the humble kale, broccoli and courgette. And that’s because they’re packed with vitamin B, which is great for a mid-winter energy boost. They also contain glucosinolates that protect our DNA from damage, as well as vitamin K, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium and magnesium. So tuck in. We promise they’re actually quite tasty – especially cooked with a little bacon and butter – but shh! We didn’t say that!
7. You’ve bean told.
For something so small, the Black Bean is brimming with vitamins and minerals and also packs a punch on the protein front. They are sustenance staples in Latin American cuisine, and can be used to make anything from burritos to brownies.
8. Branch out to Birch Water.
Yes, as in the tree. And yes… it is a real thing! The latest substitute for regular water and an alternative to Coconut water, it’s harvested from the sap that comes from Birch trees in the spring. It’s supposed to be a great post-workout drink due to the electrolytes; potassium, magnesium and calcium it contains which boost hydration in the body. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Teff luck Quinoa! You’re out!
Destined to become the new ‘it’ grain, TEFF is an Ethiopian gluten-free crop that has tiny seeds that are high in calcium, iron, protein and amino acids.The grain can substitute any wheat flour based recipe to make anything from pizza bases to waffles. Great news for the gluten intolerant among us, or even just those wanting to try something new.
10. Going fermental.
In case you weren’t aware, fermented foods are having a bit of a moment. Sauerkraut, Kimchi and now Kefir are said to work wonders on a temperamental digestive system. Their probiotic qualities ensure that the gut remains full of ‘good bacteria’ as opposed to ‘bad bacteria’ often produced as a result of eating too much sugar or processed foods. Kefir is essentially a fermented milk drink, but we promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. The consistency is a little between milk and yoghurt and is like the superfood version of Yakult, but less a marketer’s dream, more an age-old natural recipe: the Russians have been drinking it for centuries…and it makes a great addition to a smoothie! Bonus!