Best superfoods for optimal health
If you’re looking for a way to shift a few extra kilos, improve your overall health or incorporate energy-boosting foods into your diet, then you need to know all about the varied superfoods available to you.
I sought the help of Rebecca Warren, Scientific Naturopath at the Radiance Healthcare Centre in Sydney, to help me identify these superfoods and find out why I should be incorporating them into my diet. So go on, read about the 10 health improving foods available at your local supermarket…
This common kitchen spice helps regulate blood sugar levels, making it great for people who suffer from diabetics and anyone who would like to enjoy more stable energy levels and moods. Cinnamon also reduces cholesterol, in turn reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Best ways to consume: a pinch in your hot chocolate, sprinkled over your yoghurt or in savoury Moroccan dishes.
Chilli can prevent harmful blood clots and protect against strokes by working to boost circulation and lower blood sugar levels. The spicy food also helps to clear congestion, provides pain relief and reduces inflammation. For those weight conscious people, you’ll be pleased to know that Chilli also increases your metabolic rate, which aids in fat burning.
Best way to consume: in pastas, sauces, served with fish and included in many different dishes from a variety of cuisines, such as Thai and Vietnamese.
DARK GREEN VEGETABLES
Kale and spinach contain plenty of vitamins A, C and K, folic acid and potassium - nutrients which are necessary for healthy bones, skin and eyes. Spinach is low in calories and high in dietary fibre, which can help control your weight and prevent constipation. The nutrients in spinach can also help you maintain healthy skin and a healthy circulatory system.
Best way to consume: blended into healthy juices, served cooked alongside meat or fish and served raw in salads.
Broccoli contains magnesium and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart problems. It is higher in vitamin C than oranges, so super effective at easing the common cold by boosting your immune system. The nutritious vegetable is also high in fibre so aids your digestion, prevents constipation and curbs overeating – great news for those who want to lose weight. Oh, and did we mention it helps your skin to detoxify and repair itself, too? (can change this last bit if you want, just needed to break it up a bit)
Best way to consume: cooked alongside all meats, in soups and Asian dishes.
Green tea helps to increase your metabolism and aid weight loss. It regulates glucose levels, effectively aiding diabetes sufferers. Green tea also works on the lining of blood vessels, helping them withstand changes in blood pressure and effectively protecting against the formation of blood clots, which can help to prevent heart attacks.
Best way to consume: hot - with the teabag infused for at least three minutes and with a squeeze of lemon to help ‘cleanse’ your digestive system.
Containing important omega-3 essential fatty acids, walnuts assist in boosting heart health and help to increase good cholesterol levels in the blood. Walnuts are high in good fats so provide your body with the essential fats it needs, but won’t interfere with weight loss. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant defense found in walnuts protects healthy cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Best way to consume: crushed over yoghurt and muesli or in a pear and walnut salad (or any salad really).
Though sour to taste, grapefruit is a key food when it comes to assisting with weight loss. Why? Because it is high in enzymes that burn fat, has high water content and contains less sodium than other citrus fruits. A combination of these three characteristics makes grapefruit a perfect food for increasing your body’s metabolism. Grapefruit also contains salicylic acid that helps to break down the body’s inorganic calcium, also known as the stuff that builds up in the cartilage of joints and may lead to arthritis.
Best way to consume: grapefruit juice, in fruit salad, on it’s own or with yoghurt.
Celery contains fibre, as well as plant hormones that calm and soothe your central nervous system, helping to aid weight loss. The reason celery is often linked to dieters is because it is alleged to be a negative calorie food, which means it takes the body more calories to digest it than the food itself contains. Celery seed is also used to treat colds, arthritis, and diseases of the liver and spleen in Ayurvedic medicine.
Best way to consume: in salads or in soups. Eaten with dips and peanut butter. Celery is also great in spaghetti bolognese.
Apples assist in lowering cholesterol. One medium-sized apple contains about four grams of fibre and can help to decrease the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in our bodies. The reason apples are so effective in weight loss is due to the high fibre content, which helps you to feel fuller for longer. They’re also a good source of immunity-boosting vitamin C, as devouring five apples a week has been shown to result in better lung function.
Best way to consume: in fruit salad, on it’s own, freshly squeezed or chopped up and served with probiotic yoghurt.
As one of the leanest sources of protein, turkey contains around half the fat of beef and is low in calories, too. Vitamin B6, which is found in turkey, also aids in energy production by helping to process carbohydrates.
Best way to consume: turkey burgers, cooked and tossed through salads, cooked and included in stir fries in place of beef or chicken.
Which superfoods do your most regularly consume? Do you consume your recommened at least three superfoods a day?