The word superfood is used all the time now and I have to say I am a big fan of true superfoods. The use of the word gets alot of criticism with many claiming it is over used and applied to whatever food happens to be in fashion at a point in time. However, I am all for using the term superfood when it is applied to natural foods that are norishing, highly nutritious and have amazing health benefits. For me, a superfood is one that leaves me feeling energised and well and one that is a vital part of my daily diet. For me, the test of whether something is a superfoord is whether I would be ok with going without that food for a prolonged period of time. If the answer is no (with me breaking out in a cold sweat at the thought of it), well then in my book that food is a superfood.
Today, I am going to talk about four foods that I use on a near daily basis and that I love both for their taste but also for their crazy good nutritional properties and health benefits.
Turmeric is so so good for us. It boosts immunity, supports healthy cell repair, reduces inflammation and is full of anti-oxidants which protect our bodies from free radicals. Free radicals can attack healthy cells and cause disease and ill health. Therefore it's really important to eat as much anti-oxidant rich foods as possible. Turmeric is loaded with anti-oxidants and therefore incorporating raw turmeric into our diet is a super way of getting an anti-oxidant boost. Turmeric contains a phytonutrient called curcuminoid that has been shown to have anti-inflammoatory properties, aid digestion and even have anti-infection powers.
I add a spoon of turmeric to my morning smoothie. It's quite strong tasting so you may want to start off by adding a small amount and working up to a teaspoon or two over time. To help with the absorption of turmeric, I take it with black pepper and coconut oil. Again, I just add these to my morning smoothie. Using turmeric in cooking is great, but as usual the best way to get the maximum goodness from an ingredient is to take it raw. To get maximum nutritional benefit it is important to pay attention to the quality of turmeric you use. I opt for an organic powder or the turmeric root itself.
Spirulina is a fresh water blue green algae. It is very digestible and so has good nutritional bioavailability. Spriulaina is 70% protein. It is a good source of vitamins (including B vitamins and vitamin K), minerals (including iron and calcium), essential fatty acids, carotenoids and chlorophyll. It helps support our immune system, it helps increase energy levels, it has an alkalining effect on the body and is great for our eyes. It is also helps give us healthy and glowing skin and hair. Again, the quality of the spirulina is important. Opt for organic spirulina to avoid contamination from pesticides. I take about two teaspoons in my morning smoothie. It is quite strong tasting and powerful so again you might want to start with smaller amounts and work from there.
I love chia seeds, mostly because I adore the taste of chia puddings, but also because chia seeds give a massive nutrient hit for very few calories. Chia seeds contain fibre, protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. They are a really good source of anti-oxidants and I have already said how important anti-oxidants are. I take chia seeds as they give me a really powerful energy boost and not just short term but over a period of time. I put them in my energy balls and in my smoothies, I make chia puddings and sometimes I just sprinkle a spoon over my porridge. I will put a recipe for a chia pudding on the blog soon.
I use cacao nibs and raw cacao powder all the time to make desserts, homemade chocolate and delicious chocolate smoothies. When we hear the word chocolate, we don't usually think superfood. This is beacause the chocolate we have all around us is processed beyond belief with lots of sugar, binding agents, additives and colourants added, meaning any goodness is well lost. When I talk chocolate, I am talking about raw cacao which comes from the cacao bean and this is what is really really good for us. It contains anti-oxidants, minerals such as magnesium and iron, vitamins and healthy fats. Some research even suggests that raw cacao can stimulate our brains to release certain neurotransmitters that improve our mood. What more could we want?
I really hope you enjoyed reading about four of my favourite superfoods and ones that I use all the time and would be lost without. xx