How to rustle up heroic meals with these 3 powerful superfoods.
The superfood scene is constantly changing and can be difficult to keep up with. One week we should be eating quinoa and the next we should be piling our plates with acai berries and drinking kale smoothies! Back in May this year, cockroach milk was being hailed as the new foodie fad for dairy free diets due to its nutritional benefits (although somehow we don’t think that will catch on).
It’s a minefield out there, especially when some superfoods are based on hype, rather than scientific fact. So, what are superfoods, and which ones should you be working into your diet? Let’s take a look at a few examples from the superfoods list 2018 and see how you can easily incorporate them into a healthy balanced diet plan.
What are superfoods?
While there are no set criteria for determining superfood status, superfoods are mostly plant-based foods thought to be nutritionally dense – and therefore good for your health.
Superfoods tend to be packed with vitamins and minerals that can ward off disease and help us live longer, healthier lives. Blueberries, salmon, kale and acai are just a few examples of foods that have garnered the “superfood” label.
Superfoods don’t have their own food group – the term is more of a marketing expression for foods that have notable health benefits. However, this doesn’t mean superfoods are a fad. Consuming healthy and nutritious food can only be beneficial to your physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing!
The trick is not to spend money on expensive superfoods when you could get the same nutritional benefits from lower cost and more accessible foods. With that in mind, you may want to avoid wheatgrass and goji berries and turn your focus back to simple foods that are easy to include in any healthy eating diet plan.
Here are 3 real superfoods which will power up your meals and fuel your body for action, and some accompanying recipes to get you started.
Seaweed is a collective term used to describe certain nutrient-rich sea vegetables. It is commonly consumed in Asia, a continent whose people are well-known for their healthy approach to diet and lifestyle – although its nutritional value is boosting its popularity across the world. Seaweed is a source of unique bioactive compounds not typically present in land-based food sources, and packs multiple nutrients including iodine, folate and vitamin K.
In addition to its purported antioxidant, antiviral and anticoagulant properties, seaweed is also thought to improve gut health and reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, according to this study.
Baked white fish with samphire and lemon
Samphire, also known as sea asparagus, is an ocean vegetable that grows around shorelines, on salty mudflats and in marshy shallows. Add this recipe to your list of healthy lunch ideas!
- 2 cod or haddock fillets
- The zest of 1 lemon
- 90g samphire
- 40g butter
- 2 tbsp fresh herbs such as chopped basil, chives or tarragon
- Optional: new potatoes to serve, 1 tsp chili flakes
Let’s get cooking:
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Lay one large piece of foil on the counter per fillet. Put a piece of fish in the middle of each piece of foil, season well and grate the lemon zest over.
- Divide the samphire between the fish, then top with butter. Sprinkle over the herbs and a pinch of chili flakes, if using.
- Fold the foil up to seal each of the parcels. Place on a baking tray and into the oven to cook for 12-15 mins. Serve with potatoes or vegetables of your choice and a squeeze of lemon.
Forget the top 10 superfoods – eggs are probably number 1. Despite stirring some controversy in the dieting world due to their high cholesterol content, they remain one of the best examples of healthy food. Whole eggs are loaded with high quality protein and are rich in nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B, selenium, iron and phosphorus. They also contain antioxidants known to protect vision and eye health.
If you’re frying eggs, cook them in olive oil – another superfood! Its high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, along with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, are just some of the reasons to forgo those low-calorie sprays. Olive oil can even protect against stroke, heart disease and could even reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Poached eggs and avocado sourdough smash
Eggs and avocado (yet another nutrient dense superfood) make an unbeatable breakfast, so why not add this to your list of healthy breakfast recipes?
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ripe avocado
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- Rocket to garnish
- Optional: 50g feta cheese, handful of cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 tsp chili flakes
Let’s get cooking!
- Fill a large saucepan with water, add the vinegar and bring to a hard boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat so the water is simmering, then use a spoon to swirl the water into a whirlpool. Crack in both eggs and cook for 1-2 mins.
- In a small bowl, mash the avocado and lemon juice, and season with black pepper and salt. Add feta, tomatoes and chili flakes if desired. Toast the bread.
- Pile the mixture onto the toast, then carefully place a poached egg on top of each. Garnish with rocket.
Some of the best superfoods might be hiding in your space rack! Turmeric has recently been promoted from the back of the spice rack and is being added to scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, soups and smoothies. Why? This mustard yellow spice, which is often used in Indian and Asian cooking, is an excellent source of manganese, iron, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium.
Turmeric also contains curcumin, which is what really makes it a ‘super’ food. Turmeric is thought to help regulate blood sugar levels, regulate immune function and reduce inflammation in skin, vessels and the intestinal tract. It also has a purported ability to kill off ‘bad’ or unwanted cells, which could have a huge impact on medical advances.
Quick chicken curry and turmeric rice
Chicken and turkey curries make healthy, hearty dinners that keep you full until morning and will go a long way to keeping you lean and fit!
- 2-4 chicken breasts (diced)
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 1 garlic clove (crushed)
- Ginger (chopped)
- 1-2 zucchinis (chopped)
- Broccoli florets (chopped)
- Spices (paprika, medium curry powder, Tandoori spice blend, Garam Masala)
- 1-2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 2-4 cups of brown rice
- Dash of turmeric
- Optional: Sour cream, chopped parsley for garnish
Let’s get cooking:
- Fry the onions, garlic and ginger until soft.
- Add the chicken and cook through. Add the zucchini and broccoli florets, then the spices and chopped tomatoes. Put the lid on the pan, turn down the heat and leave to steam and soften.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the rice and turmeric.
- Drain the rice and serve the curry with freshly chopped parsley and sour cream, if you like.
Whether you’re eating healthy to lose weight or want to learn how to make healthy nutritious meals for the family, incorporating superfoods into your home cooking is a great way to stay on top of your nutritional health and overall wellbeing.
And remember – everything in moderation. There are lots of healthy foods out there, even if no one is calling them super!
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