Matcha, quinoa, kale, kombucha, chia, turmeric. These spotlighted superfoods have all had their moment of glory over the past few years.  And just when you've got your head around one ingredient, another one bursts onto the scene.

 

They're touted as helping cell recovery, decreasing toxicity, improving brain function and weight loss and plenty of other health benefits.  But what is a superfood and how do they work?  What benefits do they have and how do you use them? 

 

While food trends come and go, the bottom line is that you can never go wrong with a balanced diet of whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.  But if you're trying to incorporate more superfoods into your diet, it can become a little confusing.  

 

So what defines a superfood? 

Generally speaking, superfoods are any food that's especially healthy for you, and there are lots of them. There's no formal checklist.  But nutritionists generally agree that foods need to pass three main criteria before being elevated to superfood status.  

 

Here’s how to tell if you’ve got a true superfood on your plate:

  • All superfoods are a whole (unprocessed) foods with a high nutritional density.  
  • They're excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, and
  • They're high in fibre and low in sodium

 

While the below is by no means a complete list, they're some of the most popular and readily available superfoods around.  So, happy discovering.  And here's to you and your health.
 

  • Açaí Berries: Pronounced 'a-saa-he' (or like Asahi beer, if you prefer.  These dark purple berries are harvested from palm trees native to South America.  In Australia, we usually find açaí as a powder, puree or dried whole fruit and you'll commonly find them added into in smoothies or in healthy breakfast bowls at trendy cafes. They’re full of fibre, antioxidants, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Almonds: Yes, we know you love them.  This versatile little guy not only tastes great, they’re also packed with protein, fibre, vitamin E and magnesium.  Enjoy them raw for the highest nutritional benefit. 
  • Apples: Every variety of apple contains high levels of antioxidants quercetin and catechin as well as polyphenols, and fibre.  Regrettably, they're also high on the dirty dozen list (for the high concentration of pesticides needed to grow them).  So organic apples are    
  • Broccoli: This cruciferous (extra points for saying that properly at a dinner party) classic is high in vitamins A, C, and K, and folic acid.  And the less you cook it, the better.  Try some Brocolli rice (like cauliflower rice) that's been quickly blanched.  
  • Beans: As well as being full of fibre, they're also a great source of protein, antioxidants, and iron. 
  • Chia Seeds: While tiny, chia seeds pack a real nutritional punch.  These little seeds are packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fibre, iron, and calcium. Omega-3 helps raise HDL cholesterol, the 'good' cholesterol that helps protects against heart attack and stroke.
  • Dark Chocolate: Thanks to its super-high level of antioxidants, this little treat can be considered a superfood as long as you choose the high cacao (70% plus) - low sugar content to get the health benefits.
  • Eggs: One of the few non-plant-based foods to qualify.  They're a real powerhouse, full of protein, selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, copper and iron. As if that's not enough, you'll get all nine essential amino acids your body needs (but can't make).  But be kind to the little ladies though and choose cage-free. 
  • Green Tea: Green teas are all loaded with polyphenols, a potent antioxidant, as well as alkaloids and L-theanine.  Green matcha tea, a powdered tea, is even more beneficial because you consume the leaf itself, not just the brew.   
  • Seaweed: Fibre, antioxidants, polyphenols, riboflavin, thiamin, iodine (which supports thyroid function and which the body can't produce on its own), B vitamins and copper.  All these make seaweed a king/queen in the superfood world. But if you can't stand the idea of the raw stuff in the form of a seaweed salad, get your hands on some dry or powdered versions.     
Previous Article Next Article