If you haven’t heard the buzz surrounding super foods, chances are you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years. Super foods have been propelled into the spotlight thanks to their incredible health benefits, powerful nutritional value and potential to help you live longer. Super foods are packed with so many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and other beneficial substances that they can help protect you against cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, protect the organs from dangerous toxins and improve digestive health.
Among the best super foods are:
Acai: An exotic berry found in the Amazon, acai contains an unbelievably high concentration of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) also offers high monounsaturated oleic acid content, which helps combat premature ageing.
Broccoli: Just one serving of broccoli provides 175% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K and is loaded with vitamin C, folic acid and carotenoids. It’s also said that half a cup of broccoli a day could keep certain cancers such as lung, colon, rectum and stomach at bay.
Blueberries: As well as being delicious, blueberries offer cancer-fighting ellagic acid, anti-inflammatory properties and help stop bacteria from clinging to the walls of organs.
Kale: This dark, leafy green vegetable contains high amounts of beta carotene, iron and folate. It also improves digestive health, keeps you feeling fuller longer and makes up a large percentage of your daily allowance of vitamin C.
Quinoa: Pronounced keen-wah, quinoa is a supergrain offering high levels of vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, potassium and riboflavin. The high number of minerals produces an anti-inflammatory effect and helps fight disease.
Sweet potato: Much healthier than their white cousins, sweet potato has a high level of fibre, vitamin C and potassium, and is known to help stabilise blood sugar.
To introduce super foods into your diet, why not try some of these following recipes?
Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Kale Salad
- Toss 2 cubed sweet potatoes in 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. garlic powder and ½ tsp. chilli powder and roast for 30 minutes at 220°C.
- Rinse ½ cup of quinoa under water then add to a saucepan with ½ cup of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 13 minutes.
- Fluff quinoa after 5 minutes cooling time and combine with 3 cups of kale, a few fried cranberries and the sweet potato.
- Finish with a dressing made of 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. minced shallots, 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 ½ tbsp. honey.
- Coarsely chop a cup of blueberries and combine with a good squeeze of lemon juice, chopped coriander, a finely sliced red chilli and 1/3 cup diced red capsicum.
- Season salsa with salt and then serve with toasted flour tortilla strips.
Baked Kale Chips
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and wash the kale using a salad spinner.
- Tear kale into bite size pieces before laying out on the tray, then drizzle kale with olive oil and season with salt.
- Bake at 175°C until the edges start to turn brown, approximately 10 minutes.
Acai Breakfast Bowl
- Break up 200g of frozen acai and place in blender with strawberries, blueberries, mango and a banana.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and sprinkle with granola and a little fresh mint.
Quinoa Vegetable Paella
- Rinse 1 ½ cups quinoa thoroughly while sautéing 1 chopped onion and 3 minced cloves of garlic in a non-stick skillet with a ½ cup water.
- Add quinoa, ¼ tsp. saffron, 2 tsps. paprika, ½ tsp. cumin, a dash of cayenne, a can of diced tomatoes, 1 chopped capsicum and a tin of red kidney beans to the pan.
- Add 2 ¾ cups vegetable stock, bring to the boil and then simmer covered for 15 minutes.
- Add 2 medium sliced zucchinis and more stock if needed, simmer for a further 5 minutes then stir in a cup of frozen peas.
- Serve in a large dish and arrange the top with 1 can of rinsed and quartered artichoke hearts.