It’s a New Year and no doubt many of us have resolved to take better care of ourselves in 2017. Of course, the road to good health begins with the food we eat and enjoying a healthier diet – all day, every day – is easier than you think!
Over the next few weeks Blackmores will spotlight Superfoods, include recipes and sort Superfood fact from fiction.
The science behind superfoods
When it comes to the typical Western diet, we could all do with a little nutritional help, and the rise in popularity of superfoods has the potential to revolutionise the way we eat.
Many plant foods in their unrefined state are worthy of the title “superfood” because of the abundant health benefits they may offer, but there are certain foods that play a starring role and take nutrition to another level. Think acai, goji, pomegranate, acerola, quinoa, matcha – you could be forgiven for thinking these are the names of celebrity offspring, but in fact they’re exotic-sounding, plant-based foods that pack a nutritional punch.
These foods are packed with antioxidants, and are a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Clearly, traditional cultures didn’t wait for science to introduce them to superfoods – protein-containing quinoa earned its superfood status as far back as 3000 to 4000 years ago, when it was a staple part of the diet in the Andean regions of modern-day Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.
Take chocolate for example: the flavonoids found in cocoa and chocolate have been linked to a sense of wellbeing. In Europe, historical documents going back as far as the 17th century pointed to chocolate’s potential to benefit health.
Sadly, our modern-day diets, along with our penchant for less movement and more reality TV, have led us down a path of ill health. But by opting for a balanced eating plan that includes more antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables and other nutrient-dense fare – of which superfoods are the shining stars – we can begin to take back control of our wellbeing, and pave the way for a healthier future.
5 ways to wellbeing with superfoods
1. Get juicing
A stack of healthy ingredients can be far less daunting when it’s been zapped through a juicer.
Juicing is a great way to deliver nutrients, fast, and it’s easy to add powders, seeds, spices and tinctures to your juice for even more health benefits.
Try adding ginger to boost flavour – it’s traditionally eaten to aid digestion, spirulina for an antioxidant boost, matcha for a vitality boost or cold-pressed vegetable oils for skin health.
Add goji berries, blueberry powder, cacao, or ground pumpkin seeds for an extra-healthy drink.
2. Better your breakfast
Don’t settle for a boring breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day, after all. Add berries, nuts and oils to your cereal or porridge. It’ll taste better, and will add some important nutrients and vitamins to your daily intake too.
Avoid mass-produced, highly processed cereals, as they tend to be high in sodium and have added sugars. Instead, try adding pumpkin seeds, nuts or coconut and mix with oats for a powerful morning punch.
3. Go smooth
Smoothies aren’t just for breakfast. They’re a great booster mid-morning, pre- or post-workout, or to beat that afternoon slump. Use water, coconut water or milk alternatives as a base, and add fresh fruit, berries, nuts and powders to your mix.
By including at least 5 grams of protein, such as nuts, or powders such as whey you’ll feel fuller for longer and, if you’ve just finished a workout, it will help with muscle recovery and growth.
Try using an avocado or vegetables in your smoothie. Ingredients such as spinach and kale all blend well and will turn your smoothie into a super snack.
4. Cook healthily
Baking your favourite snacks doesn’t have to be relegated to the “unhealthy indulgences” zone of your diet. You can make the most of the health benefits of ingredients such as berries, nuts, oils, powders and flours by including them in your dough mixtures.
Consider the healthy alternatives to a recipe’s sugary ingredients. Try muffins with added blueberry powder, goji berries, and topped with nuts. Keep your portions small for a low-kilojoule, but healthy snack.
5. Carry smart snacks
When you’re hungry and unprepared, you’re more likely to reach for an instant sugary hit, such as a chocolate bar, fizzy drink or high-GI snack. These can add unnecessary kilojoules to your daily intake, and are unlikely to offer any health benefits. Instead, ensure you’ve always packed a small supply of pumpkin seeds, nuts or your own baked boosters (see tip 4), to ward off those hunger pains.
And don’t forget to carry water with you at all times: jazz it up by adding a squeeze of lemon, berries, coconut water or fresh herbs, such as mint, parsley or basil.
A small handful of nuts give you protein, healthy fats and fibre and can help you feel fuller for longer. Use small zip lock bags for portion control and easy transport..
For more information, click here to visit the Blackmores website or phone our Naturopathic Advisory Line on 0508 75 74 73.