Health & Fitness Week: Top 5 Superfoods

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Sometimes, a complete diet overhaul is just too high a mountain to even contemplate climbing. And when it all feels too complicated with the calorie counting, the weighing, the food combining, blah blah blah,  I get to thinking  “forget it, I just won’t bother, it all seems like too much trouble and I’ll never be able to keep it up”. Sounds familiar?

How about just adding in a new superfood or two? Less complicated than a whole new diet or way of eating, less of an overhaul, more a nod to a healthier way of life.

Get a load of these super-nutrient packed food stars into your weekly intake and start to feel the difference.

Chia Seeds: Easily available in health food shops everywhere, these super-charged seeds go back as far as the Aztecs – who says you can’t learn from history! Loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, protein, iron and fibre, it’s amazing these are not offered on the NHS. Just one serving (around 1 and a half tablespoons) gives 42% of your daily intake of fibre – something the average diet is sorely lacking.  Want more figures? The same size serving gives you the same amount of Omega-3 as in 5 oz of salmon, the same calcium as in 3 oz whole milk and iron comparable to 3 cups of raw spinach.

Buffalo Berries: There is a huge buzz about this bright, tart-tasting fruit and for good reason. Bursting with lycopene (which you’ll know from tomatoes), the high anti-oxidant properties are said to help protect against cell damage at the molecular level. The high concentrations of phenols, (believed to have serious anti-inflammatory properties) also propel this bad boy into the super-food stratosphere.

Kale: 2013 was the year of the kale, in superfood speak! We just couldn’t get enough of it, be it in smoothies to making crunchy kale chips. (So easy to do, by the way: simply lay out the kale leaves on a baking tray, spray with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some sea salt and bake on a low heat for about twenty minutes…yum!) And there’s no reason to stop eating this green leaf. High in iron, fibre, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and powerful antioxidants, low in fat, zero calories…need I go on?

Manuka Honey: I’m already a huge fan of Manuka honey and take a teaspoon everyday, but if you’ve yet to be converted, here’s the skinny. Native only to New Zealand, this particular honey is made by the bees that feed on the manuka bush. Honey has long been famed for its medicinal and antibacterial properties, but this particular strain is the king of all honey! Studies are constantly being published on its benefits, one most recently suggesting it can help to prevent the growth of cancer cells. Loaded with minerals, enzymes and antioxidants, this can also improve the good bacteria in your gut!

Matcha Tea: If you’ve already swapped your afternoon latte for a cup of green tea, meet the next big thing. Matcha tea is made by grinding a special type of green tea into a powder, which is then whisked into hot water or milk to make a frothy drink. Packed full of antioxidants and metabolism boosting properties, this gives you all the energy you need without the jitters you sometimes get from coffee. Less acidic too, it’ll help lower cholesterol, stabilise blood sugar and even help increase the body’s resistance to external toxins. While not completely caffeine free, it’s much gentler and less acidic too, which can only be a good thing as we all chase after the alkaline diet.

There are so many others I could tell you about here, some you’ll already know, others just coming to food centre-stage. But start with one or two, see if you feel a difference and take it from there. As always, check with a doctor or health professional before making any changes to your diet.

Any others you think I should try? Leave me your suggestions in the comments below – I’m all ears!

xXx

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