Super foods are ALL the rage at the moment. Acai bowls, Salted Caramel Macca smoothies and Goji berries are of course super delicious and trendy but often come with a hefty price tag. I remember as a struggling uni student, working three jobs living in Sydney, it is HARD not to splash your cash on the latest super food or supplement on the market! But you don’t have to buy Goji berries, Macca Powder or the best Green powder from the highest Himalayan Mountain that took a man 6 weeks trying to get it to be healthy.
Here are ten super foods you can include in your daily diet that you wont have to take a home loan out for or hold your nose when eating them. Promise!
1. Raw Cacao
Cacao is full of antioxidants, magnesium and tastes incredible! So why is it better than your regular block of dairy milk? Cacao only becomes bad when it is heated (the nutrients are destroyed), added with loads of refined sugar and poor quality dairy (milk solids). You can add this versatile powder to your morning smoothie, afternoon Bliss balls or evening dessert (put the M & M’s away).
#Organic free range only – PLEASE! You really don’t want to be eating hormones, antibiotics and other drugs the poor chickens are pumped full of. Yes, they are priced a little higher than regular eggs but they roughly work out to be 70 -90c per egg (now that’s a cheap healthy dinner option). Packed with protein, good fats, antioxidants and vitamin D – you’re never too old for a boiled egg and toast soldiers!
It’s generally just Blueberries that get all the attention as a super food but ALL of the berry family members are just as good! Berries are one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, high in vitamin C and fibre. Anthocyanidins are responsible for the pigmented gorgeous colour of berries – numerous studies have shown they have an important role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This includes raspberries, cranberries, mulberries, strawberries, cherries and blueberries.
Pronounced as “KEEN-wah”! Quinoa is VERY high in protein. Making it a superior option to rice or pasta. It has a low Glycaemic Index, high in fibre, antioxidants and is gluten free! Hooray! Quinoa is the only grain / seed that contains all of the nine essential amino acids – which our bodies can’t produce. It’s a great post training recovery food as it contains a good mix of both protein and carbohydrate to repair and replenish your muscles!
This tiny seed is one of the richest plant sources of Omega 3 fatty acids! Ground flaxseed is a great source of fibre, phytoestrogens and lignans. Lignans are a phytonutrient that are particularly important for females -they help remove oestrogen excess as they bind to oestrogen receptor sites. It is best to ground flaxseeds to get the most nutrition from them (the oil can turn rancid quickly once the seed is broken) – find yourself a mini coffee grinder and buzz them in the morning to add to your muesli or smoothie. P.s Flaxseeds and linseeds are the same thing
6. Adzuki Beans
These delicious little black beans have the highest amount of protein out of all of the beans out there – they keep you feeling full and satisfied! Full of fibre, antioxidants, iron and have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Everyone seems to have a can of beans somewhere in the pantry at home – why not, they’re cheap, nutritious and delicious! Have these as a side dish instead of pasta or potatoes.
Oats are rich in a substance called beta-glucan. Recent studies have shown that consuming 3 grams of beta-glucan a day can help to lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. High in fibre and have a low glycaemic index – they will keep you feeling full for longer and stabilise your blood glucose levels. These cold mornings will make you look forward to breakfast with a warm bowl of porridge!
8. Chia Seeds
Chia puddings are a cheap, quick and easy breakfast on the go. Loaded with protein, essential fatty acids and fibre – these little seeds expand and swell to 5 times their weight when soaked in milk – keeping you feeling full and your digestive health happy.
Avocados aren’t just good with corn chips. They are a good source of healthy fats – particularly monosaturated fats – essential for healthy skin, hair and happy hormones. This delicious fruit is high in fibre, antioxidants and Oleic acid – which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. Yep, Avocados are pretty much Mother Nature’s butter – you can never have enough of this luscious beauty.
10. Fresh Ginger
The spice of Life! Zingiber officinale or Ginger is a potent warming, anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce nausea and morning sickness and blood sugar levels. This rhizome can be grated into stirfys, added to juices or smoothies or simply steeped in hot water as a tea with raw honey. Make sure you put this weird looking thing in your shopping trolley!
So what makes these foods so super? The fact that they are all super high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, fibre and nutrients – they help you feel energised and boost your immune system, because lets face it, no one has time to be sick!
The bottom line: super foods are just foods that contains lots of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – making them a great choice to maximise your nutrient intake for the day. You can buy these affordable super foods from your local supermarket and create your own Master Chef dishes at home (no home loans required!)
Stephanie is a Naturopath and Nutritionist who has a special interest in female reproductive health, sports nutrition and digestive issues. She lives by the beautiful beaches of Bateau Bay.