Why are they so good for you and how can you add them to your diet?
Superfoods are nutrient dense foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which can help us to ward off diseases, lose weight, age better and live a healthier life. Here are some of my favourites:
Like green tea, matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The big difference between matcha and other green tea is that matcha is grown in the shade, which increases the amount of cell-food chlorophyll in it and gives it its bright-green colour. Matcha is made by grinding up the tea leaves into a powder, creating a very concentrated version which tends to be quite expensive but a little goes a long way.
Matcha has three times the amount of EGCG than regular green tea. EGCG is a powerful antioxidant which has cancer-preventing and metabolism boosting properties. It also contains L-theanine which has also been shown to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, which may help induce relaxation and decrease stress levels.
You can drink matcha tea or latte (any type of milk will work well) and you can add matcha powder to smoothies, granola, porridge or yogurt.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga and it’s considered one of the most nutritious superfoods available. Its main active component is called phycocyanin, an antioxidant which gives spirulina its unique deep colour.
Spirulina is an excellent source of protein as it contains all the essential amino acids that you need, and it also provides lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It has cancer fighting and anti-inflammatory properties, and it can help reduce blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels too.
If you find the taste a little too strong try to blend it in a smoothie or make a delicious almond latte with it. You can also add it to homemade protein balls, omelettes or biscuits.
Beetroot are higher in sugar than most vegetables, but they are packed with nutrients like iron, manganese, copper, potassium and magnesium and make a great addition to the menu. They provide a good source of fibre, which is beneficial for digestive health, as well as reducing the risk of several chronic health conditions.
Beetroots are rich in betaine and folate which help to reduce potentially toxic levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can be harmful to blood vessels and contribute to the development of heart disease, dementia and stroke.
One of the best ways of adding them to your diet is probably to add them to juices, salads and dips. Beetroots ca also be roasted, steamed or pickled. Don’t discard the leaves, they are delicious and can be eaten just like spinach.
If you are a chocoholic, you’ll be very happy to discover the benefits of raw cacao. Cacao is the raw component derived from the bean of a cacao tree and it’s not to be confused with cocoa which is a lower quality, processed and nutrients depleted version of cacao that is found in most store-bought chocolate bars. Dark chocolate still has some benefits (70% or higher) as the higher the percentage of cacao, the more antioxidants and flavanols you’ll get. 100% raw cacao is best though, and it contains no sugar or other additives.
Cacao is a true nutrients powerhouse with calcium, magnesium, carotene, vitamins E & B, iron, zinc, and potassium. It can boost your energy levels naturally, increase the levels of serotonin -the feel-good chemical- in the brain and helps fight premature skin ageing. Apparently raw cacao contains 20 times more antioxidants than blueberries, so we might as well consider it the king of superfoods!
I like to add raw cacao nibs to smoothies and sprinkle cacao powder on porridge.
These berries are native to the Amazon region and a true Brazilian superfruit.
Most of the acai berries powerful health benefits come from their high antioxidants’ levels, and especially anthocyanins which give them their deep purple colour. These antioxidants have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, can support detoxification, and help fight cancer cells growth. The fibre found in Acai berry skin and pulp can aid digestion, relieve constipation and support a healthy cardiovascular system.
You can add dried açai berry powder this to your favourite smoothie, porridge, breakfast bowls, and homemade granola.
Read the full article by Zara Stella here.
Discover a yummy recipe we posted from Pulsin here.