You’ve probably heard the term ‘superfoods’, but what actually are they? Strawberries with superpowers? While the phrase itself is relatively new, the actual foods themselves have been used in a range of cultural cuisines for thousands of years due to their potent health benefits.
A superfood is essentially any type of food which has an unusually high nutrient density and the capacity to improve health as well as prevent disease. If you’re a single mum looking to enhance your health and well-being, adding some superfoods to your diet is always a good idea.
Of course, you can’t rely on a single food alone to maintain good health – it’s important to eat a varied and balanced diet. However eating a balanced diet can be difficult for people and this is why quick recipes like this amazing Korean beef bulgogi bowl are becoming increasingly popular.
Even adding just a few superfoods to your meals is a great way to boost the nutrients you’re getting. Try to eat a diverse range of superfoods in order to get the most out of them.
From cinnamon to maqui berries, here are some of the most nutrient-dense superfoods to start adding to your diet.
THE VERY BEST SUPERFOODS YOU NEED TO EAT
These little beauties are famous for their ability to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. This is due to their high omega-3, lignan and fibre content. Lignans may help prevent cancer by interfering with the growth of tumour cells, while fibre can help reduce inflammation and assist with arthritis symptoms. Fun fact: In the 8th century, King Charlemagne was so convinced by the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws ordering everyone in the kingdom to eat it!
Ground flaxseeds are the best as they are easier to digest – add them to yoghurt, smoothies and baked goods, or use flaxseed oil in your home cooking.
Cinnamon isn’t just something that tastes good in sticky buns – it’s widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties and high iron, manganese, antioxidant, fibre and calcium content. Better yet, recent studies have shown that cinnamon can slow down or even stop the progression of Parkinson’s Disease. It may also be effective at treating diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Add some to a mug of warm milk or on top of your muesli for a delicious health boost.
Get freaky with freekeh! Freekeh is unripened green durum wheat which has been roasted and crushed. It’s been used in Middle-Eastern cuisine since at least the 13th century, where it’s often made with meat and vegetables. Freekeh has four times the amount of fibre as brown rice and also has a low glycaemic index (which helps you stabilise blood sugar levels, boost energy and manage cholesterol). It’s also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin – which are great for eye health – as well as calcium, iron and zinc.
Archaeologists have found evidence of avocado consumption in Mexico dating back nearly 10,000 years! Clearly the humble avocado has been helping us thrive for a long time. Avocados are rich in healthy fats such as omega-3, which are responsible for maintaining good heart and brain health (and may also help prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s). They are also high in antioxidants, which assist with good cellular health, and are higher in potassium than bananas.
Avocados are incredibly versatile foods to cook with; you can add them to salads, spread them on sandwiches or use them in your baked goods.
You may have heard of acai and goji berries, but have you heard of maqui berries? Maqui berries have been used for centuries by the indigenous people of the Amazon region. They have the highest antioxidant content of any known fruit, up to 30 times higher than the acai berry! These antioxidants can help fight free radicals, strengthen immunity and slow down signs of ageing. As a bonus, maqui berries are also rich in omega-3, vitamins and minerals.
You can consume them in smoothies, on your cereal, in your baked goods or as a snack!
Kale continues to be one of the most popular superfoods on the market – and for good reason: it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth! It’s incredibly rich in vitamins, containing 684% of the daily requirement of Vitamin K and 206% of the daily requirement of Vitamin A. It’s also high in antioxidants, fibre and omega-3 whilst being low in carbohydrates and kilojoules. It can improve eye health, help you lose weight, fight cancer, limit inflammation and reduce your risk of heart disease.
No wonder people love kale! Add it to stir fries, curries, soups and salads or enjoy it baked in the oven with a bit of pink Himalayan salt (also rich in minerals). Kale can be used to create an inexpensive and healthy meal that children will also love.
Make the most of these incredibly nutritious superfoods by incorporating a variety of them into your diet. Smoothies, baked goods and soups are great vessels for your superfoods.