There is actually no such thing as a superfood. I believe that all food from nature is a superfood. Also it is not good to eat plenty of one type of food even though it is deemed to be healthy. The best is a variety of natural foods daily in your diet. However since I keep on advocating a 70% to 80% plant based diet and the term superfood is not going away, I will give a list of foods I believe that should be in our diet on a regular basis. Here are the first ten, not in any particular order.
- Kale – Part of dark green leafy vegetables, are an excellent source of nutrients including folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber. Also serve as a prebiotic for your good bacteria. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Almonds – This is my favorite nut, though I love all nuts. If you are what you eat, than definitely I am a nut (just joking). Nuts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and also has a protective effect against heart disease. It has protein and good fats. Only be careful you do not take a large quantity as the calories can add up. I usually recommend a handful, about 15 to 20.
- Green tea – Is rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. One of the most prevalent antioxidants in green tea is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. EGCG is likely what gives green tea its apparent ability to protect against chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Research also indicates that the combination of catechins and caffeine in green tea may make it an effective tool for weight loss in some people.
- Avocado – Is a highly nutritious fruit, though it is often treated more like a vegetable. It is rich in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats (MUFA). Oleic acid is the most predominant MUFA in avocado, which is linked to reduced inflammation in the body. Eating avocado may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancer. I usually spread it on whole meal bread with a little bit of butter for breakfast.
- Blackberries –I prefer this to strawberries which are usually full of chemicals unless you get organic. Berries are a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. I usually add them into my organic yoghurt with my nuts and avocado sandwich for breakfast.
- Eggs – Due to its high cholesterol content eggs had historically been a controversial topic, but eggs contain inulin and choline which actually reduce LDL and also increase HDL. They remain one of the healthiest foods and from one egg you can actually create a new life. Whole eggs are rich in many nutrients including B vitamins, selenium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus. They are also loaded with high quality protein. Eggs also contain two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are important for eye health.
- Yoghurt – Fermented, probiotic rich foods like yoghurt and kefir have several health benefits like reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, improving digestion and anti-inflammatory effects. Usually made from cows milk and can be tolerated by people with lactose intolerance due to the fermentation of lactose by bacteria. However be careful of commercially prepared product as it might have added sugars.
- Sweet potato –This is a root vegetable loaded with many nutrients, including potassium, fiber and vitamin A, C and Carotenoids. Despite their sweet flavor they do not increase blood sugar and may actually improve blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes.
- Salmon – Is a highly nutritious fish packed with healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, potassium and selenium. It is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are known for reducing inflammation. The only drawback is the possible contamination with heavy metals, so limit consumption to 2 to 3 servings per week.
- Turmeric –Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. It has potent anti-inflammatory effect. One drawback is it is poorly absorbed, but its absorption can be enhanced by pairing it with fats or other spices like black pepper. We use a lot of turmeric in our cooking and I believe even if small amounts are absorbed it still adds up.
This are the first ten “superfoods”. The next article will have the next ten. Remember that take a variety of this foods on a regular basis.
Re: Ansley Hill, Nutrition July 2018.