Superfoods are all the rage at the moment. A range of television programs focussed on their benefits have been hitting our screens regularly over recent years aimed at educating the population and proving that incorporating these foods into your everyday diet is not difficult.
Not only are these foods incredibly healthy, they are also said to aid in weight loss, give you more energy and help your immune system fight off various diseases. Here are five of the most effective superfoods and a few delicious recipe ideas that you will be itching to cook up next time you’re in the kitchen.
These lovely little Chinese cabbages are widely available in supermarkets and Asian supermarkets in the majority of towns and cities. Bok choy – often referred to as pak choi – is rich in calcium, natural protein and dietary fibre.
It’s also proven to be effective in warding off PMS symptoms. Next time you want to cook up a succulent Chinese meal, or place an order at your local takeaway, try sesame bok choy, stir fried bok choy in oyster sauce, or simply add it to a nutritious veggie stir fry.
Saturated fats are to be avoided at all costs, but not all fats should be completely abolished from your diets. Almonds are a great form of natural fat, as well as providing your body with fibre, protein and various other vitamins and minerals.
Almond milk is great alternative to cow’s milk and is widely available in supermarkets and health stores. If you’d rather stick to the whole nuts, why not try adding toasted almonds to your pesto, or sauté your almonds with asparagus – another superfood – in some healthy canola oil, with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and sea salt.
These handy little pulses are a fantastically versatile ingredient, capable of supporting massive flavours and spice mixes, as well as being a healthy, filling addition to soups, stews and curries. There are a huge number of lentils for you to choose from and they’re all a great source of natural, protein and fibre.
They are also said to contain a large amount of a B vitamin called folate, which – amongst many health benefits – helps protect unborn babies from neural tube defects. Lentils are a food which, if you’ve never cooked with before, can be a little daunting to many.
However, they’re available ready-cooked and are just as nutritious. Take a look at your local Indian takeaway menu for example – US readers here, and UK readers here – and you’ll find many lentil based dishes. Dals are particularly popular and make a great side dish to any main meal.
This little known member of the brassica family is surprisingly easy to get hold of and is a great substitute for cabbage. Low in calories and containing no fat what-so-ever, kale is packed with fibre, vitamins and other nutrients and has been proven to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
You can use kale in the same way you would any other kind of cabbage; it’s perfect to use raw in homemade coleslaw, or lightly steamed with some chili flakes, then chopped finely, mixed with beaten eggs and cooked into a deliciously healthy omelette.
Blueberries aren’t just a sweet fruity treat – perfect in muffins or stewed down into a syrup and spooned over some warm pancakes – but they are incredibly beneficial to your brain. These beautiful little fruits have been proven to help maintain memory function, improve communication between brain cells and protect your brain from inflammation.
If you want to incorporate a healthy, superfood-packed breakfast into your diet, then a simple bowl of blueberries and bran flakes, mixed with some low-fat Greek yoghurt, some flax seeds and a spoonful of organic honey, would be a fantastic start to anyone’s day.