Superfoods are those foods that are great for your health! They are rich in vitamins and minerals and some foods have compounds that may include goods fats like omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, a variety of photochemical and dietary fiber.
Some foods are said to assist in strengthening your immune function, fight against heart disease, prevent cancer and lower the risk of other inflammatory diseases.
Super Foods are the new thing in weight loss and healthier eating. We are big on Super Foods and try and incorporate at least one in each meal.
Many studies are out there, with different food labeled “super foods”. We recommend do your research and make a list of your own super foods.
One study we found by Lucy Danziger (2012) that we thought was useful, and promoted as the Thirty Super Foods for Weight Loss; are:
Almonds, Apples, Artichokes, Avocado, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cherries, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Edamame, Eggs, Goji berries, Kale, Kiwifruit, Lentils, Mushrooms, Oats, Olive Oil, Parmesan, Peanuts, Pomegranates, Popcorn, Pumpkin seeds, Quinoa, Sardines, Steak, Sweet potatoes, Whole-grain pasta, Wild salmon and Yogurt.
Our Top Superfoods for great health
Avocado – Avocado’s are rich in monounsaturated fat and half an avocado has almost 7 grams of fiber. Avocado’s are high in potassium, calcium and iron. They also contain beneficial oils for the cardiovascular system. Avocado’s are also helpful in reducing the inflammation of the digestive system. Tip: substitute avocado for butter/margarine on bread, wraps etc.
Berries – (Cherries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries). As a general rule berries are an excellent general tonic and skin cleanser as well as having mild laxative properties, low in calories and an effective diuretic. Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Some berries have cancer fighting properties. Berries can be added to smoothies, shakes, eaten cooked or uncooked and can be purchased frozen. Tip: look out for high quality concentrated powdered berries for smoothies, it allows you to have berries all year round and very convenient if you are out and don’t have access to a blender.
Broccoli – Broccoli has high levels of vitamin B and C as well as folic acid and beta-carotene. Broccoli is great for weight loss, reducing high blood pressure, constipation and liver problems. Broccoli is also said to reduce your risk of cancer (colorectal, lung and stomach) as broccoli contains chemicals that assists your body’s natural detoxifying enzymes. Tip: use the water you steam the broccoli in for using in soups or as stock. Plants also thrive on the water too.
Dark Chocolate – Yes, good quality dark chocolate is a super food! Moderation is the key and you should be looking for minimum of 70% cocoa. The higher the cocoa the better however it will come down to taste. Dark chocolate is great for lowering the stress hormone cortisol, it boosts your mood and is packed with antioxidants. Dark chocolate is said to fight colorectal cancer due to the potent phytonutrient compound and the antioxidants found in dark chocolate assists in brain function and may reduce inflammation. Tip: Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate are an afrodisiac for women.
Eggs – Free range eggs are best. Eggs are a great source of protein and are low in calories, however if you like to have a few eggs at a time, to reduce your calorie intake reduced your yoke intake; i.e. 2 egg whites to one egg yoke. Eggs are not just for breakfast, a boiled egg is a great snack and eggs can be added to salads, used as the base for quiches, tarts and frittatas. Steak and eggs are a great dinner option too. Tip: Eat a boiled egg prior to or straight after a work out, boil up a few at a time and keep in the fridge.
Garlic – Contains allicin that fights infection and reduces LDL cholesterol. Garlic contains vitamin B and C as well as selenium, phosphorous, iron, chromium, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Garlic is a liver and bile cleanser, and a natural antibiotic for your whole body, assists the immune system and dispels internal parasites. Garlic can be added to cooking or juicing, or spread directly onto foods as a topping. Just remember garlic has a strong aroma and may be offensive to others. Tip: Garlic can be placed directed onto the skin to assist with skin infections or wound healing.
Ginger – An acquired taste that is high in vitamin C and packed with copper, potassium, sodium, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorous and magnesium. Ginger is a natural antibiotic for your whole body and reduces congestion whist fighting the common cold or flu. Ginger is great for travel sickness, reduces inflammation and reduces arthritic pain. Ginger can be eaten raw, or added to juices or cooking. Ginger can be added to hot water for a delicious morning tea. Tip: Pickled ginger in the Asian section of the supermarket is a great snack to have during the day.
Mushrooms – Mushrooms can improve your immunity and strengthen the body’s defences against disease, including cancer. Mushrooms are low in calories and high in potassium which assists in reducing bloating.
Quinoa (“Keen-wah”) – Quinoa is gluten free and a complete protein. Quinoa has essential amino acids, is low in calories, low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Quinoa may help lower cholesterol, is high in antioxidants and may regulate blood pressure.Tip: Quinoa is a great side dish and easy to cook on your stove top. Supermarkets sell flavoured packets so you can mix up your meals.
Salmon – Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and protein. Salmon is easy to cook; grill, poach or bake; its easy and quick. Keep the skin on when cooking, its fine to eat but you can remove it if your don’t want to eat it. Tip: Cut up the salmon to cook as kababs or purchase sliced smoked salmon at supermarket to add to sandwiches, pizza or as a side to eggs for breakfast. Tinned salmon is great for quiches, tarts, frittatas or to salad for lunches. Love salmon!!
Sardines – Our favourite weekend breakfast on toast! Sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium and vitamin D. Sardines are a great addition to your diet if you are wanting to lose weight and combined with exercise, turns on enzymes to burn fat and assists in building lean muscle mass. Tip: If you don’t like fresh sardines try canned sardines, they are just as good and if you like some extra flavour opt for the ones in tomato sauce.
Steak – Lean cuts of red meat are a great source of protein, iron, niacin, zinc, vitamins B6 and B12. Red meat should be eaten in moderation and portion size is also important. A general rule of thumb is a piece of steak should be in proportion to your palm.Tip: You can mix up your red meat by making home made burgers, or mince based dishes like shepherds pie with sweet potato topping, chow mein, or cook up some bolognese.
Sweet Potato – Very high levels of beta-carotene and high in vitamin B and C. Sweet potato also contains calcium, iron, phosphorous and potassium. Sweet Potato is excellent for building body strength, its easily digestible, soothing for stomach ulcers and inflammation of the colon. Sweet potatoes won’t breakdown to sugar (glucose) like traditional potatoes which is great for dieters! Tip: To maintain nutrients, don’t boil sweet potatoes; bake or steam with skin on for extra fiber.
Tomatoes – Packed with vitamin B, C and K as well as carotenes including Lycopene which have anti-cancer properties. Tomatoes are rich in potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorous and iodine. Tomatoes are a good liver and bile cleanser and are said to assist with high blood pressure, gout, kidney and bladder problems as well as reducing cholesterol. Tomatoes are good for your eyes, reducing cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked and are so versatile. Try growing your own for better flavour, its easy! Tip: Tomatoes are an acid food so may not suit everyone. Check with your GP or dietitian to ensure this superfood is best for you.
** There are many more superfoods at your local market or supermarket, many are a personal choice. If you have a disease or ailment, it is best to do some research and see what foods are best for you.
Lucy Danziger; The Drop 10 Diet (2012). Lucy Danziger, editor in chief of SELF magazine, and her team of nutrition experts have created the ultimate flexible plan for melting off ten, twenty, or more pounds at any age—you can see results in as little as a week! By eating more of thirty superfoods—everyday favorites like eggs, yogurt, steak,