What Are Super Foods?
Super Foods - a list of stand out foods popularly known for their nutritional value.
The ideal diet - largely plant-based - wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains
for the non vegetarian or vegan, some healthy animal products.
Incorporate some of these incredibly versatile foods into your diet.
1. Raw Cacao
Contains high levels of antioxidants, rich in Magnesium, Sulphur, Iron, Folate, Calcium, and smaller amounts of B6, Vitamins E , K and Choline.
Derived from the cacao bean, 'raw' refers to the cold press processing removing fats whilst still keeping the natural enzymes and antioxidant activity
Has more antioxidants (flavonoids) per 100 gm than acai berries, goji berries or blueberries
High in dietary fibre and low in sugar
Increases a particular thermogenic protein which assists in maintaining body temperature and increasing metabolism
Contains neurotransmitters Dopamine and Phenylethylamine (PEA) aiding mental alertness and improving mood
What do antioxidants do?
- Neutralise free radicals, preventing damage to DNA which contributes
to the ageing process
- Prevent oxidation of cholesterol
- Increase HDL 'good cholesterol'
- Lower LDL 'bad cholesterol'
- Regulate metabolism of fatty acids, improve insulin sensitivity, and thereby
regulates blood glucose levels
Raw cacao is 3.67 times higher in antioxidants than roast cocoa
- The antioxidant activity is believed to be reduced by heat
- Antioxidants are less available when in milk, so use dairy alternatives for drinks and smoothies
2. Green Tea
Contains B vitamins, Folate, Manganese, Caffeine and many antioxidants, notably catechins. Originating in China, has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, treating a number of ailments, preventative for many others.
Contains the amino acid L-theanine which increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effect
Increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain , which increase the brain’s output of relaxation-inducing alpha waves and reduces the output of tension-making beta waves
Contains caffeine which has a synergistic effect with L-theanine. The combination of the two is particularly potent improving brain function
Reduces LDL or 'bad cholesterol'
Can assist in blood pressure control due to the effects on the walls of blood vessels
Helps regulate blood glucose levels
Has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties
The catechins can destroy bacteria in the mouth, used in China not only as a popular beverage, but regarded as important for dental hygiene
3. Black Tea
Black tea is known for its curative qualities:
Heart Ailments: The regular consumption of black tea can help repair coronary artery dysfunction in many heart patients. Therefore, black tea drinkers are at a decreased risk of contracting many cardiovascular diseases
Diarrhoea: Black tea has a healing effect on intestinal disorders due to the presence of tannins
Asthma: Extremely beneficial for asthmatic patients, as it expands the air passage, thereby allowing patients to breathe more easily
Digestive Problems: Black tea is rich in tannins and other chemicals that have a positive and relaxing effect on the digestive system . The anti-inflammatory quality of black tea is also helpful for moderating digestive disorders
High Cholesterol: According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association in New Orleans, people who consume black tea can reduce their bad cholesterol levels, which are responsible for heart strokes and fatal attacks. It has also been found that people who drink 3 to 4 cups of black tea every day are at a lower risk for heart problems than those who consume minimal amounts, or no tea at all
High in antioxidants, contain B vitamins, Manganese, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Selenium and Vitamin E
Rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids oleic and palmitoleic acids
Different nuts have slightly different nutritional profiles
Include all the health benefits of antioxidant activity
Can assist with weight loss
High in fibre but also calories
Excellent protein snack as a handful
L- arginine is required for health of blood vessel walls
Can be difficult to digest for some
High in Folate, Vitamins B, E, K and C, Potassium, Copper
Contains carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin
High in the mono-unsaturated fat oleic acid
Avocado has been shown to increase carotenoid absorption from other foods such as sweet potato, carrots & leafy greens
Improves conversion of specific carotenoids (most importantly, beta-carotene) into active vitamin A. Determined by the measurement of retinyl esters in the bloodstream of participants in a clinical trial, which were found to increase after consumption of carrots or tomato in combination with avocado
All parts of the pulp are not identical in phytonutrient concentrations: closest to the peel is higher in certain phytonutrients than the more interior portions of the pulp, so scrape all the pulp from the skin
Most researchers are agreed that the high levels of monounsaturated fat in avocado, especially oleic acid, play a role in many heart-related benefits
Very high in antioxidants known as flavonoids in particular anthocyanins
Nutrient dense, containing Fibre, Vitamins C and K, and Manganese
The antioxidants in blueberries have potential benefits for the nervous system and for brain health, and can also improve memory. In a study involving older adults, 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve scores on two different tests of cognitive function including memory. Researchers were encouraged by the results and suggested that blueberries may be beneficial not only for improvement of memory, but for slowing down or postponing the onset of other cognitive problems frequently associated with ageing
Studies also show that freezing blueberries for periods of up to three months does not damage antioxidant content. These include different types of anthocyanins, the pigments that give many foods their vibrant shades of blue, purple, and red
Berries are generally considered to have low glycemic index (GI). GI is a common way of identifying the potential impact of a food on our blood sugar level once consumed and digested . Blueberries show significant improvement in blood sugar regulation over a three-month period.
Organically grown blueberries have significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and total anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries.
An important source of the very important Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)
Contains B vitamins, Selenium, Potassium and Vitamin D.
An excellent source of protein
Contains the antioxidant Astaxanthin, giving the flesh it's familiar colour
Contains no carbohydrate
Is a source of the amino acid Taurine
Known to promote cardio vascular health- Heart Health
Preferable to eat with the skin on, as there is a layer of beneficial fats just under the skin
High in the antioxidant Beta-carotene, vitamin C, K and E, Folate
An excellent source of glutathione which acts as a detoxifying agent
Contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine which is a natural diuretic
Also contains inulin, a dietary fibre associated with improved digestion
Low in calories
Contains Magnesium, Iron, Vitamins B2, B6, K, E and A, Folate, Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, Copper
Contains the green pigment chlorophyll, in itself a super food
Contains anti inflammatory phytonutrients
Thylakoid content may help hunger, and blood sugar control
Vitamin K promotes osteoblastic activity in the bones, thereby strengthening