Super Foods

In the last few years much has been written about Super Foods and more people are trying to incorporate them into their daily diet, but exactly what are superfoods and why are they so much better for us?

Everyone’s idea of the top ten Superfoods varies, but basically they are foods that have a high concentration of nutrients considered essential for good health. Some of the foods you will recognize because they are probably already part of your diet.

To help you get the most out of Super Foods here is an overview so that you can identify them and incorporate them into your daily diet.

It is best if you avoid becoming fixated on one type of food and use superfoods to balance your diet. The key to good health is always about balance, however if you can source foods high in nutrients you will get the most benefit.

Super Foods,– Lean Red Meatssuper food red meat

Red meat is considered essential to a good healthy diet. It is full of protein and energy, contains iron which is very important for women’s health and contributes towards a healthy heart.

Lean beef or steak isn’t the only option when it comes to red meat. Vary your diet with some of these choices.

Lamb

This is a good source of zinc and iron. Zinc will benefit your immune system, help with tissue repair and is good for essential growth.

Kangaroo

meat is a healthy choice because it has low levels of fat. It is also an organic meat free of antibiotics and chemicals and Roo’s are good for the environment because they don’t emit methane.

Kangaroo meat cooks quickly so avoid overcooking. It can be cooked in much the same way as beef and tastes good. It makes excellent barbecue steaks.

Liver

Although liver isn’’t technically a meat (it is offal) it is considered a super food because of its brilliant source of nutrients. It contains vitamin A, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Pregnant women can eat liver but they should avoid eating too much since large amounts of vitamin A is damaging for unborn babies.

Edible livers include:

  • Goose
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Calf

Goose and chicken liver is usually sold in the form of pâté.

It is best to buy the liver whole, skin it and slice it very thinly. Use only the best part of the liver and discard the rest. If you have cats or dogs they will get very excited when they smell the liver so give them the leftovers because it is good for them too.

Coat the sliced liver in flour, shake off excess and cook quickly in a very little hot oil. Drain on a sheet of kitchen roll to remove excess oil before serving.

Super Foods,– Salmonsuper foods salmon

Salmon is now tagged as a Super Food but experts have known for some time that Omega-3 fats are very good for you. Seafood in general is good for your health, however oily fish have a higher Omega-3 content.

Other oily fish that have high levels of essential fatty acids are:

  • Sardines or Pilchards
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Herring

For a quick Super Foods fix try these dishes:

  • Grilled sardines on toast.
  • Smoked salmon with brown bread and salad.
  • Ready to eat Herring roll mops with bread.

Super Foods,– Broccolisuper food broccoli

“Eat your greens” is something we are all familiar with and for good reason. Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family and contains valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber that are essential for a healthy diet. The good news is that if you don’t like broccoli there are other greens you can choose instead. They might not pack such a healthy punch as broccoli but have great health benefits. Try adding more of these vegetables to your diet.

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bok-Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Kale

To maintain good colour and flavor cook vegetables in a steamer.

If you like to eat raw vegetables try Cole slaw as a side dish for steak or cold meats. This is all you need to do:

  1. Slice very finely half of a medium size cabbage such as a Savoy or Sugar Loaf.
  2. Half a medium size onion also sliced very fine.
  3. One carrot, grated.
  4. Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl adding a drizzle of olive oil and a desert spoon of mayonnaise until the vegetable mix is coated in the mayonnaise.
  5. You can add flavor with a sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Super Foods, – Oatssuper foods rolled oats

Oats are a source of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins and protein. Oats help to lower cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. You may be familiar with porridge which is a breakfast dish made with oats.

Porridge is a very healthy way to start the day but there are other ways you can get the benefits of oats. Oats are the basis of Muesli which is also a breakfast cereal dish. You can buy it ready made or visit a health food store and make your own.

  • Add oats to stews and soups.
  • Make oatcakes or bannocks.
  • Add oats to the mix when making desserts such as crumbles.

Recipe for Creamy Porridge

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sugar (optional)
  • Pinch of salt

Put milk, oats and salt in a pan and bring to boil. Turn heat down and stirring regularly simmer for about 10 minutes. As porridge thickens add a little water until mixture is smooth. Add sugar just before serving if you have a sweet tooth. You can also add sultanas to the mix or serve with fresh fruit.

Super Foods,– Blueberriessuper foods berries

Blueberries are full of antioxidants. They also contain vitamin K which plays a valuable role in bone health. Some reports claim that they also help to slow the mental aging process.

Blueberries are delicious and can be added to deserts or sprinkled over breakfast cereals. Many other berries have a high level of nutrients, so round out your diet by including other varieties.

  • Goji Berries
  • Bilberries
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Acai Berries
  • Raspberries

A bowl of yoghurt sprinkled with nuts and berries will give you a good burst of nutrients.

Super Foods – Linseeds (or flaxseed )superfoods linseed

Linseeds are a fabulous source of nutrition. They are packed with vitamins, minerals as well as Omeg3 fatty acids. They are in fact a source of Omega3 oils which aren’’t found in other plants.

To get the most benefit from linseeds they should be crushed or used in oil form. Linseed oil can be used as a supplement, crushed linseeds can be added to a variety of dishes.

Try crushing together linseeds, almonds and sunflower seeds then sprinkle over:

  • Cereal
  • Desserts
  • Yoghurt
  • Ice Cream

Crushed linseeds mix can be purchased in supermarkets and health food stores.

Super Foods, – Tomatoessuper foods tomatoes

Fantastic tomatoes, delicious however you eat them. They are a rich source of lycopene, which gives them the deep red pigment. Various tests have shown that tomatoes help reduce the risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke. Lycopene has also been shown to help strengthen bones and reduce cholesterol.

The good news is that cooked tomatoes are just as good for you since the lycopene increases after cooking. Make an effort to try some of the different varieties and look for recipes which use tomatoes.

  • Pop a cherry tomato into your mouth and be amazed at the burst of flavor when you bite it.
  • Give yourself a super boost with hot tomato soup, the perfect lunch on a cold day.
  • For a touch of “Provencal” serve sliced tomatoes sprinkled with chopped onion and fresh basil.

Super Foods – Soy Proteinsuper foods soy

Soy is a great source of the B vitamins and isoflavones, it also has all the essential amino acids that the body requires. According to the FDA, 25 grams of soy protein a day may help to reduce heart disease and cholesterol. It can help to minimize hot flushes during menopause.

Soy is a very good non dairy alternative if you are lactose intolerant.

Soy foods do not have cholesterol and most are high in fiber. There is a big variety of soy products on the market so it is not hard to choose different ways of eating it.

Other good sources of nutrition are:

  • Legumes
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Chick Peas

These can be added to soups, stews, hot pots or eaten as a vegetable with a variety of dishes.

Super Foods – Yoghurtsuper foods yoghurt

One of the most important things about yoghurt, apart from the fact that it is packed with nutrients is its ability to help the body counter harmful bacteria in the intestine. It also helps to combat problems with digestion and intestinal ailments.

People who are lactose intolerant can often cope with yoghurt and the high calcium content makes it a good substitute for milk. Amongst other things yoghurt is a good source of protein, riboflavin, vitamin B 12 and potassium.

Yoghurt is an ideal snack which can be enjoyed at any time. It can be eaten plain, flavored, on its own or with other foods. It can be incorporated into many dishes sweet or savory and there are plenty of recipes for yoghurt based sauces.

Try this Bircher Muesli recipe for breakfast.

  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup apple or orange juice
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 200 ml natural yoghurt
  • ¼ cup sultanas
  • ¼ cup honey

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Serve with cinnamon and fresh fruit.

Super Foods – Walnutssuper foods walnuts

Walnuts contain more Omega-3 fatty acids compared to other nuts. They contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that helps to support the immune system.

Some studies show that they contain anti-cancer properties and help to keep the heart healthy.

Nuts are an ideal snack and are a great benefit to good health. Add some of these to your diet.

  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Hazel Nuts

There are various types of nut paste on the market which make an ideal spread for crackers or bread. Buy packs of crushed nuts and toss them over cereals and desserts.

Super Foods – Generalsuper foods bee pollen

To keep your diet varied and interesting I have included some other foods that pack a healthy punch even if they don’t have Super Food status.

Consider these foods for extra nutrition.  Some of them are in the form of supplements, there is a good variety to choose from.

Super Foods will help add an extra boost to your system. Keep your energy levels up with a good balanced diet; eat more Superfoods to stay fit and healthy.

Good luck.

For more information on Healthy Eating, try one of these pages.

Healthy Menu Planning Some healthy menu planning strategies to give you weekly menus.

Healthy Cooking This is about choosing a cooking method that delivers optimum health benefits. Most people get comfortable with a cooking method and stick to it, but there are options and on this page explore the various cooking methods available to you.

Vitamin Source In a perfect world we would all be eating the vitamin source in a healthy diet, so there would be no need for vitamin supplements. The reality is that most of us at some time or other will need to boost our diet with vitamins.

Benefits of Water The benefits of water are enormous. Water is our body’s vital fuel, a health drink from mother nature. It’s calorie free, inexpensive and easily obtained.

Diet Tips Here are some diet tips and advice on losing weight through diets.

Atkins Diet The Atkins Diet has a proven track record, thousands have used it to lose weight and retain a healthy lifestyle. Find out more about this famous diet and see if it is the right one for you.

Choosing a weight Loss Program Choosing a weight loss program can be daunting. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you.

Calorie Chart A calorie chart will give you all the information you need about calories in all types of food. It will enable you to purchase the right types of food to keep the calories down.

Food Safety Learn about critical food safety and how to avoid food poisoning.

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