A Dummies Guide to Superfoods

superfoodsSuper confused by ‘superfoods’?

I’m sure you have heard the terminology used hundreds of times and you may have even wondered ‘what on earth are superfoods’? I mean, what is it that makes a food so deserving of that five letter prefix?

Are they some kind of special foods that only superheroes eat? Wait I know, they give you super powers don’t they?

Well, not exactly. But kind of.

Superfoods are certain types of natural foods that are packed full of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients (nutrients our bodies are unable to produce but need in order to function optimally). Along with being nutrient-dense, they are also calorie sparse and a great source of antioxidants. Superfoods, with their super dose of essential nutrients also provide a super entourage of health benefits including;

  • Helping to regulate metabolism
  • Helping the body to burn fat.
  • Protects the organs from toxins.
  • Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Preventing or reducing inflammation in the body
  • Preventing heart disease and cancer.
  • Aids digestive health

And if that’s not enough to convince you, most of them taste delicious too. You can easily add them to your every day meals, even if it’s just in your morning smoothie. In fact, you may already be eating a stack of them without really realising you are on the ‘superfoods’ bandwagon.

Here are some of my favourite superfoods and a stack of reasons why they are so super!

Your Quick Guide to Superfoods

Chia Seeds: These little guys, may be small but they sure are mighty! With the addition of liquid, they swell up to 17 times their original size, which means you are kept fuller for longer. Chia seeds are packed full of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, D, E, calcium. iron, magnesium and potassium. They contain approximately 20% protein, 35% good fats and 25% dietary fibre and here’s another bonus, they slow the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.

Quinoa: Pronounced keen-wa, this protein-rich superfood is often mistaken as a grain. However, it is actually a seed, which makes it a great rice or oat alternative for those following a paleo or gluten-free diet. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino-acids, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Try quinoa in your next salad or eat it as you would usually eat rice.

Spirulina:  This green superfood which comes from a microscopic freshwater plant contains over 100 synergist nutients, making it nature’s richest and most complete source of nutrition. With over 300% more protein than fish, meat and poultry, it is also nature’s number one protein source. It is 58x richer in iron than spinach, a highly concentrated source of essential fatty acids and rich in antioxidants. Spirulina is a great addiction to your morning green smoothie or protein shake or add it into you next batch of bliss balls.

Blueberries: Blueberries help to fight cancer! Yep that’s right, the cancer-fighting ellagic acid contained in blueberries, is an antioxidant that has been proven to slow the growth of some cancerous tumours. Blueberries also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent infectious bacteria building up in your gut.

Acai: An exotic berry from the Amazon, acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is high in antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. It’s considered to be a great defence against premature aging thanks to its high monounsaturated oleic acid content. A couple of tablespoons of acai powder in your smoothie tastes delicious!

Cacao: This one should get your attention. Chocolate can actually be good for you! Don’t use this as an excuse to gauge on store-bought chocolate though. It’s not cocoa that is a superfood, but raw cacao. What’s the difference between the two? Well, raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans which keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Whereas cocoa powder is processed, meaning up to 90% of the antioxidants are removed and sugar is often added. Cacao in it’s raw form is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. It also has some amazing health benefits such as lowering insulin resistance, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and high blood pressure, slows ageing, boosts your mood and tastes delicious!

Maca Powder:  An energizing superfood packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and all the essential amino acids, maca powder is great in smoothies, drinks and baked treats. It  is great for balancing women’s health and hormonal balance. Maca has been used to boost energy, endurance, mood, libido and general health.

Salmon: High in omega-3s and monounsaturated fats, we already know  fish is amazing for us. Omega-3s, help lower the risk of heart disease, arthritis and alzheimer’s and are most prevalent in fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon.

Kale: Packed with an abundance of nutritional value and fibre, kale is one superfood everyone should try. It is  rich in calcium, iron, beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, C, and K. In fact, a single serving of Kale provides 192 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A, which works to prevent us against lung diseases. Craziness! It also contains high amounts of substances called phytochemicals, which are associated with the prevention of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. On top of all that superfood goodness, kale has a wopping 45 different flavonoids which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

See why they are so super now? That is just a select few superfoods available out there. Why not try a new one each week. It’s so easy to add them into your diet and think of all the amazing benefits your body will be recieving while you do so!!

Love Elo xx

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