Recently I’ve been on a mission to eat more healthily, increasing my intake of veggies and cutting back on meat, sugar and dairy (this is the hardest for me, I’ve never met a cheese I don’t like and need at least one cappuccino before I can function in a morning).
The deeper I delve into the world of healthy eating, the more I hear about superfoods – foods that are super-rich in good things such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I’m not someone who wants to spend hours in the kitchen, but it seems like superfoods are a super-easy way to give your diet a healthy upgrade as most of them can be stirred into or sprinkled on to the stuff you already eat. Following are five I’ve tried, together with their reported benefits and easy ways to use them.
Yes, chocolate is a superfood. But before you reach for a bar of Dairy Milk, hold fire, we’re not talking high-on-sugar packaged chocolate bars, but raw, pure cacao. It contains mood-boosting tryptophan, is crammed with antioxidants to boost your immune system and the rich chocolately flavour helps you resist sugar cravings, while still satisfying your sweet tooth. You can buy it in powder form and use it to make chocolately desserts, smoothies, or blend with nut milk for a healthier take on chocolate milk.
These tiny seeds are rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, protein, fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, making them good for brain, digestive and heart health, stabilising blood sugar, regulating appetite, improving sleep and boosting your mood. Sprinkle on muesli or fruit, stir into porridge, or make chia puddings by stirring a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds into coconut milk and adding vanilla extract, refrigerate for at least an hour, add honey to taste and top with berries.
High in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and fibre, flaxseed fans say it helps heart health, lowers blood pressure, boosts your mood and even fights cancer. Sprinkle over cereal or yoghurt, add to homemade granola bars, or stir through porridge.
These berries are rich in antioxidants and contain more than 20 vitamins and minerals. Among many other things goji berries are said to improve vision, boost your immune system and fight the effects of the aging process. Eat a handful as a snack, chuck them into a smoothie, sprinkle over muesli or a salad, or stir through porridge.
My namesake Miranda Kerr swears by this stuff, which is reason enough for me to get on board (because she’s glowing with good health, not because we share the same name, obviously). A plant root that has been turned into powder form, maca powder is filled with vitamins, minerals and potassium, which translates into more energy, strength and stamina. Oh and apparently it increases libido too. Whizz it into nut milk or add to mueslis, puddings and cakes.
What superfoods have you tried? How have you incorporated them into your diet? And what benefits have you found? Do share!