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Superfoods

September Spring Clean Your Eating: Week Four

 

I love adding superfoods to my meals whenever I can. The reason being not only do they taste good but they are nutrient-rich providing concentrated doses of vitamins and minerals which are essential for optimal health.

Here is  alist of my top 10 favorites.

 

1. Acai

Packed with powerful antioxidants from the Amazon rainforest, acai berries are absolute legends of the superfood world. Acai has one of the world’s highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) scores, meaning it can be used effectively by the body to help prevent oxidation and fight disease-causing free radicals.

What are the health benefits of acai?

  • Contains amino acids which help support energy production, endurance and strength
  • Naturally high in essential fatty acids which can support a healthy heart
  • As one of the world’s highest ORAC foods, acai can help prevent free radical damage and reduce the signs of ageing
  • Contains as much vitamin C as blueberries, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E
  • Low in sugar and loaded with minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper

2. Cacao

Cacao is an antioxidant powerhouse, which also happens to be one of the highest plant-based source of iron! It’s the purest and rawest form of chocolate you can get, so it’s packed with the antioxidants which are lost in the processing of cocoa.

What are the health benefits of cacao?

  • The purest form of chocolate
  • Contains the minerals of iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and copper
  • Rich in antioxidants which protect from cell damage and fight disease
  • Good source of magnesium which is beneficial for a healthy heart and brain
  • Contains mood-boosting properties

3. Goji Berries

Goji berries are a super source of vitamin A and vitamin C, which are both essential for a healthy immune system. They’re also loaded with the beta-carotene pigment, which helps promote healthy skin.

What are the health benefits of goji berries?

  • Awesome source of antioxidants, including vitamin A and vitamin C, which can help boost immunity
  • Loaded with the beta-carotene pigment which helps promote healthy skin
  • Low in calories and packed with fibre to support weight management and digestive health
  • Contains the antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which can help to protect and improve eyesight

4. Maca

Hailing from South America, maca is praised for enhancing energy levels, mental clarity, and sex drive. It’s also considered an “adaptogen” because it can help the body adapt to stressful scenarios like a busy schedule or a demanding job.

What are the health benefits of maca?

  • Contains amino acids, phytonutrients, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals
  • Packed with bio-available plant protein that’s easy for the body to digest
  • Supports healthy hormone balance in both men and women
  • Rich in calcium, maca contains a higher concentration of calcium than milk

5. Chia Seeds

Don’t underestimate the superpowers of these super tiny seeds! Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which promote a healthy heart and brain. They’re also one of the richest plant-based sources of protein, ideal for those wanting to boost their protein intake without relying on meat.

What are the health benefits of chia seeds?

  • Awesome source of omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for heart and brain health
  • Good source of the essential minerals, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus
  • High in protein and in dietary fibre which can support weight management
  • Rich in antioxidants which can help prevent premature ageing

6. Blackcurrants

As a highly concentrated source of vitamin C, blackcurrants earn superfood status for their powerful antioxidant properties. Blackcurrants also contain health-boosting anthocyanins, the compound that gives these super berries their rich purple colour.

What are the health benefits of blackcurrant

  • Blackcurrants are a rich source of vitamins, particularly vitamin C – blackcurrants contain up to four times more vitamin C than oranges, and double the amount of antioxidants as blueberries
  • The purple colour of blackcurrants indicates the presence of the anthocyanins, which have incredibly strong antioxidant activity as well as other health-promoting qualities and can help strengthen your immune system
  • Research has shown that blackcurrants can help improve eyesight, blood circulation, exercise recovery, and mental clarity

7. Linseeds

Leave it to the linseeds – they’re the richest plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for a healthy heart and brain. Studies have also linked the consumption of linseeds to improved digestion, clearer skin, lower cholesterol and reduced sugar cravings. Super or what?!

What are the health benefits of linseeds?

  • Richest plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids to support a healthy heart and brain
  • Good source of soluble and insoluble fibre which supports digestive health and weight management
  • Rich in the antioxidants, lignins, which can slow the ageing process

8. Pumpkin Seeds

Power to the pumpkin seeds! Packed with many a mineral, including phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper, pumpkin seeds are also an awesome source of protein. They’re rich in healthy fats and antioxidants like vitamin E, which help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.

What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds?

  • Good source of protein
  • Rich in vitamin E which helps protect against disease and reduce inflammation
  • High in magnesium to support bone health and blood pressure

9. Sunflower Seeds

Packed with vitamin E and folate, sunflower seeds are big supporters of a healthy heart. They’re also a good source of selenium, a mineral which works with vitamin E to help protect cells from damage. The magnesium and copper make-up of sunflower seeds means they’re good for your bones too, and can help ease arthritic pain and inflammation because they’re loaded with antioxidants.

What are the health benefits of sunflower seeds?

  • Rich in vitamin E which helps protect cells from damage against free radicals
  • Packed with folate to promote a healthy heart
  • Good source of selenium which can help fight disease
  • Contains beneficial magnesium and copper to support bone health

10. Turmeric

Turmeric is the yellow spice that you seem to be hearing more and more about these days – and for a good reason! Turmeric hosts a wealth of health benefits that make it a worthwhile addition to your smoothies. The secret to the powerful medicinal properties of turmeric is curcumin – the main active ingredient. Curcumin is responsible for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which make turmeric a superfood and an awesome addition to your smoothies.

What are the health benefits of turmeric?

  • Turmeric contains the bioactive compound curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
  • As a natural anti-inflammatory, curcumin can help fight inflammation, which is at the root of all disease
  • Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant which can protect your body from disease-causing free radicals and can stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes – helping it further in the fight against free radicals
  • The medicinal properties of turmeric have been linked to improved brain function and reduced risk of brain disease and heart disease, as well as easing arthritic pain.

 

A lot of the above can be added to smoothies or added to a salad. Hope you enjoy the benefits as much as I do!

 

Reference:

https://www.craftsmoothie.co.nz/blog/top-10-superfoods-for-smoothies-and-why-theyre-super

Photo credit: Medical news today

 

 

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