It may seem like anything labeled with the term superfood would surely be something extraordinary. You may see certain food products wearing this label; greens powders, acai or goji berries. These are just a few that wear the label of superfood.
But what does it mean? A superfood is a food that is high in a specific nutrient or mineral, which makes it stand out in comparison to other foods. In mainstream media, these foods often come with a high price tag and a claim to help with certain properties such as helping to fight off disease. While this is not necessarily misleading - as we know intake of certain vitamins, minerals and compounds are beneficial - there might be other foods that are just as beneficial, just without the price tag.
If you can earn the title of superfood by being naturally high in a specific vitamin or mineral, does that mean that some other common household foods can earn the title of being ‘super’?
This one often does not get the hype it deserves. Blueberries are rich in anti-oxidants, which fight free radicals in your body. Every day our body is exposed to pro-oxidants such as general pollution, plastic or unhealthy foods, therefore we need something to balance out these pro-oxidants. Blueberries are just one ingredient that is high in antioxidants that you can add into your day. Some ideas may be: adding in a handful into your morning porridge, half a cup into a breakfast smoothie or a handful as a topping on to your chia seed pudding - these are all Refine You Challenge recipes by the way.
This everyday food item should be part of your general routine. Whether you add it into your vegetable mix in a stir-fry or scrambled eggs in the morning, it’s a very easy addition with surprising health benefits. Raw garlic contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, which have been linked in research to reduce the risk of illness or poor health.
This is often a staple in your pantry, however, you may not have realised just how nutrient dense it is. This potent powerhouse is a great source of Vitamin E, polyphenols and monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been linked to good heart health. Olive oil can be used to cook any meat or to make a simple dressing for a salad.
This group includes vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. They’re an excellent source of fibre; phytochemicals and vitamins are a great addition into your day at any point.
I bet you’re happy with this one! Dark chocolate has great antioxidant properties. Just keep in mind that the bitter the dark chocolate, the better it is for you. When looking for a dark chocolate to choose, look for around 60% cacao or higher. Spending slightly more on dark chocolate will generally get you the higher quality product too. This is one area where it is great to spend some extra money to get the superior product with the better health benefits. Keep in mind, the same nutritional benefits don’t apply to white chocolate or your standard dairy milk chocolate.
To summarise, a few key things that all of these items have in common is that they’re:
· Minimally processed
· Whole foods
· Nutrient rich
· High quality
So next time you see the word 'superfood’ in the supermarket with fancy packaging and writing, implement a few of these ingredients first and save the wallet.