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Hey everyone, so the focus for this week is forgotten superfoods! Nowadays healthy food is en vogue, but it is likely when someone asks you to name a type, you’ll think of chia seeds, or kale. Well, you’re not wrong, as they are of course healthy superfoods. But this article isn’t going to focus on them, nor the more difficult to pronounce super foods such as amaranth, kombucha or quinoa. Nope: I’m going to be talking about the poor neglected superfoods, wasting away on supermarket shelves or probably already in your cupboards, that deserve your attention and ingestion. Anyhow, you probably already enjoy the foods below and just need a reminder about how awesome they are.
This earthy veggie with its rugged exterior often gets overlooked, but it really shouldn’t! Beets have a beautiful natural sweetness.
Why it is healthy? The natural pigments in beets, called betacyanins, have been proven to be strong cancer fighting properties (in laboratory mice). Plus, it is one of the best sources of betaine and folate. The two work together to lower your body’s levels of homocysteine, which can damage your arteries and increase your chances of heart disease.
How to eat it? Fresh and raw is best! By heating beets you decrease their antioxidant power. Therefore, these beauties are best enjoyed in salads like my Easy & Fast Beets Salad recipe.
Minions love ‘em (see their song about bananas – you wont regret it), so do I and I am sure many of you do too.
Why it is healthy? A medium sized banana has about 400mg of potassium, which helps lower high blood pressure and the risk of a stroke. Bananas are packed with easily digestible carbs that help to fuel your body throughout the day. They also increase dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and tryptophan, which are known to boost your mood and aids sleep.
How to eat it? You can embrace your inner monkey by just peeling the skin and nomming. Or you can make banana ice cream with only one ingredient: banana! How? See my extremely easy 1-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream recipe.
You probably have a tub of berries nestled in a corner of your fridge… Please, fetch it out now and snack on it while you read the below.
Why it is healthy? Berries are some of the best sources of nutrients among fruits as they are both vitamin and mineral rich. Studies have even found berries help turn white fat into calorie burning beige fat. Blueberries in particular have high antioxidant levels, which help fight off free radicals, slow down the ageing process and reduce your risk of cancer!
How to eat it? Rinse the berries you have and enjoy them as a snack. Or chuck them in whatever you want! It is perfect in ice cream, muesli, smoothies or yoghurt… I could go on and on listing, but I am sure you already have your own favourite way of eating berries anyway.
When I was wee kid, I would only eat cinnamon in the form of a cinnamon bun, coated in lots and lots of sugar. I know now though that it is definitely not the best way to eat cinnamon, that is if I want reap the health benefits from this spice!
Why it is healthy? Cinnamon controls your blood sugar, which influences your heart disease risk. Researches have even found that type-2 diabetes sufferers who consumed one gram of cinnamon a day for six weeks reduced their blood sugar, triglycerides and bad cholesterol. This is due to methylhydroxychalcone polymers that are active in cinnamon. It increases your ability to metabolise sugar by up to twenty times.
How to eat it? It is super simple to incorporate this into your diet. Just sprinkle ground cinnamon it into your morning coffee or on porridge.
- Dark Chocolate
I LOVE CHOCOLATE! If you are a chocoholic like me, then you will be glad to know that you can relish this treat without feeling guilty (well, not too guilty), provided you enjoy it in moderation of course.
Why it is healthy? Dark chocolate is packed with flavonoid antioxidants which helps keep the body’s blood platelets from sticking together, and might even unclog arteries. Moreover, dark chocolate might also aid weight loss by reducing those cravings.
How to eat it? The darker the chocolate, is the better for your health. So try to eat dark chocolates with 70% or more cocoa. Why not try baking my Red Wine & Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie? It is a truly decadent superfood-y treat!
- Goji Berries
Goji berries have been used as a medicinal food in Asia for centuries and with good reason!
Why it is healthy? Goji berries have one of the highest antioxidant powers of any fruit. Also, the sugars that make goji berries sweet reduce insulin resistance, which is a risk factor of diabetes (in a test with laboratory rats).
How to eat it? They can be enjoyed dried or fresh, with yoghurt or sprinkled onto porridge, or even on their own as a snack.
I love all types of food that have oats (who can resist flapjacks?), which is a good thing considering all the health benefits oats give you.
Why it is healthy? Oats are rich in complex carbs and fiber, which helps with digestion, boosts metabolism and burns fat. They are also very rich in folate, omega-3 fatty acids potassium and vitamin B. Additionally, studies have shown if you eat a bowl of porridge everyday your blood cholesterol levels will drop.
How to eat it? You can enjoy oats in many ways, but my fave is for breakfast in the form of my Bircher Muesli Brekkie.
- Pumpkin Seeds
A bag of pumpkin seeds are perfect for snacking. I really ought to snack on seeds more than biscuits, especially considering the good these seeds do!
Why it is healthy? You probably wouldn’t think it but the seeds are the most nutritious part of a pumpkin. They are packed with magnesium, which has been found to lower the risk of early death.
How to eat it? Roasted as a snack, sprinkled on salads – whatever way you fancy.
- Red Wine
It took the workload of Law School for me to hit the bottle (I jest… mostly) and start to truly appreciate wine. I occasionally enjoy a glass of red with dinner and fortunately, this guilty pleasure has health benefits to boost.
Why it is healthy? Resveratrol is a polyphenol that is on the skin of red grapes and in red wine. Red wine has mainly been identified for its antioxidant properties and it is believed that the flavonoids helps reduce bad cholesterol and also boosts good cholesterol levels.
How to eat it? Generally as a rule of thumb, the sweeter the wine is, the fewer the flavonoids it holds. So for instance, Cabernet and Pinot Noir are best as they are high in flavonoids, drink them to reap the most health benefits. Alternatively, if you have some wine leftover that you don’t want to drink, combine it with dark chocolate and make my Red Wine & Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Although cooking wine does reduce the effectiveness of its health properties, mixing it with chocolate makes it a treat that is naughty (taste wise) yet nice (to your health).
I have only started using turmeric in my cooking recently. Unfortunately I didn’t know how awesome a spice it was beforehand, but now I sprinkle it over anything I can!
Why it is healthy? Tumeric is a superhero amongst spices! It is an extremely potent antioxidant for removing harmful free radicals from the body. It also has an anti-inflammatory super power, which has been shown to reduce a myriad of afflictions: for instance, the risk of a heart attack and the pain of arthritis. Furthermore, studies have found turmeric aids the brain by creating beneficial hormones, and helps to prevent degenerative conditions like Alzheimers.
How to eat it? A warming bowl of curry is the perfect way to incorporate turmeric into your diet. But you can just as easily sprinkle it onto scrambled eggs or on vegetables, to spice them up.
Simple Super Food Recipes
Bircher Muesli Brekkie
I love making Bircher Muesli for brekkie as you can prep it the night before, which is perfect when I’ve overslept and don’t have enough time to make a proper breakfast, if I still want to make that 10am lecture!
Recipe adapted from: https://iquitsugar.com/recipe/simple-overnight-bircher/
Serves: 1 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes
150g gluten-free oats
300ml almond milk
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons coconut oil
50g pumpkin seeds
1 red apple
50g natural yoghurt
- Soak the oats in a bowl with the milk, salt and vanilla extract, and put it in the fridge overnight.
- Scoop some coconut oil onto a frying pan and toast the ground cinnamon, and seeds in a frying pan, over a low heat, for a few minutes. Leave to cool for a bit and then store until they are needed.
- After hitting your alarm to snooze a few times, wake up and grab the oats from the fridge, grate the apple on top, add a splotch of yoghurt and sprinkle the cinnamon seeds over the top.
Easy & Fast Beets Salad
This is a refreshing salad, which is great as a light snack or as a side dish.
Recipe: my own.
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 minutes
2 large beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice
- Peel the beets and thinly slice using a knife or mandolin.
- Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and lemon juice.
Red Wine & Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie
Mmm… These brownie delights are so sinful yet healthy. So go on, get baking!
Recipe adapted from: http://buttermeupbrooklyn.com/2012/03/red-wine-chocolate-fudge-brownies/
Serves: approx. 24 squares | Prep time: 25 minutes | Bake time: 15 minutes
120g dark chocolate chocolate, chopped
113g butter, chopped
60ml red wine
2 large eggs
100g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
25g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter up an 8×8 pan and then set aside.
- Chuck the chocolate and the butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan with scarcely simmering water. Stirring the mixture occasionally until it has completely melted.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Then stir in the chocolate mixture and pour in the wine. Now add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until the batter has thickened a little and is smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out mostly clean.
- Cool the brownies completely and cut into squares. If you can resist eating them immediately once cool, you can make your brownies even chocolatier, by sprinkling additional cocoa powder on top! Best enjoyed with a glass of red wine.
1-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
It is amazing that you can make a delicious ice cream from just one ingredient! You simply must make this because it is divine.
Recipe: my own.
Serves: 1 | Prep time: 10 minutes
1 large banana
- Slice a very ripe banana into coins and put in a resealable freezer bag and leave overnight.
- The next day place the frozen banana pieces in a small food processor and pulse the frozen banana pieces.
- The bananas will initially look very crumbly, scrape down the food processor and keep pulsing until the mixture looks like a creamy soft serve ice cream.
- Now enjoy, your delicious homemade ice cream. I sometimes eat it straight from the food processor!