Super Foods is a common term floating in and around the health food scene at the moment. So I am here to tell you exactly what a Super Food is, as well as give you an insight into my 8 Best Super Foods and why.
Super foods are given this name primarily based on their superior nutritional profile. Generally, in order for a food to be classified as “super”, it is exceptionally nutritionally dense per serve and regular consumption is associated with a variety of health benefits. Some Super Foods are high in anti-oxidants (acai), assist with weight loss and digestion (coconut oil), have anti-cancer properties (kale) or are a complete source of protein (quinoa). Super foods are a wonderful and easy addition to everyone’s diets.
Coconut oil has a range of positive health benefits. It assists with digestion and gut health, gradual weight loss, immune function, liver detoxification as well as curbing sugar cravings. Use coconut oil as a substitute for cooking oil, add a teaspoon to smoothies for health benefits and to shallow fry ingredients. Organic cold pressed coconut oil is our preferred kind, which can be purchased at most health food stores.
The chia seed has rapidly become the staple seed in our diet. With celebrities such as Kelly Slater raving about the health benefits, chia seeds a readily available on the shelves of major super markets and health food stores. With high levels of Omega 3 and dietary fibre, chia seeds can be added to smoothies, chia pudding and used in baking.
The Acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry grows on a particular type of palm tree (known as the Tree of Life) in the Brazilian Amazon and on the coast of Columbia. We buy it here in the form of an organic freeze dry powder, which has a potent berry smell and taste. Acai is a potent anti-oxidant, full of mono-saturated fats (the good fat), dietary fiber and promotes skin and intestinal health.
Add it to smoothies, home made bars, energy balls etc. to boost the nutritional profile and for the distinctive intense berry flavor.
Hemp seeds are rich in omega 3, omega 6 and essential fatty acids. They are also an excellent source of protein and fiber. They are a wonderful addition to salads, smoothies and to sprinkle over breakfast bowls to increase the nutritional profile. They have a subtle, yet nutty flavor.
Bee Pollen assists the body with many vital functions, including digestion and immune function. As well as this, it has been linked to anti-ageing, longevity and is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and important enzymes. It is also an excellent supplement for vegetarians, as it contains all 8 essential amino acids, which is usually supplied through meat and dairy, which therefore, makes it an ideal food source.
Sprinkle it over fruit salad, your morning cereal, or on the top of smoothies for a daily dose. It adds a delicious sweetness, plus gives you a solid quantity of nutrients to boost start your day.
Cacao Powder/ Nibs
Cacao is chocolate in its most un-processed form. It is full of magnesium, antioxidants and promotes a healthy liver, hair and skin. It can be purchased in either a powdered form or in nibs. Add it to smoothies for a guilt free chocolate hit, as well as in raw brownies and raw mousse for a decadent flavor and to boost the nutritional profile.
The humble Kale has been labeled the Super Food of 2013. It has been a staple of many diets for years and is part of the cabbage family. Known for its high level of iron, magnesium and potent anti-oxidants, kale can be used in the kitchen in a number of ways. Bake it to make crispy kale chips, sautee it to have in salads, or have it raw in smoothies.
Quinoa is a grain and a great substitute for rice, pasta and an excellent addition to salads. It contains all of the essential amino acids, making it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians along with numerous other essential vitamins and minerals. Quinoa can be used in breakfast dishes (quinoa porridge or bircher), or in savory dishes. Available at most supermarkets and health food stores, quinoa is a staple of every health foodies diet.