Superfoods – fact or fiction?

1 Feb

superfoods2

 

Nearly every exotic fruit and vegetable these days are being touted by the media as the next ‘superfood’, and I have absolutely no problem with this.

In a time where obesity and disease are on the rise – I praise anything that draws attention to eating real food. The kind that only nature can create, that is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Why would I disapprove of a word that points to broccoli for its anti-cancer causing abilities and takes the spotlight away from the latest McDonalds meal deal?

I do believe that just as there are a handful of genetically blessed group of individuals in the world (I’m looking at you Elle, Cindy and Helena), there are also a group of superior superfoods (higher in nutrients, cancer fighting agents etc) that have the one up over the old potato – actually the potatoes are very high in potassium but moving on.

Below are a list of my favourites  that really pack a punch, and you may be surprised to learn that not all of them hail from far off corners in the world. There may even be one or two sitting in your fridge unbeknownst to you, holding super (health) powers.

Some of my ‘common’ favourite include:

Broccoli: this unfashionable cruciferous  vege needs to be resurrected as it is high in antioxidants, fibre, folate and is also well-known for its cancer-preventing powers.

Did you know veggies from the cruciferous family (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale etc) contain compounds called glucosinolates, which convert into isothiocyanates (ITCs) when you chew them and break the cell walls. ITCs are compounds with proven anti-cancer activities. They remove carcinogens, kill cancer cells, and prevent tumours from growing? Amazing!!

Kale: Seems kale was on every superfood must have list in 2012 but with good reason. It is powered with essential vitamins and minerals and is fantastic for your skin and can slow premature ageing.. A recent Harvard study finds that cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, may protect against bladder cancer. It’s one of the most common cancers in this country, and affects two to three times as many men as women. Scientists analyzed the diets of nearly 50,000 men and discovered that those who ate five servings or more per week of cruciferous veggies were half as likely to develop bladder cancer over a ten-year period as men who rarely ate them. And broccoli and cabbage were singled out as the most protective foods.

Berries: best known for their anti-aging effects and high in antioxidants. Also a great option when watching your weight as lower in sugar than most fruits.

Wild salmon: contains lots of vitamin D and selenium for healthy hair, skin, nails and bones and rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Turmeric:  I predict turmeric will be the next big thing. It contains curcumin, a phytochemical that has been shown in laboratory studies to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and suppress tumor blood vessel growth (angiogenesis). Win!

Tomatoes: high in lycopene, full of micronutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that work together in a way that can ward off cancer, heart disease and other ailments. Scientific studies have shown that the more tomatoes you eat, the better. Cooking tomatoes is best of all because simmering them along with some heart-healthy oil, like olive oil, makes it even easier for the body to absorb all of the beneficial properties.

Basil: Holy Basil could be the latest weapon in the war against wrinkles, according to new research.
Containing anti-ageing antioxidants that help to protect against free radicals, cancer-causing chemicals that attack organs like the heart, liver and brain and damage nerve cells. According to the Telegraph, Dr Shinde said: ‘The study validates the traditional use of herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level.’

Other house hold staples which hold super properties include:

Green tea: high in antioxidants.

Brazil nuts: high in selenium.

Natural yoghurt: contains good bacteria to fight bad bacteria.

Eggs: are a compact package of nutrition that provides every vitamin except vitamin C.

And the more ‘exotic’ awards goes to…

Chia Seeds: rich is essential fatty acids, antioxidants, fibre, High source of protein with all the essential amino acids, Rich plant source of iron (3 times more than spinach, Rich source of calcium, and has higher bioavailability than milk, which means that you could be absorbing more calcium from a tablespoon of chia than you do from a glass of milk. Read my full post on it here

Acaí: This South American fruit has been gaining immense popularity across the world for some of its excellent health benefits. Scientists today are still discovering all the wonderful things that the Açaí berry can do such as makes the immune system stronger, slows down the aging process, regulates the levels of cholesterol in the body, improves circulation and functioning of the heart, reduces inflammation, detoxifies the body.

Maca – Maca is typically found in the Andes, at a high location where the land is barren and weather conditions extreme. These harsh conditions could probably be the reason why the maca root is chockfull of nutrients which makes it a highly valued superfood. It is said to increases stamina and libido, helps the endocrine system function properly, thereby eliminating hormonal imbalances, lowers anemia and alleviates menstrual discomfort and cramps, rich source of fatty acids and sterols (and many more).

For extra reading on some supplement ‘superfoods’ check out

Vital Greens  here

Chlorophyll  here .  Love love love.

For more posts on health, fitness and wellbeing from Lee @  Fitness In The City check out Facebook here , twitter here and Instagram: fitnessinthecity_

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