Superfoods are the hottest ticket in your quest for health…but what is a superfood? According to Google, a superfood is:
“a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
So quinoa, raw cacao, acai berries, goji berries and spirulina are the only superfoods – right? All of these foods are in fact healthy and good for you but they usually come with a hefty price-tag thanks to the use of that word ‘superfood’. The word superfood has become synonymous with overpriced foods and so we wanted to give you a list of 10 ‘super’ foods you may already have in your fridge or pantry and that won’t cost the earth!
Eggs really are little powerhouses when it comes to their nutritional value. One single egg contains 6% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A, 15% of the RDA of riboflavin (vitamin B2), 9% of vitamin B12 and it also contains calcium, choline, selenium, folate and potassium. Eat your eggs!
Sounds silly having water down as a superfood – right? Well, it isn’t silly really. Do you know how many people simply never think about into the amount of water they are consuming (if any!) per day? It is cheap, easy and we are made up of water, so we need to be hydrated if we want our body to function properly.
Broccoli contains phytochemicals such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, which help to keep your liver detox systems ticking along nicely. As little as half a cup of broccoli contains 56% of the RDA for vitamin K and a whopping 65% of the RDA for vitamin C. Broccoli’s many minerals including calcium, iron, potassium and zinc and it’s a good source of folate. Broccoli really is a little hidden superfood in your fridge!
Pot set yoghurt
Yoghurt is a great way to get additional nutrients and probiotics in your diet if you can tolerate dairy. Make sure to buy yoghurt that is ‘pot set’ – this means that the yoghurt has been allowed to naturally ferment in the pot, which produces the highest count of beneficial bacteria. And don’t fall in the trap of buying the ones that are loaded with sugar and flavours. Stick to a natural flavour and add your own berries and a little honey if you need some sweetener. One cup of natural yoghurt can contain 30% of the RDA for calcium and 20% of the RDA for vitamin B2!
Don’t discount your regular old little tomato in the superfood stakes! Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and cooked tomatoes are a particularly good source of lycopene, which is a brilliant antioxidant. One single cup of cooked tomatoes will give you 91% of the RDA for vitamin C!! They are also a good source of vitamin A.
Who has a tin of sardines hiding in the back of the pantry? I know we always did when I was growing up as a kid. Sardines are a fabulous source of the beneficial omega 3’s – EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are considered essential fatty acids because the human body cannot produce them. They are an essential component in cell membranes, promote a healthy immune response and regulate inflammation. Tinned sardines are also a great source of vitamin D and a single 92 gram tin has 63% of the RDA for vitamin D!
Beef and liver
Beef and liver are great sources of zinc. Zinc is essential to the body and is used in over 200 enzymatic reactions. If you want to have good health – make sure you are getting adequate levels of zinc as it is needed for everything from good digestion to glowing skin. A tiny 100grams of beef will give you 26% of the RDA for zinc.
Fresh or dried herbs
Don’t underestimate herbs as a superfood! They contain large amounts of phytochemicals such as caroteniods, which help to boost the immune system. They are also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – particularly vitamin A and C and manganese. Dried herbs will also add a little extra calcium to your diet.
Foods like garlic (and onion) are rich in sulphur which helps to keep your liver in top shape and assists your phase II liver detox pathway. Garlic also contains allicin which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Get some garlic regularly in your diet if you want to keep the colds at bay.
Lemon is such a versatile food in the kitchen and it also has some impressive nutritional properties. One lemon contains 139% of the RDA for vitamin C and good levels of calcium, copper and vitamin B6. Lemon juice in water is a perfect way to start the morning before breakfast to get the digestive juices going – and this way you are getting two superfoods at once!
The point of this little exercise is to show you the nutritional power of all healthy whole foods. You don’t need to buy expensive hip foods to obtain good health – just stick to the real, whole foods. They are all superfoods in their own right and you can be eating them every day.
RDA for foods was obtained using Nutrition Data – http://nutritiondata.self.com/
Shi, J, Le Maguer, 2000, Lycopene in tomatoes: chemical and physical properties affected by food processing, Crit Rev Biotecnology, 20(4):293-334.
Ankri, S, Mirleman, D, 1999, Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic, Microbes Infect, Feb;1(2):125-9