There has been so much about Superfoods these past few years; but what really are they? Technically, they´re described as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”. Many might assume that superfoods are rare, exotic, expensive and found in specialist shops. But superfoods are (luckily for us) all around us – and can even be found in your local corner shop or supermarket! Here are 6 of the top ones, shared by Nutritionist and Chef, Juliette Bryant.
Helping You Breathe Easier
An apple is an ideal snack; easy to carry, tasty to eat and bursting with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect against cancer and heart disease. High levels of soluble fibre cleanse the colon, help rebuild the gut lining and remove cholesterol from the digestive tract. Apples are a great natural remedy to support the respiratory tract helping asthma and other chest problems.
Fuelling Your Day
Beetroot contains an assortment of essential vitamins and minerals. As a purple food it has powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanins that assist detoxification and regulate the immune system. Beetroot contains compounds that increase memory, energy levels and help the body process sugar more effectively. Beetroot is the best natural source of betain, which specifically helps cleanse the liver, helping remove bad estrogen and balances the hormonal system.
Keeping You Young
Cabbage a superfood? You bet! Kale and broccoli get a lot of publicity and I would say that cabbage is just as good for you. It is an excellent source of vitamins and essential minerals. Cabbage juice is an ancient remedy for rejuvenation and healing and cabbages have the highest level of beneficial bacteria of any vegetable. The high levels of glucosinolates flush out your system, support the liver and helps lower cholesterol. Cabbage is an excellent source of L-glutamine, which increases the health of the gut mucosa.
Warding Off Bugs
One of the most powerful plant medicines for keeping the physical body healthy, garlic is easy to grow and cheap to buy. It is one of nature’s top antibiotics with 39 known antibiotic compounds. It helps convert LDL (bad) cholesterol into HDL (good). It has anti-parasitical, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, immune boosting and blood cleansing properties. It also regulates blood pressure and improves circulation, especially to the heart.
Keeping You Trim
Despite their acidic taste lemons have an alkalising effect on the body. Their antibacterial and antibiotic qualities make lemons effective as a cleaner for the body and the home. High in vitamin C, great for treating colds, flu and sore throat they contain limonin, which is a potent anti-carcinogen. Lemons also lower cholesterol and a compound, kaempferol, is known to be a powerful protector against cancer.
Bringing You Peace
Hippocrates, ‘the father of modern medicine’ built the world’s first hospital close to a stream so he could grow watercress for his patients. The ‘bite’ in its taste has antibiotic properties without damaging gut flora. Raw greens such as watercress, lettuce and rocket promote calm and are stress-busting as high levels of chlorophyll break down cortisol (the stress hormone).
Simple, everyday foods can have a very powerful effect in supporting our health and wellbeing. However, how you prepare foods and what ingredients you combine them with is as important as the foods themselves. Juliette´s advice is when possible eat organic, fresh and raw. Take inspiration from all the wonderful recipe books and blogs out there to turn simple ingredients into delicious, and nutritious foods.