Now I have a passion for food, I absolutely love it. But I am finding, now more than ever, that there is so much ‘fashionable’ food around that I am being assured I should be eating for its health benefits, ‘superfood’ characteristics or simply because everyone else is eating it! Is any of this fad food really all it’s cracked up to be? I decided to find out.
Chia is ridiculously high in fibre, calcium, omega-3’s, magnesium, iron, antioxidants and more. They swell so help you feel fuller for longer and are a great source of easily digestible protein; great if you’re on a diet, trying to build muscle or are pregnant. Best thing about them is they have a GI of 1 and can lower the GI of other foods! Let some soak in water for a half hour before dinner and add a couple of tablespoons of the resulting gel to your mash potato, (GI up to 95). This will reduce the GI by up to half, incredible!
Maca is a great one for us girls as it is believed to help to stabilise hormones, alleviate menstrual and menopause symptoms, boost libido, balance moods, boost energy and stamina, help acne prone skin, is chock full of vitamins and iron and boosts your immune system. What more could a girl ask for?
These berries are one of the world’s richest known sources of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin, which helps to reduce cholesterol, protect against free radicals and disease and slow down the effects of aging. Plant sterols in acai improve blood circulation by relaxing blood vessels and the fruit is known for helping improve acne, soothing inflammation from allergies and being a great energy booster. Wow!
This little beauty is hailed as one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. It has zero fat, minimal calories, heaps of fibre, is full of cancer fighting antioxidants, chock full of vitamins, helps lower cholesterol and it has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. What’s not to love about all of that?
Even though a lot of people think Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a grain it is in actual fact a seed and is completely gluten free. It is great for diabetics as it eats like a grain keeping you full, but has a low GI so will not spike blood sugar. It is also high in fibre for a healthy bowel and the antioxidant manganese which fights signs of aging. It is great for vegetarians as it is rich in iron and protein and it even helps lower cholesterol.
Not cocoa! Another ‘superfood’ we all hear a lot about and who doesn’t want to hear that chocolate is good for us? But we’re not talking a block of Cadbury here, we’re talking raw cacao powder. Cacao is cold pressed and unroasted where as cocoa is heat treated which kills all the good stuff in it. Raw cacao has been shown to lower insulin resistance, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, fight aging, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, protect your nervous system and guard against toxins and cell damage and its packed full of vitamins and minerals! Great reasons to get into some raw chocolate, we love this one in our house!
A microscopic blue green spiral shaped algae, sounds appetizing huh? Well it may not sound yummy but it’s very good for your health. It is often used as a supplement for people who don’t get enough vegetables in their diet, but is also great for pregnant women, rapidly growing teenagers, vegetarians, athletes or anyone whose body has high nutrient requirements. Spirulina has 3-4 times the protein of beef or fish and lots of vitamins, particularly those lacking from a vegetarian diet. It also contains a large variety of minerals and 5 times the beta carotene of carrots which protects cells from damage. It is also great for those on a diet as it contains all the nutrients you need, curbs your appetite and with so much protein, helps you feel full. It has more nutrients than any other plant, grain or herb!
If any of these sound like they could benefit your family, then I highly recommend doing some research of your own, even popping into your local health food shop to ask a few questions. If you do decide to try them out make sure you are getting a good quality product that is ethically sourced and produced. The health industry is full of cowboys so you want to ensure your getting the good stuff!