Wednesday, 6 April 2016

SUPERFOODS? Giving into the hype?

 "A non-medical term popularized in the media to refer to foods that can have health-promoting properties such as reducing one's risk of disease or improving any aspect of physical or emotional health. So-called superfoods may have an unusually high content of antioxidants, vitamins, or other nutrients." -

One of the biggest new 'trends' of 2016 has got to be the fascination with everything health related and the whole topic of superfoods. Are they just a hype? Are they really as beneficial as they are broadcasted to be? These are just a few of the questions that are circulating around the internet recently. In my opinion it is not just about the foods that are seen as 'superfoods' but focusing on getting as much whole foods as I can into my daily life. The whole concept of discovering all these new whole foods and their benefits is a huge interest of mine, I enjoy opening up my mind to new discoveries and really broadening my knowledge on nutrition. I have mentioned just a few of the 'superfoods' which I incorporate into my everyday life.

"Your health is your wealth"

Fruit are an everyday staple for me. The no 1 thing I do every day is to make sure I get enough fruit as It is perfect as a snack between meals or if you are craving something sugary to really kick those cravings to the curb. They are perfect topping on porridge, yogurt granola bowls, smoothie bowls and of course they are a necessity for my favourite superfood smoothies. I also like to have some fruit with my lunches as I like to have variety with my meals and include all food groups such as protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Berries are a great superfood. They contain great amounts of fibre. Fibre is a problem with most people in today’s society as they don’t get enough of it, it is vital for a healthy and happy digestive system. My favourite berries that I use throughout the week in a variety of ways include;
    •  Raspberries have 8 grams of fibre per cup used and also contain ellagic acid which is an acid with anti-cancerous properties.
    •  Blueberries are amazing as they have several health benefits, they are a great source of antioxidants and are also great at protecting you from premature aging. They also have inflammatory properties which help with intestinal conditions. Blueberries are also much known for helping people keep their memory sharp as they age. 
Apples are a great source of soluble fibre. Apples are a great for lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels. They of course contain vitamin C which is well needed in these cold winter months especially as well as throughout the whole year. Vitamin also helps form the connective tissue collagen, keeps your capillaries and other blood cells healthy and also aids in the absorption of iron. Apples are a great on the go snack and are so easy to pop into your bag for a time where you feel peckish and you don’t want yourself grabbing a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps.
Bananas are great for thickening up smoothies and are the perfect accompaniment as toppings on your breakfasts. Loaded with potassium they are an amazing super fruit. Potassium can lower your blood pressure and is one of the highest fruits which contain Resistant Starch, a healthy carbohydrate that fills you up and keeps you fuller for longer. It also boosts your metabolism.

Green Vegetables
Consuming a variety and high amounts of green vegetables is one of the best things you could do to change up your lifestyle and it has the most amazing benefits for your body. Green vegetables are well known for their high fibre content and they are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants including beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Sulforaphane. They also provide folate which lowers your risk of heart disease and cancer by slowing down wear and tear on your DNA. Vegetables are a staple of my dinners every day. It is key for me to have well balanced meals throughout the day, having a variety of vegetables really does make you enjoy it more and using spices is the most perfect way to really create that love for vegetables and helps with including them in more and more meals.

Broccoli was definitely one of those vegetables that I hated as a child but I found as I started to change up what I ate and started to eat a lot more whole foods that my taste buds just almost expanded and I enjoy a lot more food which I disliked a lot previous. Broccoli is a great source of fibre. This also results in lowering cholesterol levels. It also has a great impact on your body’s detoxification system, it activates and eliminates the unwanted nasties in your body. It contains high levels of Vitamin A(beta-carotene) and Vitamin K. I love having boiled and roasted broccoli with my dinner as it can be paired with any dish.

Spinach is great for bulking up your salads and including in many dishes from omelettes, curry’s, tomato based sauces such as Bolognese, soups, quiches etc. I also love adding spinach to my superfood smoothies as it is an easy way to get in those greens. Spinach is widely available all year round so it is a vital vegetable to be included in the weekly shopping list. We all know of Popeye’s great love for spinach and how it made him super strong but that is not the only benefit of spinach.
It is also well known for restoring energy levels and improving the quality of blood in the body. The main reason for this is that it is a great source of Iron, Irons main role is the function of the red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Spinach has high levels of Vitamin K, A C and also folic acid.

Sweet Potato
I only stated incorporating sweet potato into my lifestyle over the past 2/3 months as I never really reached for it when out shopping and when I did I never really knew what to do with it as from previous experience I could never get that ‘Crispy’ outside. But I found the technique after some trial and error and I am now addicted. Sweet potatoes are an amazing source of Vitamin A(beta-carotene), 1 medium sized potato provides you with over 4 times the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A. Vitamin C which of course helps fight off flu’s and colds and Vitamin B6 which helps with reducing the risk of heart problems. They are also a great source of Vitamin D which we Irish people don’t get a lot of from the sun as it is non-existent a lot of the time. Vitamin D plays a vital role in restoring energy levels and helps with our healthy bones and teeth.
Nuts are a great source of unsaturated fat. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are great for maintaining a healthy heart and improving your mood. Nuts are also packed full of protein which of course is vital for healthy bones and muscle repair. They are also a fantastic source of fibre which leads to a healthy digestive system. Nuts are perfect as breakfast toppings and are also great as an on the go snack which you can just pack in your handbag for any times when you’re feeling peckish or in need or a ‘pick me up’. My favourite nuts which I am constantly restocking are almonds which are rich in calcium and high in Vitamin E which is great for healthy and clear skin. Walnuts are known as the superior nut as they are full of antioxidants and contain a high amount of anti-cancerous properties. They also contain a lot of mono-unsaturated fats which are known as ‘heart-friendly’ fats which lower the risk of bad cholesterol. Lastly but by no means least are Hazelnuts, a great source of folate and amino acids which are a great contributor to a healthy heart. DO NOT be afraid of nuts as they are HEALTHY fats which are vital for the overall functioning of the body and for healthy hair and skin. They are not the same fats you find in chocolate bars and crisps.

Chia Seeds
You might not think it but chia seeds are something which everyone should be adding to their meals. Chia seeds absorb up to ten times their weight in any liquid. This liquid may be water or milk or a milk substitute. In just 2/3 teaspoons they contain over 10g of fibre and a whopping 5g of protein. Per gram of chia seeds contains 6 times more calcium than that in milk, an outstanding 8 times more Omega-3 than salmon and a mind blowing 15 times more magnesium than broccoli. They are the perfect addition to any meal no matter if it’s for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. As a breakfast, it is a great addition to porridge, smoothies and also the creation of chia pudding in which you simple just add 200ml of milk/milk substitute to 2 tbsp of chia seeds. For my lunches and dinner, I simple just add them to stir-fry’s or any sauces I make or simple just sprinkle some on top of your dishes. Do not underestimate the power of the chia seed.
I am a true lover of oats. My favourite breakfast of all time has to be porridge as it fills me up for a long period of time and it is also a well-balanced meal. I love experimenting with flavours and toppings and this also adds to the nutritional content of my oats as I am always adding nuts which provide me with some healthy fats and I love topping all my breakfast meals with chia seeds which add to the protein content. Fruits are a must for me with most breakfast as I always seem to crave fruit in the morning. Oats contain a particular type of fibre known as beta-glucan. This fibre is great for lowering cholesterol levels. Oats contain a more soluble fibre than other grains such as pasta and rice which in turn will lead to a slower digestion and as a result keeps you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer. Believe it or not oats are a great source of protein. This type of protein is called ‘avenalin’ which can be found in many vegetables. Oats are very high in Vitamins and Minerals. Just a few to mention are Manganese (development and growth), Phosphorus (bone health), Vitamin B1/Thiamine, Iron (transportation of oxygen in the blood) and also Zinc (overall health).
Greek Yogurt
I usually have Greek yogurt every second day if not daily, it is great for breakfast and also to eat as a snack with some delicious toppings. Of course it is well known as a great source of calcium. Calcium is a must for healthy bones and teeth.  It is also a great source of potassium, zinc and Vitamins B6 and B12. What I love most about Greek Yogurt is its excellent source of protein, it contains twice the amount of protein than regular yogurts. This makes it perfect for anyone who finds it hard to get some protein into their daily intake and also for people who work out and are looking for a great post workout meal, adding Greek yogurt to that meal would provide you with a great source of protein which is essential especially after a workout to build back up your muscle tissue and repairing any fibre damage caused while working out. Greek yogurt nutritional values can vary from brand to brand but they usually are all within the same nutritional values. The Greek yogurt which I purchase is Libertè or Glenisk. The difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurts is of course the texture, Greek yogurt is a thicker and creamier consistency and it also contains probiotic benefits, which in turn is great for the digestive system and is lower in lactose than any other regular yogurts.
Spices are a necessity for me as I put them on everything from my chicken, fish, meat and most importantly my vegetables. The perfect way to add some flavour to vegetables is with spices. I like to add a variety of spices to all my meals as they contain massive amounts of minerals and they also make the introduction of more vegetables into your meals easy.
Chili: Vitamin C, fighting infection, help reduce muscle pain and aids digestion.
Paprika: Vitamin A and E, great source of Iron, carotenoids which can delay the deterioration of your eyesight.
Cinnamon: Aids Digestion, balances blood sugar levels, an amazing antioxidant.
Mixed Herbs: Anti-Inflammatory, improves bone density, antibacterial properties, reduces blood pressure.
Rosemary: Boots memory, relieves stress, helps with concentration levels, antioxidant.
Thyme: Antibacterial, antimicrobial, reduce blood pressure.
Turmeric: Anti-Inflammatory, antioxidant, relief from Arthritis and Cystic Fibrosis, improved liver function.

I hope ye enjoyed this different yet exciting blogpost, I am thrilled to finally start this new direction in the blog. 

Love Rouxella x

1 comment:

  1. I've always wondered if superfoods actually do anything but I've still bought into the hype and eat a few of them on a regular basis. Annoyingly, I'm such a fussy eater so I hate 99% of the superfoods which means I have to hide them from myself. Blueberries will be cut up into small pieces and placed in a fruit salad, sweet potatoes will be chopped incredibly finely and covered in a sauce and I have to munch broccoli very quickly. It's all very time consuming but hopefully worth it in the end.

    Raise The Waves