13 Superfoods that everyone ignores
-Jan 6, Hannah Hargrave , Nutrition -
The likes of blueberries, broccoli, spinach and salmon have earned their place on the superheroes list of superfoods. But there are a whole host of other great edibles which work wonders for the body too. Here are just some of the overlooked heroes of the superfood world.
Superfoods have long been touted as foods which can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, from heart disease to cancer. These real, unprocessed foods have a wealth of health benefits and the great news is there are more of them out there than you may realise.
This radish-like-root is native to Peru but should find its way into your food cupboards wherever you are. Maca has been used both as traditional medicine and food. It’s known for not only being a powerful fertility booster but for it’s energising properties too.
Maca is packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, amino acids and fibre. It’s especially good for the cardiovascular system and you can buy it in powder or concentrate.
Amaranth sounds more like a gemstone than a food, but it’s actually a gluten-free cereal grain. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful antioxidant too. As if that wasn’t enough, amaranth improves cardiovascular health, bone density and lowers bad cholesterol as well.
Amaranth porridge is a great way to start your day!
Sauerkraut often gets overlooked with people favouring other fermented foods for probiotics such as kimchi or yoghurt. But this pickled cabbage can not only be delicious but seriously good for you in so many ways. In addition to strengthening the immune system, probiotics also aid digestion and reduce allergy symptoms.
Sauerkraut is also loaded with essential nutrients including fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium and potassium too.
Looking for a low calorie drink, loaded with nutrients and beneficial to the body? Look no further than cactus water from the prickly pear cactus. The beverage is a fantastic source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, electrolytes, protein and minerals.
Drinking cactus water has been shown to reduce inflammation, better the cardiovascular and digestive systems, boost immunity and keep you regular as well.
Seaweed is the generic term for a group of plants and algae which grow in the oceans, rivers and other large bodies of water. There are many varieties but the most common, including sea lettuce, nori and kelp are nutrient dense and many are powerful antioxidants too.
Its name sounds like it means business. Cordyceps are a caterpillar fungus, which we know doesn’t sound so appealing. But taken in a capsule we can assure you they taste of very little. Cordyceps made headlines in 1993 at the Asian Olympic games when a pair of Chinese runners broke two world records by massive margins. Everyone thought they had taken performance enhancing drugs, but they had only had perfectly legal cordyceps.
This amazing mushroom has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, protect the kidneys, improve heart health, combat fatigue and enhance libido too.
Add some beetroot to your salad, smoothie or even take a beetroot supplement because they are so good for you. Beetroots contain antioxidants and are a great source of iron, magnesium and natural folic acid. They have been shown to help lower blood pressure and are packed to their purple rafters with vitamins and minerals.
Okra is an underrated vegetable which perhaps gets a bad rep because more often than not it’s deep fried. But when prepped in a health manner okra – which is also known as bhindi, lady fingers or bamboo – is very good for you. It has high levels of fibre, contains magnesium, zinc and potassium as well as vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K.
It reduces cholesterol – so in turn protects your heart – boosts the immune system, protects your vision, lowers blood sugar and relieves constipation and bloating.
You can get your barley boost by drinking it. There’s so much goodness from barley it’s difficult to know where to start. Due to its high levels of vitamin C, manganese, copper and iron it helps improve the immune system.
It’s also great for your heart as it lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Barley can also aid digestion and on top of that it gives you glowing skin!
Pineapple is so much more than just a sweet treat. The spiky fruit has high levels of the inflammation fighting enzyme bromelain. The magnesium it contains will help you sleep – which we know has huge health benefits – not to mention they’re a great source of antioxidants. Just one serving of pineapple will also deliver your daily dose of vitamin C that boosts your immunity.
Cacao nibs can easily be mistaken for chocolate chips which makes them instantly desirable to those with a sweet tooth. But they are actually seeds from the cacao tree, which produces the bean from which we make chocolate and cocoa.
They are high in antioxidants, great sources of iron, fibre and calcium and they can naturally boost your mood and energy as well.
Gooseberries have more than twice the antioxidants of acai and yet they’re not nearly as commonly touted as a superfood. These little, nutritious fruits are a great addition to a healthy diet. They’re highly nutritious and the antioxidants, including phytonutrients and vitamins C aide in protecting the body from heart disease, cancer and diabetes and also boost brain power.
Walnuts and almonds often get a mention when the word superfood comes up but pecan doesn’t always make the cut. And yet this nut is extremely high in antioxidants. They are however high in calories too, so eat them in moderation to keep your weight healthy.