You are what you eat, so pack your meals with superfoods to make the healthier choice!
It’s no secret that superfoods can help you can eat yourself to good health, while the wrong kind of foods can leave you feeling a bit meh… (post-lunch carb crash, anyone?). What is eye-opening, though, is this latest study published by the medical journal The Lancet, which says if we clean up our eating habits, we’ll be well on the way to a longer and happier life!
You may think the problem is what we’re eating (bucketloads of processed foods, sugary drinks and massive plates of refined carbs), but spin that on its head and the issue is also what we aren’t eating. Is your family getting enough whole grains, fruits and veggies, essential fatty acids, and a variety of vitamins and minerals? Now the age old saying, “you are what you eat” is truer than ever. So swipe through our slideshow to read about the foods your family should eat to stay happy and healthy.
Seaweed is loaded with vitamin K, B12, minerals, antioxidants, calcium, iron and vitamin C (which helps absorb iron). The fibres in it help maintain the balance of the gut flora and are excellent for warding off heart disease and even certain cancers. Its best-known advantage though is the remarkable source nutrient that’s absent from almost every other food item – iodine. Seaweed also contains certain trace elements which are not found in food grown on land. For example, fucoidan, which is a type of carb with antiviral properties.
But mamas, before you replace your noodles with a bowl of seaweed salad, here’s a disclaimer: there are around 10,000 varieties of edible seaweed and some of them can be “excessively” healthy. For example, in less than two tablespoons, arame seaweed can fulfil your daily requirement of iodine, and while too little iodine can cause a malfunctioning thyroid, too much of it isn’t good either. Some types of seaweed are extremely high in potassium and vitamin K and excessive amounts can interfere with blood thinning medication. The nori variety, which is used to make sushi, has considerably low amounts of iodine; so go ahead and enjoy a few rolls.
Think salmon, sardines, mackerel. They’re all dense in nutrients essential for boosting brain health! Omega 3s, B6 and B12 all support the good functioning of the nervous system. Add in some iron, dollops of protein and choline (a lesser known vitamin needed to make memories), and there really is a lot to be said for including fish in your diet. Research suggests that eating it regularly, just once or twice a week, can cut down your risk of Alzheimer’s by a whopping 70%. But that’s not all. The carotenoids present in these fish have amazing anti-ageing properties. So much cheaper than a facelift!
Go for wild salmon instead of the farmed variety to minimise the environmental concerns, water and chemical pollution linked with fish. For vegans and vegetarians, good alternatives of omega 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds and even avocados.
Obsessed with protein in your diet? Go tofu, tempeh, edamame or soy milk. These pack as much protein as red meat; in fact, a portion of mature sprouted soybeans has more protein than a chicken breast of the same serving size.
For a long time, soy has been shrouded in the myth that the plant oestrogen present in it promotes breast cancer in women. Research has now found that it’s actually quite the opposite. It has this unique property of killing cancer cells by starving them, reducing the possible risk of breast and prostate cancers, as well as heart disease.
Not all fat is bad! Nut oils are a smart way to amp up food flavours with a dash of nutrients. Head to the oil aisle and take your pick between the many varieties of almond, peanut, walnut or macadamia oil – all are dense in omega 3s and 6s, high in monounsaturated fat content (found in plant foods) and offer plenty of flavour. So cook, bake or drizzle a dollop of nut oil on your latte or salad.
Physicians believe the underlying cause of most diseases today could be down to inflammation. Among others, it can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, digestive failure and arthritis.
Bok Choy or the Chinese cabbage contains more than 70 antioxidant substances and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Same goes for spinach, kale and other leafy greens – they are powerhouses of folates, omega 3s and flavonoids – all essential for boosting your brain health and reducing inflammation in the body.
Do PMS-induced bloating and headaches make you curl up all day? Put Mother Nature in her place and snack on a handful of pumpkin seeds and watermelon seeds. We’ve always known that watermelons are a versatile superfood but its seeds also have a healthy dose of fibre, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and folates. Sprouted watermelon seeds are even more nutritious. While the magnesium in pumpkin seeds can ease up your blood vessels, fight off cravings and even lessen headaches.
This centuries-old Indian spice is having a major global movement. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and medicinal properties have given it wonder spice status. So fix yourself a turmeric latte to flush out toxins and boost your immune system, or slather on a DIY honey and turmeric face mask for smoother, brighter and tighter skin.
Curcumin, an active bioactive ingredient in turmeric, is a very strong antioxidant which helps fight free radicals by reducing inflammation and improving blood circulation (free radicals basically kill healthy cells to make you sick). Curcumin tablets are already being explored by doctors in cancer treatment; certain studies indicate high doses of curcumin can aid in the reduction of the growth of cancerous tumours at the molecular level.
Leaky gut, weak immune system or frequent joint pain? This new, trendy food is creating a buzz for all the right reasons. It’s loaded with calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and even collagen – the protein which makes your skin look youthful and plump. The glucosamine content in bone broth keeps the cartilage between the joints in mint condition and even prevents osteoarthritis. While the high mineral content ensures a strong immune system, the magnesium and calcium content also keeps your bones strong.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of zuzyusa via Pixabay, image 2 courtesy of Wow_Pho via Pixabay, image 3 courtesy of rawpixel via Pixabay, image 4 courtesy of Rabbixel via Pixabay, image 5 courtesy of allisonwiseman via Pixabay, image 6 courtesy of april197707180 via Pixabay, image 7 courtesy of Steve Buissinne from Pixabay, image 8 courtesy of RitaE via Pixabay.