I’m a huge advocate for healthy eating and fuelling our bodies with the most nutrient rich superfoods we can. I believe poor diets are the number one cause of illness and disease across the world, particularly the rise in type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Most day to day illnesses such as coughs and colds can also be avoided if our immune systems are tip-top and ready to fight any virus that tries to infect our bodies.
I eat as much fruit and veg each day as I can and top up my nutrients with superfoods and supplements. Both me and my husband Ben have avoided all colds, coughs and flu viruses so far this winter. I didn’t get one last winter either and I’m certain the reason Ben hasn’t yet this year is because his diet has improved massively since last year. He’d pretty much eating what I eat and to my shock-horror he’s even done a sort of Veganuary and is continuing! I say a sort of Veganuary as I still eat honey and eggs from our garden chickens. I don’t eat meat, dairy, refined sugar or alcohol. So I’m not a vegan, but pretty close. I don’t want or need animals to be killed for me.
I’m always excited to learn about new superfoods and eat a bunch of them on a regular daily basis. Here are five of my favourite nutrient rich superfoods that are easy to incorporate into your weekly diet, if not daily:
I buy a big bag of organic spinach every week and we use it in a variety of ways. The easiest way to consume a big handful, or two, is to add to a smoothie in the morning. I have a Nutri Ninja smoothie machine which has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I’ve had it for a few years and it still runs good as new blitzing up a huge cupful of fruit, veg and water into a delicious smooth smoothie in a few seconds flat. We also chuck a handful of spinach into a pan of wholegrain pasta with chopped veg. It wilts down and the kids don’t even notice they are eating it with their favourite pasta dish. Add to the top of heated flatbreads with tomato puree and Mediterranean veg for a delicious dairy-free pizza. Spinach is so versatile and can be used in hot meals, cold meals, sandwiches, salads, soups and smoothies. It’s super easy to add this superfood to your daily diet.
‘Spinach is an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable. It contains high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium.’ Healthline
I always want to say Quin-O-ah, but it’s actually pronounced Keen-wah. Over the past couple of years I’ve seen this grain all over the place on restaurant menus and in supermarket salads. We have a big jar of the dry grain at home and I regularly add it to my homemade soups. It’s also delicious by itself in place of rice or with a dash of olive oil and some stir-fried veg both hot and cold the next day. It is more expensive than your regular grains, but it’s packed full of so many nutrients it’s worth it.
‘Quinoa is one of the most nutrient-dense carbs available today. It’s got a whopping six grams of protein per cup and is the only carb source that contains all nine essential amino acids.’ WebMD
Quinoa is also packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It’s non-GMO and gluten free.
This was probably one of the first superfoods I tried when I started getting into all things super healthy. I originally purchased powders, but I just don’t like the taste! It has that strong distinct fishy seaweed smell and it tastes just as powerful as it smells. I could handle small amounts in smoothies and soups for example, but only if the taste was disguised. I still have it in smoothies every week as it’s included in a Total Greens mix I get from Nutriseed, but I no longer buy the standalone powder. Instead I take 5-10 spirulina tablets every morning to get my seaweed fix! I buy Rainforest Foods Spirulina tablets, usually from eBay as they’re cheapest there. They are certified organic and you get 300 per pack which will last 1-2 months. They’re the best value organic ones I’ve found so far so I’ve stuck with them.
If you’re wondering why on earth we want to eat this weird smelling algae, here are some reasons why:
- Packed with protein
- Rich in beta carotene
- Rich in iron
- Full of vitamins and minerals, in fact it contains over 100 nutrients
- Great for healthy skin
- Gives you energy, but real energy, not fake energy like coffee!
- High in essential fatty acids
- It’s the only known source of phycocyanin; an antioxidant which is known for its cancer fighting properties
Yes, these come from the cannabis plant, but no, they aren’t going to get you high! They are going to give your body a boost of lovely vitamins and minerals though along with plenty of other nutritional benefits. Plus they are delicious! They are super tasty eaten as a snack in their own right, almost like eating nuts, but nut-free for those who are allergic. I add mine to homemade muesli, as a topping to porridge, in energy balls or even sprinkled onto soup for a bit of crunch. Hubby pours onto salads and I even saw him sprinkle some onto an omelette once! They are so versatile and can even be added to a smoothie for a creamy nutty flavour.
‘With a nearly perfect balance of omega 3 to omega 6, plus iron, vitamin E, and all of the essential amino acids, hemp seeds are said to be the most nutritionally complete food source in the world.’ Leafly
The powder comes from the root vegetable maca in Peru and is a lovely soft beige colour with a delicious butterscotch taste. Maca was used during the time of the ancient Inca Empire to give their warriors strength, stamina and power before battle. I have mixed into bowls of porridge and muesli, but this one works best in a banana milkshake. Freeze some peeled bananas, then blend with your favourite ‘mylk’, I like almond or oat, then add a generous scoop of maca powder for a delicious ice cold mylkshake.
Here’s some of it’s many benefits:
- Increases mental clarity
- Regulates hormone balance
- Improves mood
- Increases endurance & boosts energy levels without caffeine – great pre workout and used by many athletes
- Acts as an aphrodisiac and can boost libido
- Can increase female fertility and improve quality of male semen
- Contains calcium and can improve uptake of calcium which improves bone mass, bone health and helps those with osteoporosis
- Contains many vitamins and minerals
- Reduces levels of cortisol in the body, therefore reducing stress
- It’s an adaptogen which allows us to adapt easier to different circumstances and surroundings whilst lowering our stress levels
- Is also used to help treat ailments such as ‘tired blood’ (anaemia), depression, menopause and chronic fatigue
Another one of the very first Superfoods I tried when I was introduced to it by companies such as Aduna and Rise who sent me samples back in 2015 and 2016 on my main blog. Since cutting out refined sugar over one year ago, this stuff has curbed all my chocolate cravings. It’s amazing to be able to give up refined sugars, but still eat chocolate! It’s something I never thought was possible until I started exploring more wholefood and ‘alternative’ food options. We use cacao to make guilt-free hot chocolates, super chocolatey smoothies and mylkshakes, chocolate porridge and delicious energy bites. For extra crunch and a chocolate chip sensation, try cacao nibs too. Yum!
Cacao is unrefined raw chocolate. Most cocoas have been through a refining process and many are then overloaded with added sugar. Raw cacao is not and it still retains the numerous health benefits of the cocoa plant.
Here are the benefits of this deliciously rich good-for-you chocolate:
- More antioxidants than red wine and green tea
- A rich source of minerals, especially magnesium
- Also a source of vitamins including vitamin C
- They contain Omega-6 fatty acids
- Can make you feel good thanks to its phenethylamine (PEA which is a neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love) and serotonin content
- It has a low GI so won’t spike your blood sugar levels
- Boosts energy and therefore reduces fatigue
When I first heard the term ‘superfood’ thrown about, it was goji berries that were all the rage. It took me a while to jump on the goji berry bandwagon, but once I did I was hooked. We often have a pot of these in our cupboard and add them to salads, energy balls and homemade muesli. They’re also good as an on-the-go snack mixed with nuts, seeds and other dried fruits.
Dr Axe calls them the healthiest dried fruit available – ‘Goji berries have been extensively researched for their ability to generate general feelings of well-being, improve neurologic/psychologic traits, support better gastrointestinal health and bowel functions, help build stronger musculoskeletal systems, and improve cardiovascular health.’
There are so many amazing superfoods, that is foods that are particularly rich in nutrients and therefore super for us, and they are also ‘super’ easy to incorporate into the meals and drinks you already consume.
And finally, to drink…
The purest water available is the best. We can’t live without water and need plenty every day to stay hydrated, alert and alive. I’m drinking distilled water as it’s pure H2O and rids our bodies of all the inorganic minerals and toxins that accumulate. Water carries nutrients to our cells in our blood and also transports waste out of our body. We need water for our body to function properly and make the most of all the amazing nutrients we are getting from our superfoods.
Related: Why I’m drinking distilled water
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