Super Foods or Super Marketing?
By Brydie Warren
We keep hearing about “Super foods” promising superstar qualities, but just how “super” are these foods?
All super foods are high in antioxidants and are great for fighting off free radical production and lowering inflammation. What’s that you say? These nasty free radicals and inflammation damage the molecules inside our cells, leading to premature ageing and chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
So if you are not on the bandwagon already, keep reading and get on board, your body will love you for it!
Let’s start with…
This is great news for all the chocoholics out there like me, as Cacao is essentially raw, unrefined and unprocessed chocolate.This chocolatey super food has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and insulin resistance, increase the resistance of bad fats, boost the immune system and lowers inflammation, a common link between many chronic diseases.
This is a really easy super food to get started on as it still enables us to have our little chocolate hit without getting the guilts.
One of my favourite recipes for incorporating cacao into my diet is in the form of a brownie.
Sweet Potato Brownies
1-2 large organic sweet potato
4-5 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder – depending on how chocolatey you want it
8-10 Organic medjool dates
1/2 cup organic coconut flour
1/4 cup dessicated organic coconut
1/4 cup organic almond meal
1T Chia seeds
3T melted organic cold pressed coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
1t maca powder (optional if you don’t have any)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan forced)
2. Steam the sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped) until soft (fork falls through them)
3. Blend your steamed sweet potatoes in with your medjool dates until smooth and creamy.
4. Put the cacao, salt, coconut flour, chia seeds, almond meal, coconut and maca into a big bowl, stir to combine.
5. Add the potato mixture, melted coconut oil and butter. Combine.
6. Scoop mixture into a baking tray (18cm x 30cm roughly) and press flat and firm
7. Bake for approx 25-30 minutes until firm to touch.
Serve warm with warm mix berries.
Don’t be fooled by these tiny little super seeds, they pack a powerful nutrient dense punch, boasting a range of nutritional qualities.
Chia assists in ongoing cleansing due to their high levels of fibre. They also reduce free radical production due to their high antioxidant content and are a great source of calcium for bone health.
Chia seeds are also higher in protein than any other seed or grain. They are packed with Omega 3s, magnesium and zinc and powerful antioxidants such as flavonols and polyphenolic acids, all contributing to reducing inflammation.
Chia seeds also assists in regulating blood sugar levels and aid in sustaining healthy muscles, bone integrity and strength.
Due to their versatility I like to add 1-2 tablespoons of Chia seeds in pretty much anything I can – my smoothies, with yoghurt, into salads, soups or in any baked goods.
This is undoubtedly the most famous amongst the super food group. The benefits of coconut oil far outweigh the stigma attached to the word ‘oil’. In fact, this is what makes it such a huge star.
Half of this oil’s content is made up of Lauric acid which your clever body then converts into monolaurin (known to fight off viruses and bacteria).
Coconut oil lends itself to a range of health benefits, namely reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in Australia (according to the World Health Organisation).
It also supports a healthy metabolism and thyroid which in hand promotes weight loss and is also a great source of energy for all the athletes out there.
Please be mindful that coconut oil should be consumed in moderation, around 90% of its calories is saturated fat. Don’t let this deter you, having an active lifestyle and incorporating coconut oil into your daily diet go hand in hand, allowing you to seize all the wonderful health benefits this famous super food has to offer.
I like to use coconut oil when cooking berries which I then mix into my porridge. It is also great to incorporate into any baked good or smoothie.
These make this list of super foods due to their low calorie, nutrient dense composition. Blueberries contain high levels of phenolic compounds making its antioxidant capacity exceptionally significant. These compounds contribute mainly to heart health, but are also great for brain health, vision, hydrating the skin and anti-ageing.
Eat your way to younger and better looking skin you say? These little blue babies produce collagen to keep our skin smooth and plump, and to top it off the antioxidants we find in blueberries also prevent your beautiful skin from ageing by fighting off those nasty free radicals.
Get on board with these super berries by sprinkling a few on your breakfast cereal, yoghurt or even add into a smoothie.
Nourishing Blueberry Smoothie:
2 cups frozen blueberries
1.5 cup your choice of milk
2 Tablespoons of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of Protein or Maca powder
1 ripe Banana
2 Tablespoons of Plain good quality yoghurt (I like to use Chobani)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder or honey
This is the least popular of the super foods due to it tasting pretty much like a bitter spinach and unless you’re Popeye it won’t appeal to your taste buds… but its nutritional qualities will.
This green leafy plant is high in Vitamin A helping to strengthen the immune system, Vitamin C which is required for the synthesis of collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, skin, tendons, ligaments and bone. Calcium, Chlorophyll, Iron and Vitamin K are also found in kale, helping to combat free radical production and chronic diseases.
Here are some ways you can incorporate Kale into your diets without cringing with every bite you take.
- Chop finely into salads and coast with a lemon, olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.
- Homemade Kale chips: Cover in coconut oil, Himalayan salt & chilli flakes then oven bake until crispy.
- Perfect in smoothies and juices, you won’t even notice the taste.
The Green Hulk Smoothie
2 stalks of kale finely chopped
Handful of spinach
1/2 green apple
2 cups of milk (your choice)
2 Tablespoons of chia seeds
Like any food, be mindful of your intake. Although these super foods are great for your health, BALANCE is the number one take home message when it comes to what you put into your body. All foods should be consumed in moderation, so ladies don’t go out and drink 5 ‘green hulk’ smoothies a day… as they say, variety is the spice of life.