Superfoods are so named because they are nutrient-rich and therefore especially good for you. Add these simple ingredients to your everyday meals and soon you will feel the benefits. From silky smooth skin, to clearer vision, to increased muscle endurance, there are a huge range of reasons why these foods have the ‘super’ prefix. The best way to enjoy superfoods are in their whole and most natural form – that means keeping them away from sugar people! And try not to boil the nutrients out of them either – nobody likes mushy broccoli and you will end up draining away most of the goodness with the water they were cooked in. Have a browse through our favourite superfoods and start adding them to everything you eat ASAP!
I’m sure you all know about blueberries. They are like the mafia boss of the superfood world… firstly because they taste delicious and make your run-of-the-mill pancakes taste fantastic. Secondly because they protect your heart against disease and fight cancers like a tiny blue ninja. Stick them in your breakfast and get those vitamins in early on in the day.
The only thing you need to know about kale is that Beyoncé wore a sweatshirt bearing the word in her music video. Surely that is enough reason to eat it? Ok, it is also one of the healthiest superfoods in the world because it lowers your cholesterol and is full of vitamins and fiber. Blend it into a smoothie if you are bored of spinach and I swear you won’t even be able to taste it.
‘Keen-wah’ is your new best friend. Forget brown rice and definitely forget couscous because quinoa is a wheat-free grain with an impressive amino acid profile. It is a complete protein and therefore perfect for vegans and vegetarians trying to up their protein intake. Quinoa is really versatile so you can have it with almost anything – if you want to be really original why not try quinoa porridge?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows on salt-water lakes. Sounds gross, right? Ok I’m not going to try and convince you it tastes delicious, but it does have some amazing nutritional benefits like a high protein count and immunity boosters. If you really hate the taste then put it in a sweet smoothie or take it in tablet form. Just get it in you somehow!
Those of you trying to gain a bit more muscle need to remember Pop-Eye and his secret weapon. Spinach is fantastic and it goes in pretty much everything so don’t be shy! Those leaves shrivel to a fraction of the size when cooked so just keep adding. Your iron levels will skyrocket and so will your vitamin K, A and C levels which is all just pretty great.
6. Greek Yoghurt
Creamy, smooth and rich in protein, greek yoghurt is a perfect workout recovery snack and great for filling up on something that feels naughtier than it is. The probiotic cultures in greek yoghurt will keep your gut cheerful and the calcium and potassium counts are higher than average too.
Wheatgrass was probably the first superfood to gain any real positive press. The nutritional count for a shot of wheatgrass is enormous compared to most green vegetables you have in your diet so if you are someone who is often guilty of skipping your greens with dinner then add a shot of wheatgrass to your day.
8. Chia Seeds
Although they are teeny tiny these seeds are full to bursting with health benefits. Fiber, protein, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, calcium the list goes on! Their protein is superb quality and the carbohydrates in them are mainly fiber, so nothing to feel guilty about. Chia pudding is a yummy way to get these seeds into your diet and it tastes just like dessert.
Never forget that the fats in avocado are the good kinds of fats. And they won’t make you fat. Instead they will protect you against cancer, improve your eye sight, keep your heart happy and give your skin a pretty glow. The mild sweetness of avocados makes them great in sweet or savoury dishes, but we reckon they are best on toast with salt and pepper.
Most herbs have great health benefits, but parsley is one of our favourites. The antioxidants in parsley will leave you feeling fantastic and it is the best herbal source of vitamin K, which improves your bones. Additionally parsley is extremely low calorie so you can have as much as you like without having to worry.
Cacao is the raw form of cocoa. Don’t get them confused because their nutritional profiles are completely different, the main reason being because the enzymes are left alive in raw cacao. This means you get all the goodness out of it that nature intended. Protect your nervous system, reduce your blood pressure, improve your mood, guard against toxins, all whilst eating chocolate!
Tahini might be an acquired taste, but once you have decided you like it you will definitely be putting it on everything. With more protein than milk and some nuts this sesame paste deserves it’s reputation as a superfood. Keep your servings small because of the high calories content, but be inventive and use it in some delicious middle eastern cooking.
Lentils are number one on the healthy cheap eats list. They are the staple of a vast variety of cuisines throughout the world and for good reason. Low in fat, high in fiber and protein make them perfect for those of you trying to incorporate some more plant based protein into your diet. Buy them dried and add to soups and stews as a thickener.
14. Coconut Oil
Although a saturated fat, coconut oil is being hailed as a health hero. It contains some important fatty acids that are metabolised as quick energy for the gym bunnies among us. The smoking point of coconut oil is much higher than olive oil which means it is great for cooking with and it also keeps you fuller for longer, meaning you will eat less throughout the day.
Going gluten free? Buckwheat can help with that. It can be used to substitute rice or porridge and has a unique nutty taste. Like most of the superfoods on this list buckwheat is good for your heart and a source of magnesium. Plus the word ‘buckwheat’ is really satisfying to say out loud.
16. Goji Berries
Another fun word! Goji berries are a little bit sweet, a little bit sharp, a little bit chewy. They contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B2, iron and a ton of antioxidants thrown into the mix. They are the perfect texture to add to granola if you want something with lower sugar content than raisins.
Many people seem to grow up with an inherent hatred of broccoli,most probably because it is green and who likes green food when they are kids? Broccoli is another cancer ninja and it also lowers your cholesterol and reduces chances of diabetes. Cruciferous vegetables are among the healthiest foods in the world so try them all and find your favourites.
Flaxseed is a powerhouse for omega-3 fatty acids – the kind of fat that keeps your heart healthy. Make sure that you grind your flaxseeds to be able to absorb their nutritional benefits. One of the best ways to incorporate flaxseeds into your diet is by mixing them into (you guessed it) a smoothie! Let it sit for a few hours and the flaxseeds will thicken considerably so no need for extra bananas.
Protein – check! Healthy fats – check! Fibre – check! The best thing about nuts (apart from all the healthy stuff in them) is that there are so many varieties that if you can’t stand almonds, or cashews then you are almost certain to find a type that you do like. Try soaking them overnight to activate your nuts and get an extra boost.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in Chinese and Indian medicine as a powerful anti-inflammatory. You might recognise the beautiful yellow colour as a staple in curries, but recently it has been reclaimed by health fanatics and used in drinks as a tonic. However you want to consume it is fine by us, just get it into your system and keep cancers, Alzheimer’s and high cholesterol at bay.
You may went to add some super foods into your smoothie