Holistic Nutritional Therapist, Elizabeth Montgomery, talks to DAD.info about ‘Superfoods’ and why you should be incorporating them into your family’s diet today…
There’s a popular buzzword in the world of health and fitness these days called Superfoods. These foods are prized for having the ability to revitalise the body with a potent array of vital nutrients. Many are promoted as having the miraculous ability to eliminate multiple health symptoms, boost energy, or even reverse ageing, with some even taking the place of supplementation.
What’s a Superfood and can they really enhance my family’s health?
Superfoods are considered to be foods that are exceptionally nutrient dense and therefore especially beneficial for health and wellbeing. Basically, a Superfood’s nutrient composition is notably higher than what is readily found in a single food, or even an entire meal. When ingested on a regular basis, a Superfood can significantly give the body increased levels of a wide spectrum of nutrients.
There are scores of vegetables and fruits that have been awarded the Superfood title, including blueberries, broccoli and tomatoes, with many more exotic foods from faraway lands such as lucuma (below), açaí, baobab and moringa. While there are many foods that are given the status of Superfood, there are in fact, very few that can offer an exceptional range and level of nutrients that lead to greatly enhanced health.
It’s of increasing concern among health professionals that it’s no longer possible to obtain all of the required nutrients for health through diet alone. This is down to the fact that most of the soil used to grow crops has become depleted due to industrialised farming practices.
Research has shown that commercially grown fruits and vegetables are lacking many of the vital nutrients required for health – even when organically grown. Therefore, Superfoods can play a powerful role in helping to bridge the nutritional gap currently found in our food supply.
But before rushing out to purchase the myriad Superfoods on offer, it’s important to understand that many do not contain the full nutrient spectrum required to be deemed worthy of such status. Take blueberries for example. While they are renowned for their high antioxidant content and health promoting properties, they’re also deficient in a wide a spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Studies carried out by The Institute of Medicine and The Food and Agriculture Organisation in the U.S. found that they were too lacking in significant amounts of vital nutrients (i.e., potassium, protein, zinc, folate and vitamin E) for them to be considered a true Superfood. In fact, for blueberries to make the grade, a tremendous amount would have to be eaten in one sitting – up to 25 bowlfuls!
Remember, a true Superfood is one that is ultra nutrient dense. Given the times in which we are living, it may well be necessary, even crucial for health, to begin to incorporate these into our diets on a regular basis.
This in turn might even reduce the amount of supplementation currently required for health maintenance. As long as we select carefully, and regularly consume what are indeed true Superfoods, glowing health may well be within reach…
MEET THE SUPERFOOD ALL-STARS
Sprouts are one of the most nutritious foods on earth and contain potent medicinal properties. They’re a powerhouse of nutrients and contain between 20 to 30 times the nutritional value of the full grown plant. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. Different types have different health properties: broccoli sprouts contain high levels of sulforaphane which is prized for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits and sunflower seed sprouts are extremely rich in protein, essential fats and chlorophyll, required for cellular health and healthy red blood cells. The trick is to get your kids to eat them!
Algae is the oldest plant form on earth and has remarkable health properties. It’s able to repair the DNA and RNA within the cells and helps to remove harmful heavy metals and carcinogenic compounds from the body. Protein-rich green chlorella is fast becoming a popular health food favourite and is the richest source of chlorophyll in the world.
Seaweed is packed with essential nutrients and minerals. Iodine rich, seaweeds are valued for their ability to nourish the thyroid gland. They also help protect and detoxify the body from exposure to radiation and heavy metals.
Three Simple Superfood Recipes
For an easy way to introduce Superfoods to your family meals, try these easy recipes that are not only delicious but full of goodness too…
Green Superfood Smoothie
A green cleansing smoothie to boost your immune system
How to do it…
1 bulb fennel, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 cucumber, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parsley
1 tsp fresh ginger (without skin)
1/2 avocado, ripe
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 – 1/2 chlorella – protein-rich Superfood
Simply put all the ingredients into a blender until completely mixed and serve.
A delicious nutrient-dense Superfood salad for all the family
How to do it…
1/4 cup dried pulse seaweed, soaked for 1 hour, rinsed, drained and diced
1/4 cup dried wake, soaked for 1 hour, rinsed, drained and diced
2 carrots peeled and grated
1 kolhrabi, peeled and diced (may be substituted with beetroot)
1/2 cucumber diced
1 spring onion or 1/2 leek, sliced thinly
Black and white sesame seeds for garnish
Combine all the ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
Superfood Salad Dressing
A Superfood-packed sauce to zing up your summer salads
How to do it…
3 tbsp tamari soy sauce
5 tbsp tahini (raw form or cooked)
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 inch piece of ginger
Blend all the ingredients until smooth, then dress your salad to suit your taste.
Elizabeth Montgomery is a London-based Holistic Nutritional Therapist who has been studying and exploring nutrition, eastern medicine and medicine way healing practices for many years. Throughout the months of June, July and August, Elizabeth will be offering six therapy sessions for the price of five. To arrange a private consultation head to holisticnutrition.co.uk
All images: ING Images