Whilst I’m no expert, I have done my fair share of research into what superfoods are and how to add them to your diet.
By definition, ‘superfoods’ are nutrient-dense, whole foods that have a high amount of micro-nutrients, and other unique compounds. These have incredible healing potential for your body.
Spirulina is a type of micro-algae full of natural energy. It can leave you feeling revitalized. The long-term benefits of taking it are even more incredible. It’s recommended by the World Health Organisation and called the “best food of the future”. The downside is spirulina is one of the most expensive superfoods on the market.
You may have heard of this powerful food but it can be a little tricky to take daily because of its unfamiliar taste. It depends what brand you buy, as I find some taste better than others. But whatever you choose, I would recommend starting out with half a teaspoon to begin with, until you get used to it. I love this Deliciously Ella spirulina smoothie recipe. Ella’s blog also has more interesting information about the benefits of this superfood. It’s definitely worth a read!
I always add spinach to my smoothies because you really can’t taste it. Spinach is low in calories but packed with nutrients. This Hemsley + Hemsley recipe is my favourite green smoothie. It’s alkalising, hydrating, cleansing, antioxidant-rich and easy to digest.
Spinach gained fame in the 1960’s through the cartoon character Popeye. My parents encouraged us to eat spinach so I would grow up to be big and strong like him. They were pretty spot on actually, as spinach is full of good things for every part of your body. Studies also show that spinach helps maintain vigorous brain function, memory, and mental clarity.
If possible, try to only buy organic spinach. There is some risk of contamination in exports from developing nations.
Leafy greens to be exact. I’ve already mentioned spinach but the more the merrier! Varying your vegetables every week means you can add more vitamins and minerals to your diet. A recent study, by Imperial College London suggested that five portions of fruit and veg a day is good for you, but 10 is much better. Apparently, aiming for 10 a day could prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year!
Look to also add cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, sprouts) into your diet. They support detoxification in the body. This means they are the best weapons against diseases such as cancer and heart disease. My personal favourites are kale and broccoli.
For an easy swap, instead of greasy potato crisps opt for this delicious baked kale snack which you can make yourself.
Consuming a variety of fruits could reduce the risk of many health conditions. Did you know fruit can also promote a healthy complexion and increased energy?
Blueberries are particularly good. Recent research even suggests they could help fight Alzheimer’s. I find the easiest way to add them into my diet is to throw a handful on my porridge in the morning.
A couple of sneakier ways to incorporate more fruit into your diet is in the form of delicious desserts. Here are two of my favourite recipes: the healthiest chocolate mousse (featuring avocados) and this two ingredient vegan chocolate banana ice cream (you have GOT to try that last one, trust me!).
If you’re out and about, dried apricots are great as a quick snack. I’m the type of person who craves sweets every day but I try to choose natural sugars instead whenever possible. The drying process degrades a fruit’s content of water-soluble. This means that heat-sensitive vitamins, such as vitamin C become more concentrated. Dried apricots therefore provide higher levels of most nutrients than their fresh counterparts.
Nuts are an amazing source of fibre and protein. They contain countless vitamins and minerals plus those essential fats that the body needs to survive. Try to aim for two palm full servings per day as a snack. Nuts are also fantastic for breastfeeding mums who need the extra protein!
Let’s look at seeds. My personal favourite are flaxseeds. They have been known as a wonder food for a while now. I like to add them to practically everything; porridge, soups, salads. To spruce up your salads pumpkin seeds are also a terrific addition!
It’s claimed to lead to all sorts of benefits. Some of which are supported by science. The benefits include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes. I’m certainly no scientist, so I’m still on the fence about this one. It does appear to be very healthy and can increase energy levels, which I’m all for.
The best way to incorporate it into your diet is to use it in your cooking, or for salad dressings. Some people take it was a supplement. They dilute it in water and drink it (common dosages range from 1-2 teaspoons to 1-2 tablespoons per day).
Beans or legumes beans are incredible. Full of good fats, protein, fibre and much more. They stabilise blood sugar, curb your desire for sweets and can make you feel full. I have plenty of dietary advice after my first colonic experience. I was told they are practically “the world’s most perfect food” and brilliant for gut health!
Snacking on edamame beans has become “a thing” in recent years and rightly so. A 225g serving gives you as much fibre as four slices of whole wheat bread! Edamame beans are also high in iron (about as much as a roasted chicken breast).
Remember, small changes soon add up to making a significant difference. You could start by simply drinking more water each day and adding freshly sliced lemon! Whatever works best for you and your lifestyle.
If you have any great hacks for getting more superfoods into your diet, let me know in the comments below. Or tweet us @totmorganic.
This blog was written by our Communications Manager, Daisy Pratt.This blog reflects Daisy’s own opinion and experience. She has no medical experience or nutritional qualifications. When trying new foods always be mindful of allergies and consult a doctor before making drastic diet changes.