Keeping up with the latest superfood trend is as difficult at times as keeping up with the catwalks. Every week it seems there’s something new that we absolutely HAVE to be eating. Whether it’s berries or green tea, hybrid vegetables or seeded fruits, ensuring you’re getting all of the good stuff (which, let it be said, is always dependent on the individual – what may be fantastic for one person may not necessarily work for another) can wind up giving you a bit of a headache. To keep things simple, below we take a look at 5 easy and sweet superfoods (because we could all do with a little extra sweetness in our lives) worth adding to your shopping trolley this weekend and why.
Cranberries and cranberry juice have long been hailed for their overall health benefits, their anti inflammatory properties and the ways in which they can improve our urinary tract health. Scientists also believe cranberries can help keep bad bacteria in the stomach at bay, thanks to their natural compounds – proanthocyanidins (PACs) – that stop the bad stuff from sticking. What’s more, cranberries are also said to maintain blood pressure levels, reduce bad cholesterol levels and, surprisingly, they’re a great source of fibre which, of course, is essential for optimum digestive health. Cranberries aren’t hard to work into your diet. Ocean Spray do a great cranberry juice. A glass of this even a few times a week and you could soon be noticing its widely praised benefits.
Chia seeds remain top of the list of superfood fanatics for the fact that they’re packed full of antioxidants, enriching our bodies with calcium, magnesium, fibre, B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and more. Though the seeds themselves are tiny little things, when compared with most other plant foods, chia seeds are believed to boast pretty impressive levels of protein. Sprinkle your chia seeds over your salad for some added crunch (though beware, they don’t really taste of anything), add it to your porridge or cereal or go one step further by making chia seed pudding. When soaked in liquid, such as almond milk, chia seeds form a gelatinous substance around them, making them similar to tapioca. Mixed with some honey or high quality maple syrup and you’ve got yourself a superfood dessert in no time!
Cacao nibs are what’s used to make chocolate. So of course, we’re sold already. While we usually associate chocolate with being bad for us (despite improving our mood at times), cacao is actually super high in magnesium, which is an essential nutrient required by every cell of the body. Magnesium has many benefits, some of which being improved sleep, muscle function and nerve function. Like chia seeds above, they’re rich in antioxidants and a good source of iron. again, sprinkle these over your cereal or work into a recipe for refrigerated protein balls with coconut.
Thankfully, we were eating cinnamon in many ways long before we really became aware of its super powers. Cinnamon is particularly beneficial in dealing with diabetes and keeping any inflammation at bay. A number of studies have been conducted in which the results found that cinnamon is very good for fighting off bacteria and staving off the flu while other reports also suggest that cinnamon is great for digestive health and regulating blood sugar levels. Mix this in with your morning coffee as a superfood alternative to sugar, add it to a smoothie or sprinkle it over porridge for an added boost.
We used to think of coconut as something indulgent, something you’d find sugary things dipped in, or packed inside a Bounty bar, but with all of the recent hype surrounding the fruit and particularly coconut water, we’re looking at it in a new light. If you’re drinking coconut water, you’re getting lots of potassium and sodium which are two key minerals in terms of your post work-out recovery. Meanwhile coconut oil has become a firm favourite as a healthy alternative to cooking with vegetable oil. If you’re sprinkling coconut in among your chicken curries and your desserts, you’ll be glad to know that coconut is said to be high in fibre. As per nutritional expert Zoe Harcombe via The Daily Mail, these hard hairy fruits contain all the macronutrients – carbohydrate, fat and protein. As well as being absolutely delicious and full of natural fat, coconuts are a rich source of minerals, including copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.’
What superfoods have you been eating lately? Comment below!
Caroline Foran @CarolineForan