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We hear the word ‘superfood’ flung around a lot – but what does it actually mean and what superfoods can you pack into your diet this summer?
What is a ‘superfood’?
If you look it up in the dictionary, a ‘superfood’ is a nutrient rich food which is thought to benefit your wellbeing. Of course, with so many foods given the superfood label, it can be confusing. Essentially, superfoods are full of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and there is a great list of them! From the more old school superfoods, like berries and dark green veg, to new additions like spirulina or maca, there is a wealth of superfoods to choose from!
So what superfoods can I eat this summer?
Acai is often dubbed the ‘king of the superfoods’, due to its extremely high antioxidant content and source of phytonutrients. Acai is known to be immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, improves digestion and heart health and is absolutely delicious in a smoothie. You can most commonly buy acai in powder form and blend it up with banana, nut milk and strawberries to make a divine summer smoothie!
Spirulina is part of the algae family and is the easiest to digest and is EXTREMELY rich in protein. It has a wealth of health benefits, including supporting blood sugar levels (hence making it excellent for those with diabetes) and also aiding the function of the kidneys and thyroids. It is named for its spiral shape and can be bought in powder form to add to a smoothie or juice. Add this to a super green smoothie for a superfood kick!
Dark leafy greens will always be the original superfood, and swiss chard falls under this category, along with kale, spinach and broccoli. Swiss chard is at its peak in the summer and is super rich in magnesium and potassium – minerals essential to managing blood sugar. Delicious sautéed or steamed with garlic, and some oily fish for more goodness!
Cherries are packed with very specific and special antioxidants and are also one of the lowest calorie fruits out there! They are full of melatonin, which is known to sooth the neurons in the brain. Also full of zinc, magnesium, potassium and iron! Peak season is summer, so enjoy these as a snack, on your porridge or in a smoothie!
Asparagus is high in folic acid and a great source of potassium and other essential vitamins. They have a particularly high content of Vitamin K, which is known to help prevent blood clotting. Enjoy asparagus grilled on the BBQ or steamed and wrapped in parma ham!
These little berries are thought to have the largest amount of antioxidants of ANY other commonly found fruit and veg. Due to the antioxidants and nutrients within the berry; they are known to have uber protective properties to our cells. Pop these in a fruit salad, on a fruit skewer, smoothie or eat straight out of the pack!