This year, why not resolve to include more super foods to your everyday diet?
Once consumed only by Chinese nobility, “forbidden” black rice is being hailed as the latest super grain.
“It can help protect against cancer and heart disease and is rich in anthocyanin antioxidants. One spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries.” explains Zhimin Xu, associate professor in the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University.
Cherries contain melatonin, the same chemical the brain makes to get us to feel sleepy at night.
“We usually make enough of this naturally, but cherries can help those suffering from jet lag or irregular sleeping patterns,” explains nutritionist Michele Kingston.
Comprised of the entire coffee fruit as opposed to just the bean, “coffee beans have a stellar antioxidant content,” explains Jody Villeco, Whole Foods market nutritionist.
The super drink of the year, coconut water is the purest liquid after water.
“People assume it’s fatty but it’s sourced from the young green coconuts and contains no fat at all, and one glass is 60 calories,” explains Dana James, New York nutritionist and founder of Food Coach NYC.
“Raw chocolate is a minimally processed and antioxidant enhanced form of chocolate,” says Villeco. Remarkably rich in magnesium, it is important for cardiovascular health.
Villeco explains how barley’s soluble fibre has huge benefits such as keeping blood sugar levels balanced, promoting satiety and benefiting digestive and heart health. “Barley is high in beta glucan, which helps eliminate cholesterol from our bodies, and niacin (vitamin B3) which helps reduce it,” explains Kingston.
Far lower in calories than other nuts and a vitamin powerhouse (B6 and C), chestnuts make the perfect winter snack.
“They are full of fibre and a great source of magnesium and iron,” explains raw food expert Christina Agnew.
“Apricots are rich in antioxidant beta-carotene that promotes healthy eyes and skin, boosts the immune system and the elimination of free radicals,” says Agnew. “Look for sulphite-free varieties and remember that although natural, dried fruit is a concentrated source of sugar,” explains Villeco.
White Button Mushrooms
White button mushrooms contain high levels of potassium that helps lower elevated blood pressure as well as selenium, which works with vitamin E to protect the body’s cells. They are super low in calories and are very hydrating as they are nearly all water (80 to 90 per cent).
“They also deliver ergosterol, a form of vitamin D,” says Villeco.