article by Julia on January 13, 2011
Broccoli is a superb super food. It contains 2 powerful anti-cancer substances called sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Sulforaphane also kills the bacteria which may cause stomach ulcers. Broccoli is also an excellent source of beta-carotene and potassium which helps lower the risk of heart disease. This humble and extremely tasty vegetable is a power house full of vitamins and minerals, is low in calories and has zero fat.
Serving suggestions: Steam lightly, stir-fry or chop and toss raw into salads. Serve at least 3 times a week
This fruit is known to decrease total cholesterol and protect against breast cancer and is packed full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. It also contains potassium which regulates blood pressure, guards against heart disease and strokes. And let’s not forget that an avocado contains 20 essential nutrients including vitamin E, fibre and folic acid. 2 – 3 slices of this lush, creamy, rich fruit will give you 50 cals and 4.5g of good fats.
Serving suggestions: Slice into salads or make into guacamole. My favourite way to eat avocado is mashed into a wholegrain sandwich with sliced tomato, lettuce leaves and a bit of vegan mayo. Tomatoes are also packed full of micronutrients, antioxidants and vitamins which all work together to ward off cancer, heart diseases and many other illnesses. Two super foods in one sandwich, you can’t do much better than that!
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This really is a super wonder food! It's very heart healthy due to its high content of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamin E. Extra virgin olive oil reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol, improves cardiovascular health, protects against cancer and balances blood sugar. It also reduces inflammation, soothes arthritis and helps keep your arteries free from plaque. In Mediterranean countries where extra olive oil is the main fat intake there is a far lower risk of disease, in fact, daily use of this incredible oil could cut your chances of heart disease by 50%.
Try to buy your extra virgin olive oil as fresh as possible as all the nutrients fade away after the bottle has been sitting in the bright lights of the supermarket. You are looking for Extra Virgin Oil, check the label to ensure the oil has not been refined and that you will be using within the sell by date. The best oil of all is Fresh Pressed Extra Virgin but it's a little pricey! Take a look at http://www.freshpressedoliveoil.com or http://www.lakoniaoliveoil.co.uk.
Serving suggestions: Forget the butter and do as they do in the Mediterranean. Spread on bread with a touch of garlic and tomato rubbed in. Drizzle over salads with balsamic vinegar as a wonderful salad dressing. Add to your cooked vegetables instead of butter. In fact add it sparingly to everything and enjoy the benefits of good health! There are 40 calories and a whole lot of goodness per teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Don’t you just love the smell of garlic gently cooking in olive oil? A wonderful way to start any dish! But, apart from the glorious uplifting smell wafting around the kitchen, did you know that garlic has some jaw dropping nutritional properties?
Clinical tests have shown that garlic is an excellent cancer fighter; it can help prevent the development of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, stomach and oesophagus. Garlic stimulates the immune system by encouraging the growth of killer cells which directly attack cancer cells!
Garlic can also help the body absorb enzymes; can promote strong teeth and bones and normal blood sugar regulation. Eating this super-food regularly may also help prevent skin disorders, tiredness and anaemia. This little white bulb is packed full of the trace mineral manganese, vitamin b6, vitamin c, cancer fighting compounds and antibacterial properties.
Serving suggestions: Add to casseroles, stews and stir-fries. Rub over toasted bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. Just be aware of garlic breath! The calories in a garlic clove aren’t even worth mentioning they are so few.
There is a whole lot of powerful nourishment in this little knobbly nut; walnuts are low in saturated fats, high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and have the highest antioxidant activity of all nuts. They also contain protein, folic acid, fibre, vitamins b6 and E, thiamine and zinc. Together these nutrients will help to lower cholesterol, help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and protect against cancers. Studies have shown that eating walnuts can reduce the risk of heart attack between 15 and 50% !
If you are on the look out for a younger looking, soft, smooth skin then eating walnuts is a good start. Walnut oil contains linoleic acid, which helps to maintain the skin's structure, keeping it watertight and well hydrated.
Serving suggestions: Add to salads, sprinkle over cereals, grab a handful with some dried fruit as a snack, and add to stir-fries after cooking. I always grind walnuts along with almonds to make nut roast. There are 180 cals per ounce in walnuts but you only need about 7 walnuts 5 times a week to reap the benefits. Always buy raw or dry roast and never ever buy salted.
6. Flax Seeds
These tiny little seeds are absolutely packed with healthful properties and have one of the best nutritional yields on the market. They are full of B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, Omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and phytochemicals. Thanks to the Omega 3 flax seeds can protect us from inflammation which plays a part in many chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes and some cancers. The fibre in flax seeds is both soluble and insoluble, but be a little careful when trying for the first time as the fibre content is so high. It is best to start off with a small amount and then gradually increase as your body adjusts. The fibre can stabilize blood sugar, helps with the functioning of the intestines and can lower cholesterol.
The phytochemicals in flax seeds have anitoxident activity to protect our cells from free radical damage, cell damage being a common pathway for cancer, aging and many other illnesses. Flax seeds may help with pre- menopausal symptoms due to the lignans which help balance female hormones and may help promote fertility. Lignans may also help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Serving suggestions: Flax seeds must be ground for the body to ingest all the nutrients. Once ground in a coffee grinder you are then ready to add flax to numerous dishes. Sprinkle into yogurt, cereal, fruit smoothies, soups and salads. In fact add to any food you fancy, just get stuck in to this super food!
Blueberries rank amongst the highest on a per serving basis for antioxidant activity! These delicious little fruits are a power house of nutrients including antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and fibre. Eating blueberries will help with the formation of collagen to maintain healthy gums and capillaries, will aid iron absorption, aid bone development and metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fats. They are also heart healthy and can help to promote a healthy immune system. The antioxidants will neutralize free radicals that are linked to cancer, heart disease and Alzheimers.
You can grow these babies in a pot in your garden, organic and ready to pick at a moments notice! Try Suttons to start growing your own blueberries at home.
Serving suggestions: There are only 80 calories and no fat in 250 grams of blueberries, so add generously to your breakfast cereal, smoothies and toss into salads.
Don’t wait until Halloween to eat pumpkin! Pumpkins and squash are rich sources of beta carotene and excellent sources of alpha carotene, a very powerful antioxidant in the prevention of cancer. Research has shown that people who consumed high amounts alpha carotene had a 63% lower chance of lung cancer. Pumpkin and squash are also full of Vitamin B5 which slows down greying hair and reduces wrinkles, Vitamin C which produces collagen and Vitamin E which has anti-aging affect on the skin!
Serving Suggestions: There are about 60 calories and no fat in 200 grams of pumpkin and squash, so get the casserole dish out and make some lovely squash stews and cassolets for low calorie and highly nutritious winter warming dinners! I will post some recipes next week for tasty squash meals.
Eat and enjoy all of the above, they are all tasty, healthy and will give you an influx of vitamins that are especially handy in winter. I firmly believe that eating these foods keeps my body in the best condition possible to keep fat off, keep my muscles working to 100% and my skin looking great and feeling soft. I’m actually feeling a bit peckish now, walnuts anyone?!