GETTING TO THE ROOT OF SUPERFOODS
Okay! So when I began looking into these superfoods, I only had to pick three for the initial article. But, due to your fantastic response – for which I do thank you (applause!!) – I now feel that I need to sift out another three!
In all honesty, we live in a country that has all these amazing fresh foods ‘on hand” and that makes choosing the next three a bit more difficult. So, as with our last discussion, I will stick to choices that are wholefoods, affordable and easy to add to your everyday.
IT’S HARD TO BEAT THE BEET
This purple red root vegetable has earned itself a first class rating as a superfood. It is loaded from leaves to root tip with folate (a B vitamin), fibre, manganese, potassium, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron … and the list goes on.
There is so much more to this gem of a vegetable than just using it as a colourful afterthought from a jar. Those who don’t like the bottled variety may find that they are pleasantly surprised that they can enjoy it prepared in other ways and combined with other ingredients. It can be eaten raw, whole, sliced, diced, mashed, steamed, stewed, roasted and, of course, pickled. Borscht is a well-known East European beet soup.
For a bit of health with a kick, you can even have beetroot infused vodka.
But be warned! If, after consuming beetroot your urine or stools turn pink, don’t panic. All is well and things will return to normal.
A 24 CARROT VEGGIE
So, it lands up that your Grandmother repeatedly told you that you must eat all the carrots on your plate and then you’ll be able to see in the dark. Could actually be true! Although I cannot guarantee that, if you eat all your carrots, you will gain super human night vision, it is true that this brilliantly coloured vegetable is loaded with Vitamin A which is fantastic for your eyesight.
Apart from that all important vitamin A, carrots contain antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and potassium. This list of amazing benefits is not complete. It is a great source of fibre and a stimulator of saliva production which promotes mouth health.
Some people prefer to peel carrots as they find the skin can be a bit bitter – plus peeling does remove most of the pesticides. But, if you buy organic, then a good wash and a light scrub removing all the dirt should be sufficient.
This vegetable is delicious eaten raw with a dip, grated into a salad, juiced, made into a soup, roasted, mashed and lightly steamed.
It’s also apparently true that eating too many carrots can discolour your skin- BUT you have to eat quite a lot of carrots every day for a long period of time to achieve that. So, if you do turn a faint shade of orange, don’t panic just stop eating them for a bit and all will become normal, hopefully!! Okay, I’m only joking…
GETTING SWEET ON POTATOES
THIS IS Another vegetable crammed full of health benefits. The sweet potato is very high in Vitamin A which is a powerful antioxidant. Its ‘choc’ full of minerals and vitamins which include iron, calcium selenium, Vitamins B’s, magnesium potassium. Once again, the list goes on.
It is also a fantastic source of dietary fibre which gives you that feeling of ‘fullness’. Fibre sweeps your gut as it goes through your body so is necessary for maintaining a healthy gut.
For some reason, sweet potato has gained a reputation for being high in calories. This is not necessarily true. Instead, what ‘ups’ the calorie content is how we cook it or what we add to it. If you are watching your calorie intake, then keep it simple by baking your sweet potatoes whole in the oven or over the coals or roast them with a splash of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, a sprig or two of rosemary and a squeeze of lemon. Other ways of enjoying this heart- warming vegetable are stuffed, steamed, mashed or made into sweet potato fries. You can even make a sweet potato tart with some lashings of cinnamon on top.
To get the most nutritional benefit from this superfood, keep the skin on.
SUPER COLOURFUL FOODS
The true beauty of superfoods is that they are just so normal and can, quite easily, fit into our everyday lives. No more sticking to crazily impractical diets with weird ingredients that even your local supermarket hasn’t heard of.
So, keep up the variety by adding more and more superfoods – and make those meals super colourful. Remember that, from the humble sweet potato right across the colour spectrum – from greens, through yellows, all the way to the purples – these VIP veggies are high in antioxidants. You need these all important antioxidants to help your body to reduce cell damaging elements which, in turn, reduces your risk of disease… and you don’t always need to find them in a bottle!