In the search for better nutrition and wellbeing, I have stumbled upon a special category of natural foods. They are called super foods and basically their title says it all: they are so super, nutrient packed and calorie sparse, they can improve dramatically your health, prevent or cure a disease and may even reverse some of the effects of ageing.
They are by far the healthiest foods from each of the food groups including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, proteins, dairy, herbs and spices, fats and oils. So here are the 5 super foods:
1) Almonds: Like in most nuts almonds contain monounsaturated fats, which help keeping our arteries unblocked, and minimise the risk of a heart disease. They are an optimum source of protein, fibre, and many minerals. They are high in vitamin E, and also contain amounts of folic acid and vitamin B2. Stick to raw almonds and for even greater absorption of the vitamins and minerals, before eating them, soak them for around 8 hours in the water.
2) Olive oil: In the Mediterranean countries people eat a lot of olive oil (including myself!). This is the best natural oil and the reason for that is mainly because of its high concentration in mono unsaturated fats (around 80%!!)which contribute to lowering bad cholesterol. It is high in polyphenols (a powerful antioxidant), vitamin E a fat soluble antioxidant that protects cells from oxidation, fiber, and minerals such as copper.
3) Pumpkin: Pumpkin is so rich in carotenoids. They provide you with adequate beta carotene(only carrots and potatoes have more) and are the top source of alpha carotene. Carotenoids have very high antioxidant activity and are anti cancerous. It is rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, both great for eagle eye vision!!It is rich in fiber, zinc and iron, which is good for the red blood cells. And do not dump the pumpkin seeds into the bin: they are a super source of zinc, fatty acids, and a great source of plant protein.
4) Coconut: In Sanskrit the coconut palm is called “kalpa vriksha”, which literally means “the tree which provides all the necessities of life’. Some of its uses are:for food, drink, medicine, building materials, cooking equipment, and fuel. A single coconut has as much protein as a lean quarter pound burger. One of the most valuable things to come from this tree is ”coconut oil” with many health benefits (preventing heart disease, antimicrobial action, weight loss). Even the coconut water is a great natural isotonic drink!
5) Flaxseed: In the past flaxseed was used only for horse, and bird feeding. In the last decade after many studies concluded that it is very beneficial for our health, it has earned the title ‘super food’. It is extremely high in the omega-3 fat alpha linolenic acid (ALA), and very high in lignans, which have anti-tumor properties. Flax seed is high in fiber and B vitamins. It is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who try reducing their intake of starches and sugars.