Spring is the perfect time to get into ‘super foods’ – foods packed with extra serves of vitamins and minerals to help you detox naturally.
Detoxing is a process whereby the body rids itself of excess toxins through the consumption of specific ‘super foods’. Common sources of such toxins include alcohol, caffeine, cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes, with an overload of such pollutants causing bloating, headaches, weight-gain, fatigue and a general malaise.
We’ll explore ten ‘super foods’ to help get you healthy in time for summer, while also assisting with disease prevention and anti-ageing.
Similar to avocadoes, most nuts (notably almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts) contain ‘good fats’, essential for clear blood vessels and a healthy heart when eaten in moderation.
Almonds contain significantly high levels of calcium and magnesium while being low in saturated fat, rich in omega-3 oils and high in protein for energy and muscle growth and repair.
An apple a day can, in fact, do more than keep the doctor away. One apple provides us with up to five grams of fibre, a whopping 20 per cent of our recommended daily intake, assisting with both the digestion and excretion of toxins.
Additionally, apples contain a variety of antioxidants, including the polyphenols also found in red wine – so don’t feel so bad for rewarding yourself with a nice red once you’re done!
Sure they contain fats, but not the kinds that’ll show up on your waist line. Avocadoes are full of ‘good fats’, which lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Fibre, potassium, magnesium and folate are just a few other extras that pack a punch in avocados. Avocados also help our bodies’ absorption of other essential nutrients.
Berries of all colours
For such tiny fruits they deliver enormous amounts of nutritional benefits with very few calories. These ‘power balls’ carry vital antioxidants while also providing fibre, folic acid and vitamins C and E.
Best enjoyed during the summer months, berries can liven up cereals, add colour to fresh juices and even spice up a stir-fry.
Broccoli is packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C and lutein, which can help delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration, responsible for vision loss.
It contains a phytochemical called sulphoraphane that has specific anti-cancer properties, and is a particularly good source of folate, which helps prevent heart disease.
Natural foodsPerhaps the one you’ve been waiting for? While high in many antioxidants, dark chocolate is most valued for its source of flavonoids – the antioxidants responsibility for both lowering our blood pressure and keeping our arteries clear.
However, both white and milk varieties will not deliver the same benefits on our hearts; the higher the cocoa percentage, the better.
Oats offer a seriously healthy technique for keeping warm on chilly mornings and are one of the cheapest super foods around.
They are loaded with protein, potassium, magnesium, fibre, complex carbohydrates as well as other minerals, nutrients and antioxidants. Their slow digestion gives them a low glycemic index (GI) ranking, good for all of us but especially diabetics, and helping keep us satisfied for longer and less inclined to return to the kitchen for more. GI ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on raising blood sugar levels after eating, with low GI foods being preferable as they are digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels.
Containing essential omega-3 fatty acids, salmon and most other oily fish are crucial for healthy brain activity, maintaining low cholesterol levels and strengthening hair, bones and teeth.
Salmon is an excellent source of the antioxidant selenium which helps protect against the development of cancer by helping remove free radicals and heavy metals such as mercury. Salmon can be consumed in salads, grilled, steamed or eaten raw as in the popular Japanese dish sashimi.
Spinach is just one of the many green, leafy vegetables that are extremely beneficial for our bodies. Containing large amounts of both calcium and magnesium, these nutrients work co-operatively to ensure efficient nerve transmission around the body.
Strengthening bones, teeth and gums, the Vitamin K also found in spinach assists in the foundation of healthy red blood cells-essential for a healthy body. If spinach doesn’t do it for you, try the Asian alternative of bok choy – fantastic in stir-fries or steamed with sesame seeds and hoisin sauce.
As a ‘living’ food, unsweetened, organic yoghurt is high in friendly bacteria that aid healthy digestion and absorption. While rich in protein, yoghurt also contains several essential vitamins including A, B and D.
Yoghurt is high in calcium, ensuring strong bones and teeth, and contains plenty of live cultures that work to maintain a healthy balance of micro-organisms in our digestive tracts, supporting a healthy immune system and the efficient excretion of wastes.