You have heard this Superfood name thrown around so often you thought it was a brand. You have started to turn dubious or whether there is such thing called Superfood.
To define them, superfoods are mostly fruits and vegetables but there are some fish and grains too. Just as long as they are nutritionally dense and brings health benefits, they can be termed as Superfood. Eating healthy does not have to be challenging as long as you know what to eat. Start incorporating these food ingredients into your diet and you will see the difference soon!
Most nuts promote 'good' and healthy fats and along with dietary fiber, they also contain antioxidants and a decent boost of vitamins. Almonds are a good source of antioxidant vitamin E, while walnuts contain ellagic acid, another antioxidant that has been said to reduce risk of cancer. Brazil nuts have one of the richest sources of selenium antioxidant, a nutrient that may lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
How to incorporate: Start taking some nuts, preferably unsalted ones one a week to go with your coffee. You can also consume some on-the-go, especially when you are rushing for time as nuts are able to satisfy your appetite and keep you full so that you will not over-eat on other food.
Avocados are fruits, and they are the only fruit that offer a sizeable quantity of healthy monounsaturated fats. These “good” fats have many health benefits, such as reduce cholesterol, reduced risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease, and able to help to lose belly fat.
How to incorporate: Avocados are an easy snack, or you can add avocado to your salad, or sandwich to get the creamy texture rather than mayonnaise. Guacamole or avocado milkshake works as well too.
Berries offer many health benefits such as reduced risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, and they also boost higher amount of energy together with healthier hair and skin. They have also been shown to help with short-term memory loss, while the dietary fiber promotes digestion.
How to incorporate: A few easy ways you can enjoy berries, the easiest is to bring a cup of fresh blueberries as breakfast and snack. Or you can have some dried berries, such as dried blueberries to add them to your salad or yoghurt. Sprinkle some goji berries in your stir fry dishes and desserts for a tinge of sweetness too.
One of the most well-known health benefits of salmon is it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is a necessary component of human health, but our body is unable to produce them naturally. These Omega-3 help reduce inflammation and can also lower the risk of disesaes such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. It might also lead to improved brain function and performance.
How to incorporate: Salmon is really versatile and easy to cook. You cannot go wrong with them unless you over cook them. Baked, fry, stir fry, steam or added into soups and congee, everything works.
5. Chia/Flax seeds
Omega-3 fatty acids are a hot trendy buzzword, and for good reason, they speed up metabolic rates and reduce inflammation in the body thereby lowering blood pressure.
How to incorporate: One of the easiest ways to use flax seeds is sprinkle some on oatmeal or baked dishes. Chia seeds will need to be dissolved in water to release the nutrients so it's best used in dessert drinks.
Spinach and kale are both low fat and cholesterol vegetables yet they contain many nutrients like zinc, niacin, calcium, iron, protein and Vitamins A, B-6, C, E and K. Kale is very low in calories, yet has high dietary fiber and zero fat. They are high in antioxidants, which help prevent aging, and has anti-inflammatory properties to fight against asthma and arthritis.
How to incorporate: Spinach is easy to work into your meals. Just substitute spinach in any salads, sandwiches or dishes which you usually use lettuce. Kale is much harder to find in Singapore, more expensive and they also don't taste as good if eaten alone. You can usually only find them in salad bars.
7. Sweet Potatoes/Pumpkin
These vegetables are surprisingly good sources of calcium, Vitamins C and B-6, potassium and magnesium. They promote healthy skin, low cholesterol, cancer prevention and help in your prostate health.
How to incorporate: Sweet potatoes are very versatile and can be easily substituted when you eat potatoes. You can easily bake and grill them or even fry them as occasional indulgence. Pumpkin are more commonly found in vegetarian stalls but they are easy to add into stir fry meals and congee too.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli contain a super powerful range of disease fighters. One particular fighter is sulforaphane, which may help to increase enzymes that lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers.
How to incorporate: Order them when you buy your vegetable rice from your favourite stalls! They are also easy to cook both in Chinese and Western styles.
Alliums is the name of this family that includes leeks, onions, and garlic and they share many similarly remarkable traits. They can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research suggests they are able to prevent the growth of prostate, stomach, and colon cancer cells. Not only that, they also have antibiotic properties to ward off germs, and not just vampires.
How to incorporate: Our Chinese meals will almost always have garlic, onion and ginger as they are frequently used in stir fry dishes. Use leeks and scallion in chicken pie and shepherd's pie to get the nice aroma and health benefits.
10. Green tea
A cup of tea a day can help lower your risk of diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, improve bone density, and still keep your teeth and gums healthy. While all tea (black, red, and green) has antioxidants, green tea contains the most amount for every cup. It contains high amount of metabolism-boosting compound called EGCG, which prevents damage to the heart muscles.
How to incorporate: This rich antioxidants filled drink, also containing caffeine, may be the perfect swap for your morning cup of coffee. Otherwise, just drink tea during the afternoon instead of another cup of joe.
Maintaining a healthy diet is challenging with the tonnes of good local food, especially those filled with pork lard. However, being aware of what is true quality ingredients will help in your decision-making and hopefully you will choose a few of these superfood to consume at least once a week.
It's a simple way to get started.