12 Feb 2017

GUIDE TO SUPERFOODS



I’M BACK! Finally! I’m so happy to finally get back into my blogging rhythm, after having dealt with last semester’s exams and going on the loveliest city trip to Budapest with my high school besties. I really hope to get back to posting more regularly from now on. I took my time to get my planning game on point and managed to create a blog-school-social life-schedule which I’m quite pleased with, if I say so myself! ;) I’m also working on a new blog lay-out, so what you’re seeing now isn’t the final look. I still have a few bits to tweak on here!

Now on to the blogpost! I’ve created a guide to different amazing superfoods that have nothing but benefits for your body and also taste great – which is an absolute must!



Ever since I stopped eating meat and fish, I’ve been on a non-stop hunt for nutritious foods to add to my everyday diet. I quickly found out that there’s this thing called ‘superfoods’ and obviously, I was intrigued. According to Wikipedia, a ‘superfood’ is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits. There’s no scientifically or medically correct definition that says which food can be specified as a superfood, it’s just a useful term to describe certain foods that have a combination of several health benefits. That being said, the following guide gives you a general idea of how these foods can be beneficial.
It also goes without saying that these superfoods are not a replacement for a healthy diet and they most certainly are not capable of curing diseases. What they can do for you is be an addition to your eating pattern by containing everything from vitamins over minerals to antioxidants, which is especially great if you’re vegetarian or vegan. If you’re not, superfoods can still be an awesome way to naturally give a boost to your diet!

Oh, I should also mention that, sadly, superfoods are becoming more and more commercialised over the years, which means they get more expensive. The good thing is that you probably already have some superfoods in your kitchen at the moment. If you’re into exploring new things, you can always try out some of the more exotic superfoods.

These are my absolute favourites!


EVERYDAY SUPERFOODS


Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from, you guessed it: apples! It’s high in probiotics, promotes digestion and supports a healthy immune system. Besides that, apple cider vinegar is an overall great product for your body, since it helps regulate the pH levels of your skin and hair. You can use it as a natural hair conditioner, just use like you would with a normal conditioner.

Avocado
Oh, avocados; the absolute best friends of vegetarians and vegans! But trust me, they’re so worth the hype! Avocados contain a ton of healthy fats and potassium, along with vitamins B, C and E. I like adding them to any Mexican-spicy-curry-type meal or you can squash them and turn them into guacamole.

Berries
I love berries, because they’re sooo delicious and good for you at the same time. My personal favourites are raspberries, strawberries, mulberries and blueberries. These last two are especially beneficial. Mulberries are high in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. Blueberries contain fibre, vitamin C and K and tons of manganese (an energy-boosting mineral that supports bone health).
One of my favourite ways to have berries is in a smoothie. It gives you the boost you need in the morning and tastes nice and sweet.

Cacao powder
Cacao powder is not the same as cocoa powder. Cacao powder is the raw and unprocessed version, while cocoa powder contains a lot of additives (mainly sugar) and isn’t nearly as healthy as cacao. Proper cacao powder is high in antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron and it can help improve circulation and cardiovascular health. It’s also said to be a great mood booster, which we already knew, didn’t we? 
:) 














Cacao powder

Nuts
I have nuts on a daily basis. They’re a great snack to bring to school and they’re just delicious. Nuts in general are a great source of protein, fibre and essential fats.

  • Walnuts are high in antioxidants and contain healthy fats that help take care of your heart, skin and hair.
  • Almonds are my absolute fave! They help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and contain vitamin E, magnesium and calcium, which is great if you’re vegan!
  • I also love brazil nuts. They contain selenium for example, which is a mineral high in antioxidants and helps with our brain function and it’s great for hair and nails as well.
  • Lastly, hazelnuts are wonderful because they are a rich source of protein, fibre, vitamin E, vitamin B, manganese and magnesium.




Almonds, hazelnuts & brazil nuts

Pomegranate
Pomegranate is such an all-round amazing fruit. It’s delicious and has a ton of health benefits. These pink fruits are rich in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. They are believed to lower blood pressure, help the regulation of cholesterol and help prevent several types of cancer.
It’s not always easy to find great fresh pomegranates, and they’re also not that easy to open and get the seeds out. That’s why I like having pure pomegranate juice. You can buy it in glass bottles in health food stores and even in most supermarkets. We recently got an organic pomegranate syrup. You can just add fizzy water as it makes for a great lemonade replacer.



Apple cider vinegar & pomegranate syrup

Seeds
Okay, we need to talk about seeds. If you’re vegan or vegetarian (or even if you’re not), you need seeds in your life. I add them to almost any meal, not only because they’re healthy and contain a heap load of good calories, but also because they taste delish and add a nice crunch to anything. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have gotten a glimpse of how I like to add them to my food.
There are so many types of seeds, but these guys are my favourites.
  • Pumpkin seeds are one of the most versatile of all seeds. They contain a heck of a lot of protein and minerals, including copper (needed for energy and collagen production), magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. When roasted, they’re an awesome snack on their own.
  •  Flax seeds or lin seeds are particularly high in fibre, fatty acids and magnesium. I like adding these to my granola in the morning. Keep in mind that to benefit from their full pack of nutrients, you want to get the ground/milled version since that helps release the nutrients from their shell.
  • Sesame seeds are a great source of zinc, protein, fibre, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium and iron.
  • Sunflower seeds are loaded with proteins, vitamins B and E and folic acids, which is needed for DNA synthesis. Besides that, they contain a wide variety of minerals, such as calcium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc and magnesium.
  • Pine nuts/seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E and B and help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). They’re also one of the fewer gluten-free nuts.

Spices
  • Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and is said to improve your metabolism and reduce inflammation. Plus, it tastes lovely (try adding it to oatmeal!).
  • Paprika is high in vitamin C and is therefore great to keep your skin healthy.
  • Turmeric is a vibrant yellow spice that is particularly known for having inflammatory effects.






Paprika, turmeric & cinnamon


EXOTIC SUPERFOODS


Chia seeds
Chia seeds are becoming more and more popular these days, so I was interested to see what the fuss was all about. And I have to say, I’ve been loving them so far! I mainly just like adding them to smoothies. They’re amazing because they’re high in fibre, protein, omega-3s and healthy fats. Besides that, they can be used as egg replacer since they swell up if added to water.

Coconut oil (virgin)
Coconut oil has been popular for a few years now and it has a lot of uses both in the kitchen and in the bathroom. It contains vitamin E and K and iron. For more info on coconut oil and its different uses, check out my post here!



Shredded coconut & coconut oil

Goji berries
You can find dried goji berries in pretty much every health food store and in some supermarkets. They contain a wide variety of vitamins (A, B, C, and E), minerals and protein. I love adding these to smoothies or granola, because they taste nice and sweet.

Hemp seeds
Hemp is a family member of the cannabis plant. But WAIT! Before you go jumping to conclusions, this variety does not get you high! :) It doesn’t contain nearly as much THC (the compound responsible for getting you high) as its cannabis brother, which means that hemp is NOT considered to be a drug. It’s perfectly fine to consume (in moderation, like any other superfood) and has so many beneficial properties. For example, it contains all ten amino acids, making it one of the best plant-based protein sources (perfect if you don’t eat animal protein!). Other than that, it also has several essential fatty acids, omega 3 & 6, vitamin E, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.
I love adding hemp seeds to smoothie bowls or even in my granola or muesli, since it gives me the protein I need during the day!

Spirulina powder
This superfood is an interesting one. It’s a type of blue-green algae and it’s known for being the most nutritious food on earth (gram to gram, that is). It’s super high in protein (it contains all essential amino acids), antioxidants, vitamins B1, B2 and B3 and every mineral our body needs.
Though I’ve just summed up all its wonderful benefits, I’m still not entirely convinced. I’m still looking for ways to incorporate it into my diet, but for now all I can think of is green juices. It also has quite a distinct flavour, not particularly bad, but just a bit different then what I’m used to! 
:)



Spirulina

Quinoa
Like many other superfoods, quinoa has been on the rise. Articles all over the web claim it’s the next best thing. But I must admit, I kind of love it.
Just like hemp, quinoa in one of the fewer superfoods that contains a complete range of amino acids, making it a perfect protein replacer for its animal competitor. Besides protein, it also contains a lot of fibre and minerals.
I like using quinoa in my nuts-and-seeds-mix, to add to salad or other dishes. It can also be cooked and used as a replacer for rice for example.


Nuts-and-seeds-mix (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pine seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds & quinoa), chia seeds, goji berries & hemp seeds


ON MY ‘TO TRY’-LIST


To finish off this post (which turned out to be longer than expected, sorry ‘bout that :) ), I just want to mention a few superfoods that are still on my list to try out.

Açaí powder
Açaí powder has got to be the first on my list. I’ve seen açaí bowls all over my Instagram and can’t wait to try it out soon – especially since they say it has a berry flavour! This powder is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, giving you an energy boost when you need one.

Kale
Supposedly high in fibre, vitamin A, C & K. Still not quite sure if I’d like the taste of it though!

Maca powder
Maca powder is said to boost your energy levels, balance hormones and improve moods.

Matcha powder
Even though it sounds like the previous one, this matcha powder isn’t quite the same. It’s a form of green tea from Japan and is packed with antioxidants. Since it is said to give you an energy boost, it’s a great replacer for coffee!
I just got back from Budapest and noticed that you can even order matcha lattes in quite a lot of places actually!



Gosh, I’ve never typed that many minerals and vitamins in my life haha. If you’ve read up to this point, congrats and thanks! :) Hope this helped you in any way!
Let me know if I’ve left out any of your favourites!

Remember though that these so-called ‘superfoods’ don’t replace a healthy and balanced lifestyle. For me, they are just a great addition to my diet, especially since I avoid meat, fish or dairy.

Sources:

See you soon!

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