What are super fruits/foods?
Super fruits and super foods are labelled this way because they contain more vitamins, fibres and anti-oxidants that most other foods! It is suggested that by regularly eating these foods it can help you live longer but they must be bought fresh/frozen and not be processed. These super foods are very high in anti-oxidants, this helps protect your cells from damaging molecules known as free radicals. Too many free radicals in the body are dangerous because it leads to oxidative stress. This can, as a consequence, cause cell damage which can be the cause of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Super fruits on the other hand are packed with vitamins (particularly vitamins A, C & E) which help the body’s immune system, fights diseases and prevents them. Most super fruits are found in exotic places but there are still quite a few easily accessible super fruits that can be incorporated into our meals! More importantly these super fruits/foods have only shown short term benefits so it is really important that they are consumed for a long period of time to really get the most effective health benefits from them.
The most commonly known super fruit that are regularly used are blueberries. They are believed to have a positive impact on the brains function and memory and they help our metabolism work better. They can help make us feel energised because of the high levels of manganese in them. They can be easily put in your porridge in the morning or blended in a smoothie pre or post workout!
Another super fruit is acai berries, these are quite similar to blueberries by the fact they are really high in anti-oxidants, they even contain more than blueberries! Although these do come from Brazil so it is hard to find them fresh but they are a really good fruit!
Believe it or not one super fruit that is right on our doorstep is the strawberry! This super fruit is easy to put in smoothies, put on your breakfast or just have on it its own! Some of the health benefits of strawberries are that it helps to burn stored fat! So if you are on a diet make sure these are eaten in abundance. This happens because a substance in them called anthocyanins (which gives them the red colouring) is what stimulates the burning of stored fat! Super fruits also have anti-aging properties, this is because of the anti-oxidant ellagic acid which helps prevent the skin sagging. One more health benefit of strawberries is that it has high levels of potassium, vitamin K and magnesium, these vitamins and minerals help keep our bones strong and healthy!
One of the most well-known super foods is beetroot and beetroot juice which has been confirmed as really beneficial for the heart. This is because of the high levels of nitrate in beetroot which is converted into nitric oxide within the body. This then dilates the blood vessels and allows more nutrients to flow to the muscles which is really beneficial in exercise. Furthermore, it has been shown to lower blood pressure and the probability of blood clotting.
Spinach is another super food that can be used in lots of different meals or even smoothies. It is the highest vegetable protein so eat lots of it! Furthermore, spinach is full of vitamin K and A, and has a good amount of fibre in it. Vitamin K has even been known to help slow down tumour growth.
Tip: Make sure you boil your spinach; this allows the body to access more nutrients from it. And eat it alongside something high in vitamin C as this also helps to break it down.
Another super food is kale which is similar to spinach as it is high in vitamins K & A. A cup of kale can supply you with 659% of your RDA of vitamin A and 900% of vitamin K! It is also known as one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet so be sure to involve this any way you can! One advantage kale has over spinach is that it has 4.5 times more vitamin C! Finally one of the most interesting facts about kale is that it can help prevent cancer because of a substance called sulforaphane.
Tip: Some of the nutrients found in kale cannot be absorbed by the body so eat it with something fatty to get the most out of it.
Flaxseeds are rapidly becoming known as a major super food, they have lots of great health benefits and they can be added to lots of meals and smoothies. Flaxseeds have been shown to reduce the risks of lots of diseases including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They are full of omega 3 fatty acids which are good for the heart, they are in fact one of the best plant based sources for this. It is best to grind them to get the most from them and they are one of the essential “good fats” we should be having in our diets.
Quick smoothie recipes
Smoothies are a quick and easy way of reaching your 5 a day and giving you a great boost! With the right ingredients you can get tonnes of different vitamins and minerals, even add a scoop of protein to any of these if you use it as a post work out smoothie!