5 Superfoods you have in your Kitchen Right Now

Superfoods are all the rage with lucuma, mach and moringa being touted as the ‘must-have’ product. And yes, there’s likely to be some benefits from these foods, but the definition of superfood in itself is a food that’s nutrient-rich. Guess what? You’ve got plenty of nutrient-rich foods at home in your cupboards right now - some that you’re probably eating every day. We’ve highlighted our top 5 superfoods that we suspect you already have at home.

5 Superfoods you have in your Kitchen Right Now

 

GINGER

What is it? Ginger is a flowering plant which originates from China and is closely related to turmeric, cardamom and galangal. The main part that is normally eaten is the root.

Why is it a superfood? Ginger has been used for centuries to help aid many illnesses as it is considered a powerful anti-inflammatory with anti-oxidant effects. It has been used to treat nausea for people undergoing chemotherapy to those suffering from morning sickness. It is also thought to help reduce day to day progress of muscle soreness (or DOMS - delayed onset of muscle soreness) and improve osteoarthritis.

How to eat it? You can eat ginger fresh, steeping it in hot water with lemon to make a nourishing drink, or use it to flavour broths and other dishes. It can also be used dried, powdered or as an oil or juice.

 

BEETROOT

What is it? Considered a modern vegetable, it was cultivated by the romans. there’s  classic central and eastern european dish known as borscht - beetroot soup. Earth, delicious and distinctive. Same family as chard and spinach, both leave sand root can be eaten. Root is sweet, leaves are bitter. Has a high sugar content.

Why is it a superfood? The root of beetroot contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and folic aid. The leaves are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. The nitrates in the root are often eaten by athletes as it can increase oxygen in the blood and therefore improve sports ability. For many years, beetroot has been commonly used to treat disorders of the liver as it helps stimulate the liver’s detoxification process. It’s also a rich source of glutamine which is an amino acid essential to the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract.

How to eat it? Beetroot is hugely versatile - you can eat the root raw, cooked, pickled or in smoothies. You can even eat the green leafy part as you would spinach - steam it lightly and serve alongside a main meal. Beetroots come in many different colours, including white, golden and candy-striped but only red beetroots contain the cancer-fighting compound betacyanin.

 

CANTALOUPE MELON

What is it? Cantaloupe melon was first given it’s name after an Italian town in Rome called Cantaloupo. Seeds were brought from Armenia and planted during the 1400’s tp 1500’s. It’s a member of the Curcurbitacaea family which includes cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes, gourds and other melons. It has firm, orange sweet flesh with small flat oval seeds in the middle.

Why is it a superfood? Cantaloupe is rich in vitamin A and whilst it doesn’t beat carrots for its beta carotene levels, it still have 30 times higher levels than that of oranges. The seeds are a good source of omega 3 in the form of alpha linolenic acid and it’s thought to be an anti-inflammatory. These types of melons also contain a powerful enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), whose primary role is to protect your cells against the cell-damaging free radical superoxide. As you age, the amount of SOD in your body decreases, which is thought to be the reason why people get wrinkles and a breakdown of organs over time. However, in its natural form, the body cannot metabolise the SOD for its own benefits.

How to eat it? Melon flesh is most often eaten raw but it can also be blended into smoothies. You can also eat the seeds too - they’re little powerhouses of nutrition - rinse them in a sieve and bake with a little olive oil on a low heat until crunchy. If you want to gain the benefit of Superoxide Dismutase, then the best way to do this is through capsules which have been specially produced so that your body can metabolise it.

 

CORIANDER

What is it? Also known as cilantro, coriander is a herb whose whole plant can be eaten, but most commonly, the leaves and seeds.

Why is it a superfood? Coriander is a good source of dietary fibre, manganese, iron and magneiusm, as well as vitamin C, K and protein. Coriander is often taken by those suffering from anaemia as it’s high in iron and it's also been shown to help reduce blood pressure.

How to eat it? Serve the leaves as a garnish, or in curries. The seeds can be dried and eaten on their own as a snack or ground into a spice - it is a main component of garam masala. Love it or hate it, coriander has many heath benefits, including helping rid the body of heavy metals.

 

TOMATOES

What is it? Tomatoes didn’t come to the UK until the 1590’s and due to their shiny red fruit and relation to the nightshade family they were considered poisonous so it wasn’t until the mid 18th century that they were accepted in meals. Technically a fruit, they can also be considered a vegetable much to the confusion of some.

Why is it a superfood? A good source of vitamins S, C and K, as well as vitamin B6, folate and thiamin, tomatoes are also a good source of minerals including potassium and magnesium. Tomatoes are perhaps most famous for their lycopene content, a red carotene and carotenoid pigment. Lycopene is surprisingly, not an essential nutrient for humans, but it’s an antioxidant which can help defend against some cancers, including prostate cancer, cervical cancer and cancer of the stomach and rectum.

How to eat it? Whatever you do, don’t eat the leaves as they’re considered poisonous! The fruit can be eaten raw in salads, in sauces, as soup or juice. Surprisingly the lycopene content in tomatoes increases after heat-treating which is good news for tomato ketchup lovers. If you don’t have time to eat fresh tomatoes, but still want the benefits then a supplement such as Lyc-O-Mato may be best for you.

 

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