It should come as no surprise that modern day diets aren’t as healthy as they should be. And with so much unhealthy food readily available, time, cost and convenience often overrule healthier choices.
However, what’s put into your body has a direct effect on not only your waistline, but also your hair, skin, immune system and mental health too.
So with this in mind, we’re talking superfoods, what they are and how they can help you stay naturally beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.
Nutritionally rich, superfoods are natural foods such as berries, seeds, grains, algae, vegetables and fruits – all of which can have a positive effect on the body.
Containing large percentages of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants, unlike other similar healthy foods with 2 or 3 nutritional properties, superfoods often have 12 or more.
Improving physical and mental health, strengthening the immune system and increasing resistance to disease, superfoods are known to improve metabolism, burn calories, increase energy and rejuvenate skin, body and mind. Split into 4 categories, Superfoods can be categorised as:
Green vegetables containing high concentrations of vitamins, proteins, minerals and healthy bacteria, green Superfoods include Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Spirulina, Chlorella, Spinach and Kale. Other vegetables however are Leeks, Broccoli, Legumes, Peas, Beans and Lentils.
Fruit and Nut Superfoods
Great at killing bad bacteria, fruit and nut Superfoods include Acai Berries, Blueberries, Cranberries, Goji Berries, Mulberries, Pomegranate, Maqui Berry, Almonds, Walnuts, Raw Cacao and Coconut.
Full of vitamins and other medicinal properties, herb Superfoods include Nettle, Aloe Vera, Echinacea, Ginseng, Devil’s Claw, Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, Marigold, Turmeric, Anise and Basil.
Other Superfoods rich in fatty Omega-3 fatty acids include Salmon, Sardines and Mackerel. However products derived from bee pollen such as honey and royal jelly, as well as a large variety of seaweeds are also considered Superfoods.
With so many Superfoods to choose from, here are our top 3:
Blueberries – said to improve memory and help protect against heart disease, rich in vitamins C and K, soluble fibre, Manganese and other antioxidants, some nutritionists believe if you were to make one change to your diet, Blueberries should be it.
Kale – great for digestive health, Kale contains your daily intake (and more) of vitamin A plus almost your daily vitamin C intake. With more iron per calorie than red meat it’s high in fibre and more nutritious than Spinach.
Oily Fish (Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel) – said to help guard against heart disease, vision loss and dementia, oily fish are a good source of vitamins D, B and Selenium as well as Omega-3 Fatty Acid –ideal for hair, skin and nails.
How to Eat
Although there are many delicious meals you can make with Superfoods, why not try an ESPA favourite – Chickpea Curry. A great way to pre-plan meals as it can be frozen or refrigerated, this healthy and fulling curry is jam packed with tasty Superfood ingredients:
- 2 large Onions
- 1 large Butternut Squash
- 4 big handfuls raw Spinach
- 2 cans Coconut Milk (light)
- Coconut Oil
- 1 can of Chickpeas, drained
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 4 Carrots
- 1 small Sweet Potato
- 3 tbsp mild Curry Powder
- 1 tbsp ground Ginger
- 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
- Natural live yoghurt to serve
- Chop Onions and Garlic, and in a large saucepan, lightly sauté in Coconut Oil till golden
- Cut up Butternut Squash and Carrots and set aside into cubes
- Blend or mix the Coconut Milk, Curry Powder, Ground Ginger and Tomato Puree
- Add Butternut Squash, Carrots and Chickpeas to your pan and continue to stir
- Pour in the curry sauce mixture and continue to stir
- Put a lid on the mix and leave to simmer for 45 mins to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes
- After one hour add the spinach and continue to stir
- Serve with quinoa, brown rice, or on a bed of raw spinach and a dollop of natural live yoghurt