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  • Eryl McCaffrey

Top 6 Superfoods!


Quinoa, blueberries, cinnamon (add almond milk and warm). That’s a superfood combo!


Sometimes all you need to do is just say the word to someone and they’ll look at you like your eyes are melting off your face. The truth is superfoods are seriously powerful and often misunderstood. These foods come right from nature and aren’t human-made. If you’ve seen “Superfood!” products that look heavily processed or manufactured, they probably are and they don’t deserve the title. Authentic superfoods are typically low in calorie and packed with nutrients.  A little bit goes a long way. I’m always looking for ways to boost my antioxidant levels for many health reasons.  Cancer is predominant in my family and I know antioxidants can reduce my risk of developing it. Superfoods are superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients that we all require but can’t create ourselves.  So, in the name of optimal health and longevity here are my top 6 superfoods!

1)    Pumpkin seeds- Eat these as a tasty snack packed with phytosterols, which lowers cholesterol.  Just ¼ cup of pepitas, as they’re sometimes called, gives you omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron. Growing up, one of my favourite parts of Halloween was gutting the pumpkin so we could roast all the seeds in the oven with a little salt. So tasty and healthy!

2)    Goji berries– New studies are using this Himalayan berry to treat malaria, fever, diabetes, cancer and more. They beat oranges out of the park as far as vitamin C is concerned, and crush carrots in beta-carotene levels. They look a little like raisins but are more red and tart. Goji berries are tasty on top of cereal in the morning.

3)    Quinoa- If you’re a fellow vegetarian or a celiac, this supergrain is likely a staple in your diet. Quinoa falls under the category of a complete protein, because it has all of the 8 essential amino acids we require for the development of tissue. It’s lower in sodium than wheat, barley and corn and higher in all the good stuff like calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. My favourite way to use this grain-with-a-funky- name is as a rice substitute in a stir-fry. It’s awesome on fresh spinach salads, as well!

4)    Cinnamon- At one time this ancient spice was considered more precious than gold– and for good reason. New research shows the insulin-like effects of cinnamon’s polyphenols has the potential to lower blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. A study out of Penn State also found that cinnamon helps combat the body’s negative response to consuming high-fat foods. Sprinkle it on your toast or add it to your smoothie.

5)    Turmeric- This is the spice that makes curry yellow. Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine have been using this herb for centuries to treat aches and inflammation associated with arthritis and it’s also a powerful antioxidant. The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which neutralizes free radicals in the body that can cause aging and disease. You can rub this on chicken or add it to any Indian-style dish.

6)    Eggs- If you’re avoiding this amazing food because you’re scared of cholesterol smack yourself silly for a second. Despite popular belief, eating one egg a day doesn’t change your cholesterol levels.  However, eating more than 6 or 7 a day, in combination with a high-fat diet could definitely impact your cholesterol levels. Just don’t overdo it. Eggs have tons of protein and 100% of the carotenoids we need for our eyes to be healthy. They also come packed with vitamins A, D, E, B6, B12 and more!  My go-to is Mexican-style scrambled eggs with salsa, spinach, onion, garlic and a little feta cheese.

It’s important more now than ever to seek out food that’s full of nutrients. We can pack our plates full of rich leafy greens and colourful fruits, but there’s always the possibility that they have been grown on mineral depleted soils.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “agricultural practices, such as intercropping, crop rotation, residue management, tillage with the moldboard plow, fertilizer application, pesticide use, irrigation or drainage and grazing techniques, have all a bearing on the composition and functioning of soil organisms as well as the physical and chemical constituencies of the soil environment.” Sounds to me like superfoods are a good choice.

References:

Vinent, Lauren. “Top 10 superfoods: Goji berries, cinnamon, turmeric and more.” CanadianLiving.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/top_10_superfoods_goji_berries_cinnamon_turmeric_and_more.php&gt;.

“Dr. Oz’s Favorite Superfoods.” The Dr. Oz Show. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/dr-ozs-10-favorite-superfoods?gallery=true&page=7&gt;.

“How to improve soil biodiversity through agriculture.” Plant Production and Protection Division: Agriculture and soil biodiversity. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, n.d. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://www.fao.org/agriculture/crops/thematic-sitemap/theme/spi/soil-biodiversity/agriculture-and-soil-biodiversity/en/&gt;.

“What are the health benefits of cinnamon?.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 15 Sept. 2013. Web. 2 June 2014. .

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