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Top 10 superfoods

We often associate superfoods with being hard to come by and expensive. But eating well doesn’t have to be costly and we’ve found a that a few of the foods we eat everyday, and can come by at our local supermarket, can actually do wonders for our health. Here’s our to 10:

1. Onions

Of all things, onions are full of disease fighting properties. They contain a high amount of quercetin, an antioxidant that protects damaged cells and even strengthens them. They also help to raise good cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure and thin the blood to prevent blood clots.

Tip: They’re flavourful and can be added to many dishes as a base. We love them in stir-fries, our gravy for roast dinners, mixed into scrambled eggs, pasta sauces, soups and stews.

2. Garlic

Garlic can increase the immune function by promoting the growth of white cells, which help to fight off germs. Studies have shown that garlic can slow the growth of harmful bacteria, yeasts and fungi, and has even been a proven alternative to antibiotics. It can also help lower LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Tip: Like onion, use garlic to add flavour to your dishes. If you want a more powerful effect, give garlic mash a try.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli really has it all! It’s packed full of vitamins C, A and K, along with calcium, magnesium, fibre, beta-carotene and other antioxidants. Studies have found that eating non-starchy veg like broccoli can reduce the risk of some cancers. It is considered to be one of the most powerful immunity boosters available.

Tip: Mix broccoli into your salad, soups and pasta dishes, or lightly steam for a side dish.

4. Blueberries

They’re a well-known source of powerful nutrients. They contain vitamins C and K, as well as fibre, manganese and other high levels of antioxidants. The healthy fruit can help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes, and improve your cardiovascular health. Blueberries also contain catechins, which can activate fat-burning genes in abdominal fat cells to help with weight loss. Not only do they do all that, but the teeny berries can decrease free radical levels and prevent ageing.

Tip: Grab a handful of berries, whether they are fresh, dried or frozen and add them to your morning smoothie, cereal, or mixing them into your yoghurt.

5. Nuts

All variety of nuts contain healthy oils and fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals, potent phytochemicals and amino acid. They are a source of protein and are beneficial for the heart by reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Nuts also help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels yet maintain healthy levels of HDL cholesterol.

Tip: You can add nuts into any of your meals or even as snacks. Sprinkle them on salads, grind them to add to a marinade for your fish or chicken, or make your own nut flour to make homemade dishes. Health advisers recommend walnuts as they are packed with omega-3 and are filled with anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Kale

Kale contains phytonutrient, a substance found in certain plants, that reduces the risk of some cancers, including breast and ovarian. Studies have shown that phytonutrients trigger the liver to produce enzymes that neutralise cancer-causing substances. Kale also contains more iron than beef, making it a pretty hefty superfood.

Tip: Add kale to smoothies or as a leafy base to your salads. You can even fry it up and mix into your stir-fry for extra crispiness.

7. Avocado

Avocado’s are often overlooked for its high fat content but its mix of healthy fats and nutrients make it a top superfood. It contains oleic acid, lutein, folate, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and glutathione, which can all protect your body from heart disease, cancer and degenerative eye and brain diseases.

Tip: Try spreading it on your toast with a bit of black pepper and olive oil, add it to your smoothie to make it thicker and creamier and even use in desserts to make your own truffles and mousse.

8. Chocolate

Dark chocolate specifically is full of health benefits. It’s full of antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and boost heart health. It can also reduce inflammation and LDL cholesterol, as well as prevent cell damage.

Tip: To gain the health benefits of chocolate we have to take moderate doses of around 29 grams of chocolate- that’s at least 70% cocoa. Add yours to your breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon.

9. Salmon

Salmon has been a long celebrated superfood. It is rich in protein, vitamin D, selenium, B2, B3, B6, B12 and omega-3 fatty acids (very good for the brain). With all that, salmon is able to protect you from cancer, cardiovascular problems, macular degeneration, depression and cognitive decline.

Tip: You should aim for two servings of oily fish a week. So try mixing up your lunchtime sandwich with a salmon filling, or maybe a salmon salad? Why not treat yourself every now and then and enjoy slices of salmon for breakfast.

10. Beans

Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans (and more) are full of B vitamins, calcium, potassium and folate, which all contribute to a healthy lifestyle. They help raise the levels of the hormone leptin, which curbs appetite while maintaining a healthy brain, cell and skin function and even reduces blood pressure and stroke risk.

Tip: The best way to add beans to your diet is to add them as a side dish instead of bread or potatoes. They will leave you feeling fuller for longer and a slow release of energy. Try mixing up a dish of beans with your favourite sauce or spices.

There are many types of superfoods that can suit your diet and taste, which all offer different ways to benefit your body. Our diets should be based around these types of foods to increase our health and aid with reparation. Plus, with a wide variety of tasty ways to incorporate them into our meals, why would you want to be without them?

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