From the plains of South Africa to the depths of the Amazon jungle to the peaks of Kashmir, these superfoods… stop.
You don’t have to embark on an Indiana Jones-style crusade to track down and enjoy the benefits of superfoods – aka nutrient-dense foods that punch above their weight when it comes to delivering the good stuff. It can actually be really simple to incorporate superfoods into a balanced, three meals a day diet. Believe it or not, most of these superfoods are probably already in your cupboard right now. Come with us as we redefine superfoods for the everyday.
1. The humble oat
Yes, oats – the stuff your porridge is made out of – are pretty darn super. Along with packing the kind of good carbs that will power you through ’til lunchtime, the soluble fiber in these little suckers has been shown to reduce cholesterol.
Many visitors to New Zealand and Australia head home with a few jars of Manuka honey in their luggage, but any natural, low-processed honey can have excellent nutritional benefits. The antibacterial properties can help lessen the duration of sore throats, coughs, colds and other respiratory illnesses, and help feed-good gut bacteria.
3. Apple (with the peel intact!)
Research shows the ol’ apple can benefit heart health, reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes and aid weight loss. But did you know a large portion of that apple-y goodness is in its skin? The peel packs half an apple’s fiber – which helps you feel fuller for longer – plus a host of antioxidants.
1. Baby spinach
Whether you toss it in a salad or squeeze it into a sandwich, this leafy green will pay you back in spades with nutrients. Folate is essential for women heading into pregnancy; iron and vitamin K are essential for blood health; the body puts vitamin A to work across the immune system, vision and skin and bones. Baby spinach also packs potassium and magnesium and is, of course, the cutest of all spinaches.
If you’re brave enough to stink out the office, a tin of tuna – again, a great base for a salad or sandwich – is a pre-packed lunch powerhouse. It’s high in protein (which can help you feel full until dinnertime) and good omega-3 fatty acids. Not to mention it’s easy to pack.
3. Sourdough bread
Let’s face it – packed lunches don’t come any easier than a sandwich. But deciding which bread to go with is a bit of a minefield these days. So we turned to Centr chef Dan Churchill – who steered us towards sourdough. Beyond being tasty, there’s some evidence this dense bread is easier for gluten-sensitive folks to tolerate, and is, surprisingly, a low-glycemic index food. Try to choose a rye-based bread over white flour for better nutritional value.
1. Sweet potato
From Chris Hemsworth to Tiffiny Hall, Centr’s training experts are fuelled by sweet potato. The carbohydrates in sweet potatoes won’t just get you through your next session, Centr chef Dan Churchill explains, they’re also a post-workout meal essential: “It's really important you have readily available lean protein and carbohydrates.” Protein helps repair your damaged tissues, but healthy, easy-to-digest carbs will help you have the energy to get on with your day while your body recovers. But no need to go overboard — pair a serving of sweet potatoes (3 oz) with lean chicken breast or your favorite protein source and you’re set.
2. Tamari almonds
OK, it’s really the almonds here that are the superfood. But the tamari deserves a highlight for making them extra tasty. Almonds are packed with protein and help fight bad cholesterol. But when you’re chopping them up to add crunch to your next salad or rice bowl, tamari delivers a great salty taste a la soy sauce. Plus, it’s made with little to no wheat – great news for the gluten-free! Centr’s resident plant-based foods proponent Simon Hill is a big tamari fan (tamari-marinated tofu is a staple of his Japanese Buddha Bowl).
3. Brussels sprouts
Obviously, you don’t need to eat a dinner-sized plate of Brussels sprouts, but if you’re looking for a veg to add to your main dish, this one is well worth the few extra minutes of prep. A half cup contains your entire daily value of vitamin K, nearly all your vitamin C, and even a couple of grams of protein to boot.
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