In keeping with the company's stated goal to try to make some of the mysteries surrounding Fitness and Nutrition a tad clearer, today's article is about "Superfoods".
What are they and why have they been given the sobriquet Superfood?
There's a lot of buzz in the health and fitness world about 'superfoods.' You know the ones - the bright purple berries from the Amazon rainforest or the edible seaweed from the shores of Hawaii. And sure, these foods are pretty nutritious; but they can't make up the bulk of your diet. Whilst the likes of goji berries and baobab may be worshipped by pretentious health foodies, it's very unlikely that they're living off them alone.
The fact is, the real 'superfoods' in your diet will be the ones that give you the bulk of your macronutrients and micronutrients. The ones that you can afford to eat each day. Because, let's face it - when you're on a budget, the last thing you need is to be blowing £9.99 on a 100g bag of spirulina.
Here are 10 'superfoods' that may already be hiding in your home!
Love it or hate it, garlic is a powerful superfood that you should add regularly to your diet for a range of reasons. Garlic is a well-known immune booster, but did you know it has also been shown to have preventative effects against various cancers and tumours? It promotes healthy joints, healthy circulation, and can also help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
The health benefits of garlic come from a unique compound called allicin, which is unlocked when exposed to oxygen particles. It is recommended that you finely chop garlic and leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes before cooking to maximise these benefits.
If there were a king of all spices, it would have to be turmeric. Turmeric contains curcumin, one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man, which has been shown to have a unique ability to preserve brain cell function and slow the rate of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Best of all, turmeric is delicious too - try adding a pinch to your scrambled eggs, or combine with some black pepper and coriander for a tasty seasoning for chicken and fish.
Remember the days where 'experts' told you to throw out the egg yolks? This may well have been one of the worst pieces of dietary advice ever handed out, as when we toss the yolks we miss out on a bunch of important nutrients including selenium, choline, B vitamins and vitamin D. Eggs are cheap, versatile and a great source of protein, so include them regularly in your diet to keep your body and your bank balance happy.
Wild salmon is much more than just a tasty protein source; it's one of the richest sources of omega 3 on the planet, an extremely important fatty acid that many of us don't get enough of. Every cell in our body needs omega 3, most notably our brain, joints and heart. Ditch the expensive fish oil supplements and chow down on wild salmon two to three times each week.
This fiery, zesty root works a treat for digestion, as it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices and has been shown to increase nutrient absorption from food. Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, meaning great news for your joints and muscles. Try combining it with turmeric and a little raw honey for a recovery-boosting herbal tea.
No fruit bowl is complete without a perfectly ripe avocado sitting there waiting to be eaten. Avocados are packed with folate, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin K, not to mention a generous helping of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. If your daily avocado habit is getting too expensive, try buying them when they are still firm (and cheaper!) and leaving them on your windowsill to ripen for a few days before eating.
You may be very happy to read this one! A high quality dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids or higher) can make an incredible addition to just about any diet. Not only is it packed with antioxidants and an excellent source of soluble fibre, but dark chocolate also contains a unique compound called phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a proven mood enhancer. Just be sure to choose a high quality dark chocolate with a low sugar content and no nasty additives.
See that bright orange coloured flesh of the humble sweet potato? It's a tell-tale sign of the rich concentration of beta-carotene, which helps to maintain a healthy immune system, strong eyesight and healthy skin. Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutrient dense carb sources on the planet and also a great source of soluble fibre - the perfect addition to the diet of any athlete.
They might be the butt of tasteless jokes at the Christmas dinner table, but Brussels Sprouts pack a serious nutritional punch that make them worth eating all year round. Brussels are loaded with a vast array of nutrients, including copper, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. Eating just one cup per day (roughly seven to eight sprouts) has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 71% in men and 59% in women.
If you're training hard and eating a lot of calories to compensate, pineapple may be your superfruit saviour. Pineapple contains a unique protein digesting enzyme called bromelain, which improves the rate at which protein is absorbed and assimilated. Pineapple is also a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fibre - and at just 25p per serving, there's no reason not to start adding this tropical fruit to your diet.