Please do not post:
- Aggressive or discriminatory language
- Profanities (of any kind)
- Trade secrets or confidential information
Thank you once again for doing your part to keep Medarabia the most trusted medical source.
Dubai, UAE: Let’s get one thing clear: the term ‘super food’ does not mean eating it alone will banish all your health troubles.
Let’s get another thing clear: eating these super foods, will however, help your body fight infections better, keep your system in a good condition and aid your overall efforts at staying healthy.
In fact, some superfoods have enough power in them to actually help you fight serious health problems like hypertension and breast cancer.
Yasmie Haddad, senior dietician at Live’ly, says these super foods are rich in anti-oxidants, contain many beneficial compounds that aid health and best of all, are found in practically every supermarket.
Speaking for herself, she says she does not term them super foods, as she believes that the term is nowadays being used more as a marketing gimmick but she is of the firm belief that these foods offer amazing benefits if you include them in your daily diet.
“There is no food that can help you lose weight instantly or banish all your health troubles,” she says. “In order for that to happen, you need to revise your lifestyle and balance your intake and calorie consumption with exercise and a non-sedentary lifestyle.”
Most people, she says, are aware of super foods but they do not take the trouble to include them in their diets regularly.
“They know it is good for them but when it comes to eating them regularly, they need someone to push them to make (diet) decisions,” she says. The typical excuse is that they are either too busy to make the change or too lazy.
The ‘super food’ tag is given to fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, omega 3, soy, fibre and other beneficial agents, says Yasmine.
These foods contain essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals — bioactive non-nutrient components in plants — that also play a role in determining the colour of fruits and vegetables. “The antioxidant properties may be considered effective on conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and overall good health,” says Haddad.
Haddad draws up a list of 10 foods that do wonders for you if you include them in your diet. However, she would also recommend from an individual nutritional perspective, to see a clinical dietician before making any significant changes to your diet.
Why is it good: A protein-rich grain, quinoa is perfect for vegans who do not get enough protein in their diet. It contains all essential amino acids, gluten free and contains fibre, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, iron, and copper. The minerals may help people with migraines, celiac disease, diabetes and atherosclerosis.
How to eat it: Quinoa can be boiled and cooked the same way as rice. It is a great addition to salads and hot dishes. Remember, you need to soak quinoa in water for 8 hours to remove the phytic acid that can otherwise prevent proper digestion.
How to eat it: Add to soups, salads and stir into couscous,
How much to eat: Quinoa is like any other nutritious grain. You can make it part of your daily diet.
Watch out for: No contra-indications.
Why is it good: Walnuts though rich in fat have the good variety of fat. Rich in polyunsaturateds such as omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats which are known to have many beneficial properties such as preventing cardiovascular disease and boosting the immune system. Walnuts are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, folic acid and iron which make it an ideal choice for pregnant women and those suffering from a high-lipid profile (high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
How to eat them: Straight from a packet or raw from whole walnuts. Toast them lightly to make them more delicious, toss them into salads, pilafs or in stir-fried vegetables; eat them as a snack. Walnuts are also found in many desserts but that would amount to excessive calories.
How much to eat: In moderate amounts of about 5-6 whole walnuts a day.
Watch out for: Excessive snacking! They can be quite irresistible.
Why is it good: It has antioxidant chemicals including gingerol and zingerone which in preliminary studies have shown to fight cancer and heart disease. It was found that gingerol was as effective as aspirin at preventing blood clotting, making it a potential aid against heart disease.
Mixed with honey, ginger provides instant relief from cough, cold, sore throat, and runny nose thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps sooth joint pain in those suffering from arthritis.
How to eat it: Ginger’s use in food is very diverse. In many cuisines, particularly from the sub continent, it is added to various cooked dishes such as curries, stir fries, rice dishes, biryanis, etc. Asian cuisines use a lot of ginger too. It can also be consumed raw as in its pickled form such as Japanese pickled ginger and Indian pickles made from ginger. Conserves and preserves also use ginger. It is also used in baked goods, and desserts. salads and sandwiches.
How much to eat; Taking excessive ginger in its raw form can cause gastro-intestinal problems.
Watch out for: People on anti-coagulants may need to be careful of consuming ginger.
Why is it good: An excellent source of vitamin C, manganese and fibre, berries are naturally sweet and contain powerful phytochemicals (flavonoids and phenolic acids) giving them a high antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage by suppressing growth of various cancer cells, increase your immunity and helps against infections and also decrease the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Cranberries and blueberries are recommended to treat bladder infections.
How to eat them: Berries can be consumed in various forms such as juice, dried or frozen fruit, and sauce. Another way is to add them to low-fat yogurt, make smoothies or use them in ice creams and baked goods. Eat them fresh too!
How much to eat; A cupful of berries or their equivalent is enough everyday to get all their benefits. Anything in excess is not a good idea.
Watch out for: People with clotting problems should avoid certain berries, such as goji berries.
Why is it good: This tropical fruit has a distinctive taste and colour and is rich in pre-biotic dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. It plays an important role in protecting against colon, breast, leukaemia and prostate cancers due to its antioxidant activity. It is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids such as beta-carotene. These compounds are beneficial for vision and help maintain a healthy and glowing skin. Mango is a very rich source of potassium which helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
How to eat them: Mango can be enjoyed as a healthy treat at its ripest best. It can be chopped or sliced into salads, salsas, in fruit salads and compotes and coulis or fruit sauces to be poured in ice cream.
How much to eat: Excessive consumption of mangoes is not advised as it can lead to indigestion, heat in the body, cramps and other problems.
Watch out for: Some African mangoes are contraindicated for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Why it is good: These are amazingly low in calories. One medium-size peach (150g) provides 60 calories. However, if canned in syrup, the calorie count increases significantly due to the added sugar. Peaches are rich in vitamin C and have a gentle laxative effect. They are also known to be rich in iron and potassium. This fruit helps boost the immune system and improve digestion.
How to eat them: Eat them ripe and sweet, add them to fruit salads, cakes, juices and smoothies.
How much to eat: A few peaches a day, fresh, will do you a world of good.
Watch out for: Some people may be allergic to peaches.
Why is it good: Avocado has many medicinal properties and is a rich source of monounsaturated fats. good fats, which help lower blood cholesterol levels. It is a good source of potassium and regulates blood pressure. (A sufficient intake of potassium in your diet can also help prevent heart disease, or stroke.) Potassium also helps to control blood sugar.
How to eat them: You can eat a perfectly ripe avocado on its own but it is best eaten in salads, guacamole, salsa. The latter will not only provide a rich, creamy flavour to your dishes but will also greatly increase your body’s ability to absorb the health-promoting carotenoid that vegetables provide.
How much to eat: Be moderate, if you are watching your calories. A half cup of avocado a day is fine.
Watch out for: Nothing except if you are allergic to it. (Some people are).
Why it is good: Salmon is considered an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and selenium. It is also a very good source of protein, niacin and vitamin B12 and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B6. Despite being labelled as a ‘fatty fish’, salmon is actually low in calories and saturated fat, and has recently been evaluated as having a superior fat composition because of its rich omega-3 content and its balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. All these features lead to a reduced risk of inflammation and help maintain the integrity of the immune and circulatory systems.
How to eat it: Raw (as in sushi), cooked, baked, added to cold sandwiches, egg dishes such as omelettes, scrambled eggs, in quiches, etc.
How much to eat: Experts normally advise you to eat salmon upto five times a week.
Watch out for: People with liver problems should check with their doctor first because of salmon oil.
Why it is good: This is a an extremely low-calorie vegetable, providing just 26 calories per 100g and containing no saturated fats or cholesterol. Recent studies have shown that pumpkin is effective in controlling blood cholesterol levels as well as weight. It is rich in healthy nutrients such as fibres, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. The natural anti-oxidant vitamins present in pumpkin are vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E. Pumpkin seeds have also shown to be heart healthy since they contain dietary fibres and mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
How to eat it: Pumpkin can be used in vegetarian curries, stews, baked or stewed and added to salads, pies, quiches and soups, For maximum nutrient retention, bake, stew or steam pumpkin.
How much to eat: It is safe to be eaten everyday in normal helpings.
Watch out for: There are currently no known contra-indications.
Why it is good: This edible fungi and its different types of species have shown to possess antibacterial and anti-cancerous properties (especially against prostate and breast cancer). They can be eaten raw or cooked and are part of many dishes in many cuisines. The vitamins found in mushrooms help boost the immune system and help fight against microbial and fungal infections. Mushrooms have a good amount of protein and iron and make a great addition to the vegetarian diet.
How to eat them; One of the most versatile items in the food world, mushrooms can be eaten raw and cooked. They lend themselves to salads, soups, vegetarian main courses, quiches, stir fried dishes, pies, casseroles and roulades.
How much to eat: You can eat mushrooms every day of the week in any of the forms mentioned above.
Watch out for: Fungi allergy. In which case, avoid.
© Gulf NewsSep 2012
Please do not post:
Thank you once again for doing your part to keep Medarabia the most trusted medical source.