Shaping Up: Five ‘superfoods’ you should eat regularly

Avocado is among the superfoods you should eat as part of a healthy diet.
Avocado is among the superfoods you should eat as part of a healthy diet.

‘Superfood’ is the latest buzzword in the world of health. You’ve probably seen or heard it a lot recently.

What qualifies a food to be a ‘superfood’?

Acai berries come from the rainforests of South America.

Acai berries come from the rainforests of South America.

Basically, it’s any kind of food that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which gives you lots of health benefits.

These are the five superfoods that I recommend having regularly as part of your healthy eating diet:

1. Avocado

Although most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, don’t let that put you off!

Avocados are full of healthy, beneficial fats that help to keep you full.

When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off your appetite.

Eating good fats slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable.

Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even help boost the immune system.

Despite its creamy texture, an avocado is actually high in fibre so can help prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract, and lower the risk of colon cancer.

2. Matcha

Matcha is a powdered form of green tea.

When you drink traditional green tea (from a tea bag), the leaves get infused into the hot water, then the leaves are discarded.

With matcha being in powder form, it dissolves into the water meaning you’re drinking the actual leaves, making it a more potent source of nutrients.

Matcha is packed with antioxidants that have been tied to protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and anti-aging.

Another antioxidant in matcha has been shown to boost metabolism.

The traditional way to consume matcha is to drink it with hot water.

But you can also add it to smoothies, soups, muffins and breakfast bowls.

3. Acai

Acai berries come from the rainforests of South America.

They contain very high levels of antioxidants which help fight cancer and heart disease, and help aid weight loss and anti-aging.

Açai is normally sold frozen or in tablets, powders, or juices.

I would advise that you avoid açai juices, because they usually contain added sugar.

I recommend buying acai powder that you can blend in with smoothies.

4. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and calcium.

They are great for people who don’t eat a lot of fish, because it’s a good way to get plant-based omega-3s in your diet.

They have a lovely taste, crunch, and nutty flavour.

You can add them to overnight oats and smoothies, or sprinkle them on salads, and stir-fries.

5. Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is high in proteins, amino acids, vitamins and folic acid.

It contains more amino acids gram for gram than beef, eggs or cheese, which makes it a good vegetarian source of protein. It also contains all of the B vitamins, including vitamin B12 which can be hard to find in vegetarian sources.

It can help increase energy due to the high B vitamin content and includes large amounts antioxidants that helps strengthen capillaries and blood vessels, which can support the cardiovascular system.

Bee pollen comes in granules, capsules and chewable tablets.

I prefer the granules so I can mix it in with my morning smoothie bowl, overnight oats or protein drink.

If you are new to taking bee pollen, start off with a small dose and build it up, to make sure that you’re not sensitive to the pollens.

Most supplements will come with guidelines on how to use it.