Superfood Lowdown: 5 of the Biggest Superfoods in 2018
By: Angelica Malin
Superfoods were all the rage in 2017; we were heaping spoonfuls of spirulina into our morning smoothies, blending matcha into our brownies and baking up a storm with chia seeds. But times have changed – we’ve become more sceptical of what the word ‘superfood’ really means (no food, in isolation, is going to change your life, let’s be honest) and I, for one, don’t want to consume anything with a £££ price point that doesn’t have some tried and tested health benefits. Especially if it tastes like pond water. So here’s my honest, considered guide to the biggest superfoods in 2018 – ones that are more than just a fancy trend or the next big fad. Here’s 5 superfoods I’m totally loving that can help you become your healthiest, happiest self:
For Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: Turmeric
Turmeric offers some extraordinary effects on health, from boosting the immune system, fighting common colds, to reducing cellular inflammation around the entire body. Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory that makes it an instant alternative to synthetic drugs and traditional medication and helps fight infection, reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. Try it in your delicious drinks!
For Endurance: Beetroot
Athletes are always looking for a competitive edge, whether it’s elite level professionals looking to shave mere milliseconds off their personal best, or just a keen cyclist or runner hoping to beat their goal. An unlikely source for a competitive edge is beetroot. It has been scientifically proven that beetroot can improve endurance performance, with cyclists increasing their maximum time of cycling by 16% and runners increasing their speed by 5%. High levels of nitrates found in beetroot reduces the oxygen cost of exercise, opens the blood vessels allowing more oxygen to flow, as well as lowering blood pressure. So, the tastiest way to improve your endurance performance is by enjoying a delicious beetroot salad with feta and walnuts, a homemade beetroot soup or a morning carrot and beetroot juice. Drink up! If you’re in the UK, try the delicious Gosh! Beetroot Burger and the Beetroot Falafel – they are so good.
For Bowel Health: Prunes
These little-dried plums really pack a health punch – many people consider them to be the ultimate superfood. It’s well known that eating them regularly will keep you, well, regular – which has the nice side effect of reducing the risk of colon cancer. But prunes’ health benefits go far beyond the behind… As well as containing twice as many free-radical fighting antioxidants than blueberries, they contain high levels of phytonutrients called phenols which protect against cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses. The soluble fibre which keeps your insides going also helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, helping to fight type two diabetes and obesity. Rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds, a 2011 study found they were the best fruit to prevent and reverse the loss of bone density. Try Benefit Drinks’ CLEANSE 100% Prune Juice – it has a light and refreshing taste which will naturally aid digestion and promote good bone health.
For a Vitamin Powerhouse: Watercress
Watercress is known to contain over 50 vital vitamins and minerals; in fact, this leafy powerhouse, gram for gram, contains more calcium than milk, more Vitamin C than oranges, more folate than a banana and more Vitamin E than broccoli. Like beetroot, watercress contains natural nitrates, but at far higher levels. When chewed these nitrates are converted to nitrites by specialist bacteria found naturally at the back of our mouth and, once in our stomachs into a gaseous form of nitrogen which enters our bloodstream. The effect on our cardiovascular system is to create elasticity in the blood vessels allowing for reduced blood pressure. In the USA, Whole Foods Market runs the ANDI (aggregate nutrient density index) which measures the amount of nutrients in a food related to the amount of energy. The ANDI score is based on a scale of 1 to 1000 with 1000 being the highest nutrient density possible and has been developed to help consumers make smart nutritious decisions. Watercress scores a whopping 1000 on the scale putting it in joint first place, right at the top of the crops and way ahead of blueberries, edamame, broccoli and spinach. Get making those salads!
For Healthy Fats: Sprouted Hemp Seeds
This year it’s all about sprouted products. This Organic Sprouted Hemp Oil uses the popular superfood, hemp seeds, which are high in nutrients and a natural source of fibre, protein and omega 3, contributing to the maintenance of muscle mass, bones and normal blood cholesterol levels. Unlike existing hemp products, the sprouted techniques used allows your body to absorb the all-important nutrients, making the oil the perfect addition to a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Add some on your avocado toast for a superfood hit first thing in the morning…