Superfoods and their health benefits as part of a well balanced diet
In the third and final part of our A – Z of ‘Superfoods’ series we look at the last remaining letters of the alphabet and the foods they correlate to. Take a look below at the health benefits that foods like spinach, walnuts and virgin coconut oil could add to your healthy diet.
Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2 of the series – do you incorporate these foods into your diet? If not, now’s the time to get started!
Although all berries are good for you, raspberries are considered to be one of the best berries when it comes to the health benefits they possess. Raspberries are high in ellagic acid which has proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, and are also rich in compounds that contain anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral and antibacterial properties. Raspberries also have powerful antioxidant levels – they contain ellagic acid, quercetin, cyanidins, catechins, anthocyanins, gallic acid, kaempferol and salicylic acid, all of which help to protect the body against several different types of diseases.
There was good reason that spinach made Popeye into a powerhouse! Spinach is well known for being a good source of iron, but it also contains vitamins A, D, E and K – plus calcium and magnesium, which ensures your bone health is well looked after. More than a dozen different flavonoid compounds have been found in spinach – these carry anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and studies on spinach have showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer. BULK POWDERS™ Spinach Powder is perfect for adding to smoothies and shakes to boost their nutritional content.
The reason that the tomato is so healthy is mostly due to its colour. The red comes from an antioxidant called lycopene which is an incredibly powerful antioxidant boasting twice the power of beta-carotene when it comes to neutralising free radicals. Beta-carotene is also found within tomatoes though, helping to support the immune system and maintaining healthy skin and tissue. Vitamin E, vitamin C, dietary fibre and potassium are also found in tomatoes.
Not one of the most popular or easily available fruits in the UK, the ugli fruit deserves a mention on this list due to its huge vitamin C content. One serving of ugli fruit contains 70% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C, making it a must-eat for anyone looking to keep their immunity strong. Vitamin C is also essential for collagen formation, so despite its name, an ugli fruit will keep your skin, gums and muscles looking beautiful! A cross between a grapefruit, tangerine and orange, it also contains fibre to keep your digestive system healthy.
VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
Virgin Coconut Oil is cholesterol-free and contains zero trans-fatty acids. It is a good source of lauric acid (more than any other food source), which is converted to monolaurin by the body and has antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal properties. The medium chain triglycerides found in Virgin Coconut Oil help to stimulate metabolism and assist with weight loss. BULK POWDERS™ Organic Virgin Coconut Oil makes an ideal replacement for other oils and can be used as a moisturiser too as it helps to protect the skin from free radicals, reducing the presence of lines and wrinkles by nourishing connective tissue.
There have been a number of studies that prove the ‘superpowers’ of watercress in fighting cancer. A study from 1995 showed that eating watercress neutralised a cancer-causing chemical found in the blood of smokers. Research from a 2007 study demonstrated that eating watercress daily can significantly reduce DNA damage to blood cells (an important trigger in the development of cancer). More recently in 2010 a study revealed that watercress may suppress breast cancer cell development. Watercress also has more vitamin C than an orange, more vitamin E than broccoli, more calcium than milk, and more iron than found in spinach. Watercress is one of the most amazing superfoods and it can be found in BULK POWDERS™ Complete Greens™.
We admit that finding a food that begins with the letter ‘x’ is a little tricky, so we’ve cheated slightly and used a type of watermelon to cover this letter. But the common watermelon and xigua have identical health benefits. And for a fruit that is 92% water, the fact that it has so much goodness packed in is quite amazing! Watermelon contains lycopene (like the tomato) and vitamins A, B6 and C. It also contains a lot of potassium, which is responsible for maintaining the correct balance of water in the cells of the body, and it has been proven to relieve muscle soreness & heart disease.
Although people often think that yams and sweet potatoes are the same, they are actually two different vegetables with the yam being more fibrous and sweeter in taste than the sweet potato. Yams are are packed with nutrients, and contain 30% of your daily recommended vitamin C allowance. They are also a good source of fibre, vitamin B & B6 and potassium, plus they are a carbohydrate but are low GI so they won’t cause any ‘crashes’.
We’ve gone for the American name to fit this into our A-Z, but you will probably know the zucchini as the humble courgette. Another food with a high water content, the courgette is full of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, folate, and fibre. It also contains magnesium, beta-carotene and riboflavin, and is incredibly low in calories. All this means that courgette can contribute to an healthy heart by helping to reduce high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties too. Heard of ZOATS (zucchini with oats)? ZOATS are taking the fitness world by storm online!