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Getting a balanced diet is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. However, with the wealth of food on offer to us on a daily basis, it can be difficult to know where to start. In short, as long as your diet is varied and contains predominantly unprocessed food - you’re already onto a winner. But there are other ways that we can improve an already balanced diet and that is through including superfoods in as many meals as we can.
But what are these so called superfoods? And why are they so super? Below is a list of 9 of the top superfoods available on the market. They are all widely available and easy to add to any diet. Read on to find out how.
You do not have to add all these foods to every meal. In fact, you do not need to include any of them in every recipe. But, by upping your intake of them, your body will start to reap the benefits in many ways.
Leafy greens - or dark leafy greens to be exact - are an important food to include in your diet thanks to being such a high source of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. Additionally, they have a high amount of fiber in them which is great for your digestive system. Good examples of leafy greens would be spinach, kale or spring greens. If you don’t like eating them on their own as a side, try adding them to a curry or risotto dish.
Oily fish is a fantastic protein to include in your diet. It’s recommended by dieticians the world over to include two servings of oily fish in your diet each week. Fresh fish is always best, so try to source it from a fishmonger where it will most likely be straight from the boat. If you can’t, try to buy frozen fish which will still retain a lot of its nutritional punch. Oily fish includes mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna. They all have a huge amount of omega-3 in them which is great to keep your skin and hair healthy - but more importantly can help prevent heart disease.
If you’re not a big fan of fish, or oily fish in particular, adding chia seeds to your diet can be a good alternative. They contain a huge amount of omega-3 fatty acids as well as fiber and protein. So not only do the fatty acids help your heart, these tiny little seeds are also good for improving digestive health. They’re easy to add to your diet as only a tablespoon is needed a day. The quickest way to do that is to put it on fruit, yoghurt or cereal in the morning - or even a salad at lunch for extra crunch.
Thanks to years of being told that carbs are bad, potatoes have got a bad reputation of late. However, these starchy veggies are a great source of carbohydrate that burns slowly - providing us with energy for a lot of the day. Sweet potatoes are fantastic as, not only do they taste great, they have a higher GI than normal spuds. It means they keep you fuller for longer. Simply shove them in the oven for an hour for a classic baked potato or mash them for a twist on the classic version.
All berries are astoundingly good for you, but blueberries are a real powerhouse. Like many of the foods on this list, they’re high in fiber keeping your digestive system working as it should. But thanks to that deep purple-blue colour, they’re also very high in antioxidants so they help the body ward off coughs and colds with ease. Plus, they’re so delicious, they make for a really quick easy snack for the whole family.
The health benefits of broccoli cannot be dismissed. Like other members of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli has a lot of fiber and vitamins which the body needs to function properly. But, importantly, the vitamins of real note are the high amount of B Vitamins like folic acid which is hard to find in high amounts elsewhere. Veggie dodgers may find broccoli difficult to stomach, but eat it fresh and cut it up into a stir fry along with lots of other spices and it will be a great addition that everyone can learn to love.
Nuts go in and out of fashion in the diet world. The reason that people can be wary of them is the high amount of fats that they contain. However, many dieticians love them because they are a great source of plant protein which makes them invaluable to vegans and vegetarians. Plus, the fats they do contain are monounsaturated fats which the body does need. And, those fats can even help reduce the chance of heart disease. They’re easy to eat as a snack and good for warding off hunger between meals. Or, add it as a nut butter to toast or eat with fruit.
Quinoa’s health benefits are hard to ignore so it is a great ingredient for all diets - but specifically, those following a plant-based diet. The reason being is that quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids. In addition to that, it is good for those wanting a carb that is wheat and gluten-free. Usually, grains are not suitable for those with coeliac disease, but Quinoa is. Even those who are able to eat bread and pasta without issue, will find quinoa easier to digest.
Avocado is a great superfood - most likely because it does not taste like it should be. Its natural creaminess can add a much-needed richness to food for those that are trying to lose weight by reducing other ingredients like some fat-laden dairy products. Make no mistake, avocado does have a lot of fat in it, but that fat is monounsaturated and it also comes with a huge amount of vitamin E and other minerals like iron or potassium. Add it to salads, eat with eggs in the morning or even add it to dark, melted chocolate to create a dairy-free dessert.
Keeping our bodies fuelled by food that has all the vitamins, minerals and food types we need is crucial if we want to stay healthy. Yet, it’s hard to do that in our time-strapped lives when convenience foods are so much easier to satisfy hunger. A meal kit delivery service can help you achieve a well-balanced diet packed with superfoods as it allows users to meal plan with ease. So you not only help your body, you help your stress levels too.