Ruth Burke, Pharmacist Manager of LloydsPharmacy Churchtown, is a fitness fanatic with a passion for healthy cooking and nutrition. So we asked her to give us her take on Superfoods and tell us which ones she recommends for her customers. There are just so many superfood lists available; we wanted one with realistic, easy-to-use and easy-to-find items, demystifying the whole thing!
Everyone is talking about superfoods these days!
A superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered especially beneficial for health and well-being. They are foods found in nature that are calorie-sparse and nutrient-dense. They contain anti-oxidants and essential nutrients that our body cannot always make itself.
Superfoods are often marketed as having almost super powers to prevent and cure many diseases. However, nothing can substitute a healthy and balanced diet, and you must always consult a health professional if you suffer from any illnesses or are taking any medication.
Here are my top everyday superfoods that are easy to find and easy to use in everyday meals.
Eggs: My absolute favourite superfood. They are just so versatile. They are one of the most nutrient dense foods available. They are low in calories and high in protein each egg has 6 grams of protein but only 72 calories. Protein is essential for building muscles and promoting proper body function.
Beans & Lentils: A great alternative source of protein instead of using meat or fish, which can be expensive. Studies have shown that they are high in soluble fibre, which can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Beans are also rich in phytochemicals that help prevent cell damage.
Almonds: They contain Vitamin B2, which helps energy production, and potassium, a mineral needed for a healthy heart. They are also packed with Vitamin E, which prevents damage caused by free-radicals, cells that injure healthy cells.
Oranges: Oranges are LOADED with vitamins: Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B and Fibre. All which help immunity, protect the heart and keep the body functioning properly. They contain antioxidants which help fight against signs of aging. However, please remember, orange juice you buy can contain high quantities of sugar so fresh oranges are best for making juice.
Sweet Potatoes: These are super tasty and full of vitamin A, which protects your vision and immune system. You’ll see a lot of sweet potatoes used on our Recipe Blog!
Broccoli: Broccoli, amazingly, contains as much calcium as a glass of milk and more vitamin C than an orange!
Spinach: Spinach is in antioxidants to help build the immune system. Flavonoids found in spinach can even slow the signs of aging.
Avocado: An excellent source of potassium, fibre and other vitamins, so has loads of cardiovascular benefits. They have a high fat content virtually more than any other fruit, but it’s all good monounsaturated fats which protect your heart from disease. They also help lower cholesterol.
Kale: Rich in fibre and beta-carotene. It is an excellent source of calcium, iron and vitamin A, C and K. Kale contains antioxidants that fight inflammation and detoxify the body.
Coconut: Full of healthy fats. Great for protecting your heart, as well as your bones and joints. It is high in natural fibre so it makes you feel full for longer. It is a great energy boost and is great for the immune system. Coconut oil is a must for cooking. I use it for everything.
Quinoa: This super grain is high in fibre and is also gluten free. So is a great substitute for those with a gluten intolerance. It is high in iron and magnesium. It is also extremely tasty!
I hope you’ll agree that these foods are easily obtainable and easy to use in everyday meals. And of course, they taste good too! Check out our recipe blog for some ideas on how to use them!
Written by Ruth Burke, Pharmacist Manager, LloydsPharmacy Churchtown