Kick-starting your health mission this month? Here are the foods to try for the most nutritional bang for your buck.
1. Antioxidant-Rich Acai Berry
This perfectly plump berry is perfect for a punch of feel-good antioxidants (with 10 times more than red grapes). With a special antioxidant called "anthocyanins" it has a strong ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream and promote a healthy heart.
However, there's more. ?With its high ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity), which is higher than most other fruits, it can help prevent oxidative damage while providing you with a wealth of healthy vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, K, omega fats and electrolytes!
If you're looking for a well rounded superfood without a compromise on taste try adding some acai berry powder into your morning smoothie or cereal. Your body will thank you for it!
2. Detoxing Birch Trees
While birch is a well known material for making furniture and paper, its bark, leaves and sap are a powerhouse of medicinal properties for our health and beauty.
"Birch tree water has been claimed to help treat everything from cellulite, flu, headache, and eczema and improve your immune system," ?In-house nutritionist at Lifesum, Lovisa Nilsson, said. "It has also been proved as a great slimming product, as birch sap eliminates bad toxins such as saturated fats and preservatives, making it easier to lose weight. Birch leaves are getting closer to our kitchen as they are now used in cooking for pestos, salads and even smoothies!"
You can get birch leaves in many forms such as fresh tea or even juices. Give it a go!
3. Tummy-Loving Ginger Root
We cannot praise this superfood enough. From detoxing the body to settling upset tummies and nausea, this tingly tasting herb is good for just about anything, including our immunity!
"Ginger is my must have flavour for this year! Its health benefits are endless," Nilsson said. "Ginger is one of the best and most natural ways to ease stomach discomfort and nausea whilst its anti-inflammatory compounds also reduce pain and even reduce symptoms of arthritis."
If you're not keen on the taste why not simmer a home-made ginger tea with a dash of manuka honey? It's tasty, mild and so, so delicious!
4. Cleansing Artichokes
If there’s something we need more of in our lives it’s the powerful antioxidants and cleansing powers of artichokes.
While it helps tame IBS, facilitate liver health and keep type 2 diabetes at bay, it’s no surprise that artichoke is one of of nature’s most detoxifying and feel-good foods out there (not to mention a major delicacy in many countries).
Use it as a delicious anti-pasti or add it into any pasta dish for extra flavour and texture. If all else fails you can take advantage of its benefits by indulging in Natur Boutique’s Organic Artichoke Tea available online or in-store at Holland and Barrett.
5. Fatty Coconut (That's Good For You)
Coconut is still standing strong. Whether it’s coconut oil, milk, water or flesh, you know you’re going to get something tasty, nutritious and 100 percent satisfying. With its wide variety of vitamins, minerals and GOOD fats it's definitely one of our fav superfoods out there.
Even more so now that you can get raw organic coconut flesh in a jar! That’s right: pure delicious goodness with all the good stuff included.
“Raw Organic Coconut Goodness is set to be the new must-have coconut superfood," natural living expert, Janey Lee Grace, said. "It's delicious pure coconut, which you can add to desserts, smoothies, stews, porridge or eaten straight from the jar as a healthy tasty nutritious snack, and can even be made into coconut milk or cream by adding a little water."
To try it for yourself buy Tiana's Raw Coconut Flesh. Promise, you'll never go back to your old ways.
6. Protein-Rich Quark
This creamy cheese has rocketed to fame in the last six months, but not purely because it's CHEESE, but for its naturally fat-free benefits and protein-rich ingredients.
"Quark is big in Sweden at the moment and I expect it to be breaking through in the UK this year," Nilsson said. "It's a type of fresh dairy product that has a similar creamy texture to sour cream and a mild tangy taste."
There's loads of ways you can use it too.
?"It makes a great protein rich snack, that's low in fat and sugar, which can help fuel your day," Nilsson said. "It’s high in calcium, vitamin A and vitamin B, making it a nutritious alternative snack and you can use it in dips, sauces and as a cooking ingredient."
?We're not saying no to this one. For more information on where you to pick up this naturally fat free cheese visit Lake District Quark.
7. Nutritious Cocoa
We're always on the lookout for more ways to eat healthy and deliciously. So when it comes to cocoa it's hands down one of the tastiest superfoods out there.
Cocoa is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants (particularly vitamin E), which has shown to reduce memory loss, reduce free radical damage and keep the heart healthy and fit. It's also abundant in protein, vitamins and minerals which all prove highly nutritious for our health. And there are so many ways to enjoy it too!
Try Bioglan's Raw Cocoa Powder to make anything from chocolate truffles, cakes, granola bars and yummy chocolate drinks. If you want cocoa goodness in your diet without the cocoa overload we recommend trying Linseeds Milled Flaxseed Cocoa Strawberries & Blueberries jam packed with tons of antioxidants protecting against excess free radicals while also preventing diseases.
8. Immune-Boosting Black Rice
Once exclusively given to emperors to promote longevity and good health, it's fair to say black rice is one of the health world's best kept secrets.
"US scientists have recently discovered the abundance of health benefits from eating black rice," Nilsson said. "The rice is rich in the antioxidant 'anthocyanin' (more so than blueberries!), which has been linked to helping fight cancer and heart disease. It also contains fiber and vitamin E, which can help your digestive system, immune system, skin and eyes." Definitely one to try!
9. Mineral-Loving Coconut Sugar
As people search for "healthier alternatives" to sweeten their foods, coconut sugar is quickly becoming the new "super sweetener" in the health world.
"This natural sugar is made from the sap of the coconut plant," nutritionist and Healthspan Head of Nutrition, Rob Hobson, said. "Unlike processed table sugars it rates lower on the glycemic index (GI) and contains the minerals iron, zinc, potassium and calcium. However, to glean any useful amounts of these you would need to eat a lot of it, which would seriously increase your calorie intake (so be careful)! It's comparative to honey and makes for a good natural alternative to use in the kitchen."
Time to ditch the refined sugar and go all natural, ladies. Buy your first pack from Biona - our favorite organic brand!
10. Fiber-Rich Freekeh
Freekeh is a Middle Eastern grain with a nutty, smoky flavour. It's actually a type of wheat, harvested young (while soft and full of moisture), which is what creates its distinctive taste.
"Freekah is another highly nutritious grain competing with quinoa for the top slot!" Hobson said. "It's high in fiber and contains resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic, encouraging the growth of good bacteria in the gut. It's also rich in protein, iron and zinc."
Try it in salads or as a substitute for rice and pasta. For the highest convenience you can buy Freekeh from Merchant Gourmet which is sold in ready to eat packs. Whether you want it cold as a salad or warmed up with fish or chicken, this is sure to please your taste buds and your tummy.
Which superfoods are you giving a try this year? Tweet us @wewomenUSA!
To get you started here's the ultimate superfood shopping list...
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