I?ve been asked countless times by clients about "superfoods" ? whether it be cacao, maca powder, goji berries or spirulina. My response is always somewhat the same: expensive and probably not the answer.
This is because, for the R70 or so that you may pay for a "superfood", you could also purchase a nice selection of fresh vegetables that would stand you in as good, if not better, stead.
It is important to remember that every single nutrient ? that is every single vitamin, mineral, essential fatty acid, carotenoid, glucosinolate, organosulphide, phyto-estrogen and bioflavonoid ? does something positive or is involved in some biochemical process that has a positive effect. And every single one of these nutrients can be found in your nearest supermarket, predominantly in the fresh fruit and vegetable section. This makes them available to all South Africans, not just those with disposable income. My point being, that you don't need to be rich to eat healthy.
As health consumers, we need to move away from the "superfood" mentality. Focusing our attention on making smart food choices at the supermarket ("super-eating") as opposed to buying expensive products that make claims not always substantiated by research. We will be much better placed to achieve optimum health this way.
Here is a list of some of my favourite affordable super-eats and why:
Avos are high in oleic acid, which is a mono-unsaturated fatty acid that plays a role in lowering cholesterol. Additionally, these delicious fruits contain plenty of vitamin B6 and folic acid, both essential for fertility. They are also high in carotenoids, which are protective against heart disease and essential for eye health.
Broccoli is high in wonderful chemicals called glucosinolates which support liver detoxification. They also help regulate cell division and repair as well as block the growth of damaged and mutant cells. This makes them powerful anti-cancer agents.
Grapes are high in compounds called saponins, which prevent the absorption of bad cholesterol and also reduce inflammation. They contain high amounts of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant, which is protective against cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.
Oranges are extremely high in vitamin C, which is a potent anti-viral nutrient. They also contain a compound called hesperetin, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Oats are high in compounds called beta-glucans known to reduce cholesterol. Oats contain phyto-estrogens which have been shown to have some benefit in preventing hormone-related cancers.
About Hannah Kaye
Hannah Kaye is a nutritional therapist who runs clinics in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Hannah believes in primary prevention and finding the underlying cause, rather than just treating the symptoms of chronic disease.
Hannah contributes regularly to many South African publications and websites including Natural Medicine, Child Magazine, Essentials and Fresh Earth. She holds degrees in both nutrition and journalism and is currently studying towards an MSc Medicine with the Endocrinology Department at the University of Cape Town.
Find out more here: www.hannahkaye.co.za