Superfoods do not need to be exotic or expensive. Many everyday wholefoods grown here in Ireland can be considered superfoods. At this time of year, we are spoiled for choice. We don’t even have to stray beyond the fruit and veg aisle to get our superfood fix on a daily basis. Remember that the different plant colours come from phytonutrients like carotenoids and flavonoids that have many health benefits, so try and get as many different colours on your plate and eat a rainbow.
Broccoli is one of the true superfoods. A good source of fibre to feed our beneficial bacteria, it also contains vitamin K which helps to regulate blood clotting and immune-supportive vitamin C. But it’s real superpowers arise from the sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol content. These phytonutrients have been shown to have anti-cancer action. They are the reason why some scientists describe broccoli and it’s fellow cruciferous veg like cauliflower and kale as ‘green chemoprevention’. A portion is only one cup and we should aim to eat this several days a week. Some nutrients can be lost when broccoli is overcooked, especially in water, so eat raw, lightly steamed or gently roasted. The stalks as just as nutritious as the florets so don’t throw them away. Just peel and chop them add them with the florets. Read back on our previous blog for 5 ways to enjoy broccoli.
Berries are in peak season and another amazing (and local) superfood. One of our best sources of vitamin c, they are also high in fibre and plant polyphenols that give them their vibrant colour and help protect us from chronic disease. Our wonderful Irish berries are so tasty you probably don’t need any ideas, but just in case, here is a fab recipe for berry ice cream.
This tasty plant is part of the allium family, like onions, leeks, shallots and spring onions. As well as adding great flavour, garlic has a host of health benefits, many coming from the sulphur compounds in it’s cell walls released when garlic is crushed or cut. Studies show that garlic has potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It has also been shown to help heart health, reducing blood pressure and supporting healthy cholesterol metabolism. Garlic is incredibly versatile and can be used daily in a variety of ways. While it is a superfood is it also a super high FODMAP so if you suffer from IBS garlic may exacerbate your symptoms. You can still enjoy a garlic infused olive oil however.
One of the foods forever associated with summer and a great partner for fellow superfood garlic. Our Irish tomatoes are also at their tastiest right now. Like most vegetables and fruit, tomatoes are a great source of both vitamin c and fibre. They are also a good source of carotenoids, which our bodies convert to vitamin A and use to keep our immune system and skin healthy. Tomatoes are our best source of the phytonutrient lycopene, shown in studies to support heart health, protect from cancer and to protect our eyes from macular degeneration and cataract formation.
Lycopene content can be higher in cooked tomatoes, so try to include a mixture of both cooked and raw. Remember to season well and drizzle with a good olive oil to bring out the best flavour. In this weather you can beat mixing some halved cherry tomatoes with chopped cucumber, spring onion, olives, feta and parsley for a tasty Greek salad.
Your summer superfoods menu
|Breakfast||Overnight oats topped with raspberries and toasted almonds|
|Lunch||Broccoli frittata with mixed salad of rocket, tomato, cucumber, radish and parsley, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice|
|Dinner||Baked salmon with roast sweet potato or wholegrain rice and steamed broccoli, beans and carrots|
|Snack||Natural yoghurt with chopped strawberries and blueberries|
If you would like more information about the services we offer, including testing, please get in touch.