It seems like there’s a new ‘superfood’ emerging every week.
Some exotic, hard to pronounce fruit or grain ancient cultures have been using for years that the Western world has just discovered. There are so many fad foods out there now that it’s super hard to decide what is and isn’t… super.
Plus we are so busy following the latest trend of the new abstract superfood that we tend to forget how amazing some of our less exciting foods are.
What about the hard-working, never tiring foods that are imparting huge nutritional benefit on us every day with no thanks at all? They don’t get to be the new health wonder-food that all the celebrities are being photographed eating, but they work tirelessly to improve the health of the everyday person. What about those guys?
So here is a list of the forgotten superfoods. Everyday foods which have huge nutritional benefit that we take for granted.
Okay, so maybe there’s a reason marketed superfoods are exotic end exciting, I mean potatoes seem so run of the mill, surely they can’t be super. But Spiderman was just a run of the mill photographer during the day right? potatoes are totally the spiderman of the food world.
Underneath their boring exterior, potatoes are packed full of nutritional punch. Your average potato contains vitamin C, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, manganese and most of the B vitamins. Who’d have thought right?
These white wonders actually contain a wee bit of almost everything we need. As well as that, according to researchers they are one of the most filling foods, and if you cook them then let them cool they form lots of starch, a super healthy fiber-like substance.
I love garlic. My motto in cooking is that you really can never have too much garlic. So no one wants to be near you because you smell like the stuff is seeping out of your pores? It’s okay, just think about how delicious your dinner was. Who needs human contact when you have garlic. Not me.
As well as being amazingly delicious, garlic is packed full of nutrients. It has lots of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, B1 and B6, copper, manganese and selenium.
Garlic also has a secret weapon called allicin. This is the active ingredient in garlic and has been shown to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol as well as having cancer fighting properties. Studies have shown that people who eat lots of garlic are much less likely to get colon and stomach cancer particularly.
On top of all this garlic is super good at killing bacteria and fungi, meaning it can help us deal with everything from the common cold to athlete’s foot, horay!
I will admit, these days it seems a bit gross to have to eat the liver of an animal. From a nutritional point of view though, it is oodles more nutritious than the lowly muscle meat we eat today.
If you think about it though, it makes sense that the liver would be so nutritious, because one if its functions is to store nutrients for the body. That means that it is a treasure trove of nutrients in really concentrated levels.
A piece of liver the size of an egg actually contains 3 times your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A, 3.5 times your RDI of copper, your entire RDI of vitamin B2, 6 times your RDI of vitamin B12 and a quarter of your RDI of vitamins B6, B5, niacin and folate. And just for good measure it contains a fair amount of selenium, zinc, phosphorous and iron.
On top of all that it also has about 15 grams of really good animal protein. Talk about the over-achieving food.
There must be something about spending your life surrounded by salt water that makes you hugely nutritious. Most of the animals and plants that come from the ocean have lovely health benefits, but of those shellfish really stand out.
Take clams for example. These shelly swimmers have outrageously high levels of vitamin B12, as well as iron, selenium, potassium, vitamin C, D and B vitamins.
Oysters are full of fabulous nutrients in super high levels too. One 50g oyster has all the copper you need for the day and three times the amount zinc you need. It also has lots of vitamin D, A, C, B6, B12, iron and calcium.
For years eggs have been the bad guys of the food world because of the amount of cholesterol they contain.
Scientists and doctors alike have come to their senses though and realised that eggs really aren’t as bad as they seem. This is because actual cholesterol ironically has very little effect on our bad blood cholesterol levels. The real bad guy when it comes to heart health is actually saturated fat.
Egg yolks are packed full of nutrients, containing vitamin A, D, B12 and B6 as well as iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. On top of that they also have lutein and zeaxanthine which are antioxidants that improve your eye health, reducing the risk of you getting cataracts and macular degeneration. Plus they contain choline, a nutrient that helps improve brain function, and who wouldn’t like improved brain function huh?
Then there are egg whites. These contain super duper good protein. The protein in eggs is actually so good that nutritionists use it as the ‘gold standard’ against which they rate other proteins. Pretty impressive stuff.
I will finish on a personal favourite of mine, delicious dark chocolate.
We all know that chocolate isn’t the best food for you in the world, but it only gets that reputation because it has a high fat and sugar content. Strip those away though and at the base of chocolate there is a wonder ingredient; cocoa.
Cocoa is an amazingly rich source of antioxidants. In a study which tested different foods for antioxidant levels it was found that cocoa scored higher than anything else, even blueberries and acai berries!
And if this isn’t enough, dark chocolate is also full of fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium and copper.
Lots of studies on people have shown that dark chocolate can have lots of benefits like better brain function, lower blood pressure and better blood flow.
The key is to choose chocolate with a really high cocoa content and avoid the fattier milk chocolate varieties.
There you have it. Superfoods you probably already have sitting in your pantry. So next time you’re complaining about your boring mashed potatoes and garlic bread take a minute to think about these wonderful forgotten foods. They might not look like much, but they are likely the reason you have that spring in your step.