From berries to sweet potatoes, HEALTH speaks to Fahmida Jafri, Department Head of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics at GMC Hospital Ajman about the latest super foods we need to be eating and why.
1. Eggs, tells Jafri, are a quality protein source, important for building and enhancing immunity as well as providing various important trace elements such as zinc, iodine, phosphorus, potassium and other micro nutrients. Boiled or scrambled – they are an indispensable part of breakfast.
2. Sweet Potatoes are a premium starchy vegetable loaded with micro nutrients as well as fiber. These can be consumed baked or steamed, served with a vegetable salad.A fist size serving can provide ample calories,” says Jafri.
3. Walnuts are a great unsaturated fatty acid source that is nutrient dense. These are also a good protein source for vegetarians. Jafri recommends around 30 to 40 grams of unsalted and roasted walnuts per day.
4. Berries are antioxidant rich, deep colored fruits known for their anti-carcinogenic role and nutrient dense and suitable for diabetics due to their low Glycemic Index and high fiber content. Berries are excellent topped on cereals and included in smoothies to enhance anti-aging defence. “A serving size of around two-thirds of a cup of multi-colored berries per day can enable optimal health,” she says.
5. Bananas are a super fruit and instant energy provider, though quite often banana is mistaken as an unhealthy food source due to its large sugar content. Nevertheless, Jafri reiterates that a medium sized fruit taken as a snack provides good amount of energy, protein, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese and fiber.
6. Green Leafy Vegetables (GLVs) are superfoods with the nutrient density of vitamin B complex and important minerals. These are excellent sources for the detoxification of the GI system. According to Jafri, the recommended serving per day is 150 grams and raw or lightly cooked is sufficient to provide many key nutrients.
7. Yoghurt is an excellent stabilizer of the immune system and digestive tract. Rich in potassium, calcium, protein, and vitamin B, it is excellent for people with lactose intolerance. 90 grams of low fat yoghurt is a must in one’s diet in all age groups, she explains.
8. Oily Fish or fatty fish contains about 15 percent of healthy fats. Rich in vitamin D and healthy unsaturated fats, these types of fish provide quality protein in the diet. There is a wide variety to choose from; salmon, sardines and herring in particular can be opted due to their low mercury content. A serving size of 70 to 90 grams of grilled or steamed fish is the best source of these good nutrients.
9. Sunflower seeds are the best possible snack providing variety of nutrients. Sunflower seeds are known for their anti-inflammatory and cardio vascular benefits.
10. Dates, points out Jafri, are not only delicious, but are one of the most powerful fruits comprised of a list of essential nutrients. Dates revitalize the body instantly and provide good amounts of iron, fibers, vitamin A, pyridoxine, potassium, calcium, copper and magnesium. “Dates also possess anti-inflammatory properties as well as reduce bad cholesterol from the body,” she says.