Page 49 - magazine-jan-feb14

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THE TOP
SUPER
FOODS
Broccoli
,
says Fahmida, is exceptionally
high in antioxidants and adheres to the
rule of thumb ‘the brighter the colour, the
better the vegetable is for you.’ “Broccoli,
many a dietician’s favourite vegetable,
contains high levels of key antioxidants
as well as a number of vitamins and
minerals,” she says and is versatile as it
can be added to vegetable dishes and stir
fries.
The next super
food is
carrots
which Fahmida
says are a huge
boost of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
“Another brightly coloured vegetable
choice, carrots are packed full of beta-
carotene, the precursor to vitamin A,” she
says and in fact, just one carrot a day will
keep the doctor away and is a great snack
food choice teamed with peanut butter
or low fat hummus. “However remember
that over cooking vegetables is a sure way
to kill the vitamins so if you cook your
carrots, aim to lightly steam them or
alternatively make it a daily ritual to snack
on a carrot on the way home from work,”
she advises.
Another super food is
oats,
brimming
over with low glycemic goodness. “A
single serve of oats each day provides you
with a substantial amount of soluble fibre;
the type of fibre known to help reduce
blood cholesterol levels,” she explains with
oats having one of the lowest Glycemic
Index ratings of all grains. Fahmida
suggests to look for the coarsest oats (steel
cut) you can find, rather than the ‘quick
cook’ varieties and team with plenty of
low fat milk and a little cinnamon rather
than adding sugar.
Lean red meat
is chock full of iron and
zinc, rendering it a super food. “While
many people eliminate red meat from
their diet instead thinking that fish and
chicken are healthier options, so long as
you choose lean meat, you are getting a
more nutrient-dense choice than both
chicken and fish,” says Fahmida as lean
red meat is a rich source of iron, zinc and
vitamin B12, which are all crucial for
optimal energy production, particularly
for active people. “Red meat consumption
should be once per week for normal
individuals in a two ounces portion size,”
tells Fahmida while active individuals can
consume 100 to 200 grams of red meat
per week depending on their exercise
levels.
Atlantic Salmon
is an Omega-3 power
house which is actually one of the
richest natural sources of omega-3 fats.
“The health benefits include reduced
triglycerides and blood pressure,” says
Fahmida and urges us to consume at
least two servings every week. “It is an
excellent source of zinc and also contains
iodine and potassium,” she says and
Omega-3s are considered ‘essential’ fatty
acids as we need them for good health.
Unfortunately our bodies can’t make them
so we have to rely on our dietary intake,
she tells and in fact, Omega-3s have been
linked with protecting against breast and
other cancers and relieving autoimmune
diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and
inflammatory bowel disease with their
anti-inflammatory properties.
Kiwi fruit,
though small,
is actually the
equivalent of an entire daily requirement
of vitamin C, tells Fahmida. “This furry
fruit is packed full of nutrition and a great
choice of lunchbox filler for kids,” she
says. “Cut the top off the kiwi, and team it
with a spoon for a sweet tasty fruit snack.”
One kiwi also provides almost three
grams of fibre, a significant amount of
beta-carotene and is low in calories.
Walnuts
are known as a super nut.
“Walnuts are the nuts richest in long-
chain polyunsaturated fats,” she says and
just 30 grams a day helps optimize cell
wall composition, reduce cholesterol
levels and boost intake of the vital plant
forms of omega-3 fats. “Additionally,
walnuts are rich in cholesterol-lowering
plant serums and omega-3 oils and have
a very high ratio of polyunsaturated
to saturated fats,” she says. “Walnuts
also have similar benefits to oily fish
in terms of reducing cholesterol levels
and also contain Alpha Linoleic acid
which improves heart health reducing
risk of sudden death through abnormal
heart rhythms.” And walnuts also act
as powerful mood boosters which help
increase serotonin levels.
Another big super food
is
green tea
which is
packed with powerful
antioxidants. “If there
was one type of tea you
should add to your tea
repertoire it is green tea,”
stresses Fahmida as not
only is it exceptionally
high in antioxidants,
there is also evidence to
show that it can help with fat burning. “Aim
for a cup after each meal and remember, the
longer you leave the tea bag in, the better it
is for you,” she says.
Blueberries,
explains Fahmida, are
nature’s true super food. “They are packed
with phytochemicals, flavonoids, vitamins
and minerals and have one of the highest
total antioxidant capacities of any food,”
she says and the major antioxidants in
blueberries are anthocyanins which give the
berries their blue-red colour. “Anthocyanins
are believed to boost memory and brain
function as we age and work together with
lutein, also found in blueberries, to protect
the eyes from cataracts and glaucoma
and maintain healthy vision,” she says.
“They also offer beta-carotene (which
gets converted to vitamin A in the body),
vitamin E, as well as B vitamins such as
folate (which helps prevent birth defects
in babies) and niacin (which releases
energy from food), and in lesser amounts,
a number of essential minerals including
manganese, potassium, magnesium and
phosphorus.”
And finally,
eggs
are another super food.
“The humble egg is actually one of the
most nutritious foods we can eat and offer
a large number of key nutrients,” tells
Fahmida, including zinc, high biological
value protein and iron as well as more
than 20 other vital vitamins and minerals.
“Enjoy one to two eggs a day as a great
breakfast choice teamed with wholegrain
bread or as a protein boost with wraps or
sandwiches throughout the day,” she says.
“Eggs have excellent nutritional value
and contain protein which is needed for
building and repairing the cells in muscles
and other body tissues.” Eggs also
supply valuable minerals
and vitamins such as
vitamin A, all 8 of the B
group vitamins as well as
vitamins D and E. “The
most important mineral in
eggs is iron and it’s found in the
yolk,” she says. “The iron is absorbed best
if food containing vitamin C is eaten at the
same meal; therefore fruit, a glass of juice or
some type of vegetable should therefore be
eaten during the same meal as an egg.”
H
Jan/Feb 2014
45