There are no set criteria for labeling a food a ‘superfood’, and in scientific circles the term is not even recognised. That’s because not one food or group of foods provides you with all your daily nutrient requirements.
There are however, some foods that contain very high levels of certain vitamins, minerals or phytochemicals that can assist in achieving good health and disease prevention.
Try adding one or all of the following five foods to your diet to increase the nutritional value of your daily intake.
Mushrooms are neither a fruit or vegetable; this gives a very unique nutritional profile. They contain antioxidants, B vitamins, even a small amount of B12 (usually only found in animal-based foods), copper, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, chromium and folate. There are also sun-exposed mushrooms available in Australia which in a 100g serve, can provide 100% of your daily vitamin D requirements.
Mushrooms are also low in kilojoules, low GI and low- cost, making them a cost-effective, healthy addition to any meal.
Meal suggestions: Baked mushrooms with herb omelette (australianmushrooms.com.au), mushroom and pearl barley soup
2. Chia Seeds
These gluten-free, wholegrain edible seeds are a great way to add lots of fibre to your diet in small volumes. 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5.5g fibre (~1/5 daily requirement), 6g carbohydrates, 4.5g fat, 2g protein and 290kJ. They’re also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and antioxidants, and are low GI to assist with blood sugar level control.
Meal suggestions: Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your meatball mix or hamburger patties, or blend with smoothies and yoghurt snacks.
Salmon is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These are long-chain fatty acids, which have been shown assist in reducing the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic diseases. Salmon is also a great source of protein, B vitamins, selenium, potassium and contains antioxidants.
Meal suggestions: Teriyaki salmon parcels (recipe on Thrive Wellness Facebook page)
There are many types of berries, the most common including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries. Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants and contain phytoflavinoids, vitamin C and potassium. They are also low in kilojoules and low GI, so are a great way to add colour and flavour to meals and snacks.
Meal suggestions: Berry breakfast balls with oats, peanut butter & coconut
Also known as pulses, legumes are a group of plant-based foods including beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans and alfalfa. They are an excellent source of fibre and protein, and contain B vitamins, antioxidants and folate. Legumes are low GI, which can assist with blood sugar level control and the soluble fibre may assist in cholesterol reduction.
These economical foods are a very healthy alternative to meat and are a perfect base for vegetarian meals.
Meal suggestions: Use lentils as a base for vegetarian curries and patties, include 4-bean mix in salads or have hummus (chickpea) dip with fresh vegetables for a healthy snack alternative
From the desk of Thrive Dietitian, Nicole Rumsey. If you would like more specific advice for yourself or a family member, you can make an appointment with Nicole, by calling 9478 3869.