Updated: Aug 25, 2021
We love chatting all things nutrition, it makes sense that the food and drink we consume day in and day out can have a huge effect on the way we think and feel. We've been discovering more about which foods can really go that extra mile and here are five, that you can easily sneak into your life, that will give you a boost of nutrients and health benefits:
"Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food'
1. FLAX SEEDS
These seeds may be small, yet they are mighty. In the early middle ages, Charles The Great was so convinced of the benefits of flax seeds that he passed a decree requiring all of his subjects to eat them! Just one tablespoon sprinkled on your porridge can give you 10% of your recommended intake of fibre and they are packed with vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and minerals.
We love to sprinkle them on a bagel with some homemade hummus or onto a salad, they're great for giving a small amount of crunch too.
Berries evolved to have bright, contrasting colours to attract fruit-eating animals to disperse their seeds far and wide. These vibrant colours are also thought to give the fruit antioxidant abilities. It's thought that this is true for all fruits and vegetables - so red onions will have more antioxidant properties than white onions and sweet potatoes have more antioxidants than your regular spuds.
Berries are high in flavonoids, which is thought to help improve cognition. A study showed that greater intake rates of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline in older women.
We love buying frozen berries (as they're cheaper) and getting a bowlful from the freezer when we fancy them. As they defrost, they take on a sorbet-like consistency that is absolutely delicious - especially on a sunny day!
We've always loved having the fiery kick of horseradish with a roast dinner, but had never really thought too much about what our beloved condiment was made from.
Horseradish is actually a root vegetable and is related to mustard, wasabi, broccoli and cabbage. It's part of the Brassica genus of plants, meaning that it is a cruciferous vegetable - and these are known to be high in nutrients and have often been noted for their cancer-preventative properties. Horseradish is naturally rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, fibre and more - so there are many reasons why it has been used for medicinal purposes throughout the years.
We only realised recently that horseradish sauce is usually made from horseradish mixed with cream -but you can easily make your own slightly healthier version of the sauce if you mix together horseradish root, white wine vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise (dairy or non-dairy) and pepper.
Walnuts have been proven to have among the highest levels of antioxidant activity of all of the common nuts. They are a great source of the essential fatty acid Omega-3 and other healthy fats, which are great for brain health and function - as well as being linked to improved levels of mood.
There has also been a lot of research to look at the anti-cancer benefits to walnuts and a study by the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating walnuts more than four times a week can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 37%. So there are many reasons why we should try to include them in our everyday lives and, personally, we love a handful of walnuts in the afternoon with a cuppa or toasted in a frying pan and sprinkled onto pasta, salads or stir-frys.
Turmeric has been used throughout Asia for centuries for cooking, in medicine, cosmetics and for dyeing fabric and, in the last few decades, it has become increasingly popular in the West too. Curcumin, the pigment in turmeric that gives it its bright yellow colour, has been identified as having a huge range of health benefits.
Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound and is known to match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. One study looked at people with rheumatoid arthritis and found that a daily dose of curcumin was more effective than the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Not bad for something that you can cheaply pick up at the supermarket!
Interestingly, it has been shown that using turmeric with black pepper will enhance the benefits. Black pepper contains a compound piperine, which has been shown to enhance curcumin absorption by up to 2,000%. We love adding half a teaspoon of turmeric to our homemade oat milk - especially on a colder, rainy day. We'll add a bit of maple syrup too, for sweetness, with a sprinkle of black pepper on top and warm it up in the microwave. It's a really comforting, and healthy, alternative to a brew.
And there we have it. A look at five different foods that pack a real punch of nutrients and benefits. We love to hear from you, so feel free to send us a message and let us know what your favourite superfoods are.
Until next time! x