Athough many people think of the term 'superfood' as a modern phenomena, records show that the term has been in use since at least 1945, and possibly early if we allow the hyphenated version, 'super-food'.
So what are they, and are they really all that 'super'?
In modern times, the term is generally used to indicate that a food has nutritional properties that are above and beyond those needed just to sustain life - usually that they contain vitamins and nutrients that have been proven to reduce the risk of disease and promote good health.
The claim is that 'Superfoods' are jam packed with nutrients and have great healthgiving properties. They are also supposed to boost our energy levels, prevent illness, boost brain power and repair cell damage.
If you want to test this theory out for yourself, look for ways to get the following superfoods into your diet.
1. Brazil nuts – These contain selenium which helps to protect the body against certain cancers, Alzheimer's disease and depression. Nuts help to reduce our risk of heart disease and can help to control our appetites. Look for free recipes online which make use of this wonderful nut.
2. Olive oil – Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat which helps to lower cholesterol. It is a source of antioxidants which help to fight the signs of ageing and protect us from damage caused by free radicals like smoking and pollution. Olive oil is a main ingredient in the healthy Mediterranean diet so look for Mediterranean diet free recipes online.
3. Apples – The humble apple is high in Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, and high in pectin, a soluble fibre which keeps the digestive system in good working order and helps to lower cholesterol.
4. Seeded Wholegrain Bread – The fibre in the bread keeps the digestive system healthy, the seeds are a source of essential fatty acids and phytoestrogens in linseeds and soya can help relieve symptoms of the menopause. These high fibre breads also help to control appetite.
5. Baked beans – Baked beans are brilliant. The tomato sauce is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant which protects the body from prostate cancer and heart disease. Insoluble fibre in the beans helps to keep the digestive system healthy. Beans are also rich in calcium, iron and protein. Serve baked beans on seeded bread toast for a great superfood meal!
6. Tea – Both black tea and green tea are rich in antioxidants. An antioxidant in tea, catechin, helps to keep our arteries healthy and stops blood clots forming.
7. Bananas – Bananas are high in potassium which is essential for healthy hair and skin and also helps to lower blood pressure. Bananas are also high in antioxidants and are a great source of energy. Bananas can be used in low fat recipes to replace half the fat content in cake recipes.
8. Yogurt – Yogurt is a great source of calcium which is essential for healthy teeth and bones. Bio yogurts also help the digestive system by topping up the amount of friendly bacteria present in the intestines. Make your own yogurt – find free recipes online.
9. Salmon – Salmon is an oily fish and oily fish are often known as “Brain food” because eating oily fish regularly helps to prevent dementia and depression. Eating oily fish also reduces the risk of heart disease, build up of plaque on the walls of the artery and lowers triglyceride levels.
10. Broccoli – This vegetable is high in folic acid which is thought to lower the risk of heart disease and phytochemicals which help to prevent cancer. Broccoli also contains the antioxidants Vitamin C and lutein which is thought to delay the onset and progression of AMD, age related macular degeneration.
Roger Wakefield works for for the Recipe File site, (http://www.recipe-file.co.uk), one of the best established recipe sites online. The Recipe File website contains more than 40k recipes which cover recipes as diverse as appetizer recipes to stew recipes. Home cooking can be simple and fun if you have some great recipes to start with. The Recipe File makes sure you will never have trouble finding a scrumptious recipe whenever you want.