Superfoods of 2016 and beyond

These days, supermarkets, and restaurants and café menus offer a variety of ancient grains, seeds and vegetables that are claimed to deliver wellbeing and great internal health. But do these ‘new’ superfoods live up to their price tag and purported health benefits? 

While there may be some benefit to be found in eating these delicious discoveries such as chia seeds, South American quinoa and Ethiopian teff perhaps they, and their price tags, are simply a product of super marketing. 

“Be aware of marketing claims and don’t believe everything you read,” says Anika Podubinski, an Accredited Practising Dietitian at Bupa. “Some foods are marketed extremely well, but remember there are probably other foods that are just as good for you.”

“A great example is kale – the health benefits are very well promoted but did we forget about the humble spinach?” asks Anika. “Both green leafy vegetables are ‘super’ and are a nutritious addition to any diet but unfortunately spinach hasn’t been the star of a glossy marketing campaign.”

Just as super

‘Superfood’ is a buzz-word, and although most so-called ‘superfoods’ can be packed with nutrients, there are a multitude of other foods that are just as ‘super’.
 
“Many pantry staples are essential for a balanced diet. Superfoods are a great addition but all the five food groups play an important part to keep us healthy and well,” tells Anika.

Eat a rainbow

If you’re trying to eat more healthily this year, instead of stuffing your cupboards and fridge full of the latest superfoods why not try and eat a wide variety of fresh ingredients that are as unprocessed as possible.

“Variety is key,” says Anika. “Eat foods of a variety of different colours to help you get a range of nutrients. Remember to get the basics right.  Eat foods from all the five food groups to give your body the nourishment it needs, then add in your superfoods for that extra health kick.”
quinoa salad

‘Superfoods’ to stock up on

Here is our alternative list of ‘superfoods’ to kick-start your 2016 and beyond:
 
  • Legumes – Very high in fibre, not to mention a cheap addition to your trolley – you don’t have to pay through the teeth to eat well.
  • Quinoa – Packed with protein, quinoa is a low GI, gluten-free grain that contains iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B-6, making it a good option for people with diabetes, and vegetarians in particular.
  • Kiwi fruit – kiwi fruits are packed with vitamins C and E making them good for helping immunity and fighting infection. 
  • Oats – Great source of fibre and contain beta-glucan, which can help to lower your cholesterol.  The traditional porridge for breakfast shouldn’t be overlooked.
  • Extra virgin olive oil and avocados – Both are great sources of healthy fats which are good for your heart.  They are a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which studies have shown may help reduce heart disease risk.
  • Oranges – a little less exotic than the kiwi fruit, but an orange will give you a major whack of vitamin C. Not to mention other protective antioxidants found in citrus fruits.
  • Tomatoes – High in lycopene, which may have antioxidant benefits, that may help reduce the risk of developing some cancers.
  • Natural yoghurt – Dairy is a good source of calcium, so eat up to help protect your bones and teeth.  Some yoghurts also contain probiotics, which may help improve gut health.

Bupa Health Insurance

Need help making healthy food choices? A dietitian can provide personalised advice. Depending on your cover, costs towards some visits may be included under your private health insurance.

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