We hear a lot about super foods and the amazing health benefits they bring in warding off cancer, heart disease, cholesterol and other diseases – but what actually are they, where can you find them and most importantly, how do you use them in everyday meals?
Here’s a few to get you started:
Acai Berry – best anti-oxidant!
This Brazilian berry with a chocolatey taste is often touted as the number 1 super food in the world, with 10 times more anti-aging antioxidants than red grapes! It also boasts amino acids, Omega fats, and is chock full of vitamins and minerals. It grows on the Acai Palm Tree, which is only found in the Amazon Rainforest. But fret not, freeze dried Acai pulp (which is just as nutritious) is found in health-food stores. Best blended into a juice or smoothie or frozen and eaten as sorbet!
Maca root – high on energy!
Maca is a root from Peru that offers an amazing energy boost. It contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins (including B-12) and all the essential amino acids and has a rich, malty taste (think Horlicks). Instead of your morning caffeine fix, add some Maca powder into a smoothie with fresh fruit and almond milk. It can also be used in baking and desserts to give great flavour.
Quinoa – an amazing supergrain!
Did you know that quinoa dates back three thousand years ago when the Incas first realized that the seed was fit for human consumption? It was considered the “gold of the Incas” because they believed it increased the stamina of their warriors. Today, it is becoming increasingly well-known as a powerhouse ingredient, containing so many health benefits it’s hard to keep track. Just to name a few – it’s a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, twice the fibre of most other grains and is high in iron, essential minerals and anti-oxidants. With so much goodness, why not use it in everyday cooking? My top 3 ways of eating quinoa:
- Substitute it for your daily rice intake. It’s soft and fluffy with a nutty texture and goes really well with most curries and stir-fries.
- Make an easy quinoa salad with cooked quinoa, roast vegetables, chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice and your favourite herbs. Make more than enough so you can enjoy yummy leftovers the next day!
- Quinoa-sweet potato burgers: to learn this recipe, attend a De-tox class at Little Green Café cooking studio.
Broccoli – packed with vitamins!
Often overlooked or considered a side dish, this humble veggie packs more punch than you think. It’s a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K, and has plenty of fibre to fill you up and help control your weight. It’s also an excellent source of beta-carotene which is usually only found in orange and yellow vegetables. It could not be easier to use; lightly steam with a bit of garlic, toss into grains or pasta but whatever you do, please do not over-cook this amazing source of nutrition.
Where to buy: Quinoa is easily available at health food stores and most Fairprice Finest and Cold Storage outlets. Acai & Maca are available on www.iherb.com which offers quick, low-cost shipping to Singapore.