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    What Are Superfoods?

    The term superfoods is bandied around a lot these days, but what do we really mean by the term ‘Superfood’? However, ‘Superfoods’ are those foods that are proven to contain higher concentrations of nutrients and greater health benefits than most other foods. They may also include foods that are not commonly eaten as a way of encouraging their consumption.

    Often ‘Superfoods’ are rich in phytochemicals (plant chemicals) and antioxidants. The amount of antioxidants contained in a food can be measured on the ORAC scale which refers to the Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity of the food; in other words, how good the food is at mopping up damaging Free Radicals that are responsible for much cell damage and disease. Superfoods are frequently those that are high on the ORAC scale.

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    The ‘Superfoods’ have the best concentration of easily digestible nutrients, vitamins and minerals to support healing and your body. They also contain a whole host of other substances important for wellbeing including essential fatty acids and healthy bacteria which assist the digestive system and protect against disease and illness.

    Gillian McKeith divides Superfoods into five distinct groups.

    1. Green Superfoods
    2. Bee Superfoods
    3. Herb Superfoods
    4. Sea Vegetables
    5. Leafy Superfoods

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    Fabulous Foods that deserve the Superfood accolade.

    There are lots of foods that are rich in nutrients that provide many health benefits. Most fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds would fit the Superfood description as they are all high in vitamins, minerals and fibre.

    Gillian McKeith’s Top 10 FABULOUS FOODS

    1. Cruciferous Vegetables

    a) Broccoli

    b) Green Cabbage

    Abundant in vits: A, C & K, zinc, potassium & chlorophyll

    Rich in vit C

    c) Brussel Sprouts

    d) Cauliflower

    Contains Vitamins A & C. Riboflavin, iron, potassium and fibre

    Rich in Vitamin C, potassium and fibre

    2. Avocados High in Vit E and good fats – essential fatty acids.
    3. Beetroot Rich in Vitamin A, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and iron
    4. Apples Abundant in Vitamins A, C, B1 niacin and pantothenic acid. They also contain phosphorus and fibre.
    5. Pears A reasonable source of Vit C & A. An abundant source of potassium
    6. Peaches Rich in iron and Beta-Carotene.
    7. Garlic High in the beneficial sulphur compound called ‘allicin’.
    8. Parsley Contains more vitamin C than oranges! Packed with essential oils and rich in Vits A & C. It also contains iron, calcium and potassium.
    9. Pink Grapefruit Packed with Vitamins A, B, C and E. Also rich in iron.
    10. Seasonal Berries High in fibre, potassium, Vitamin C and capillary-strengthening flavanoids.

    1.Is ORGANIC food the best choice for me?

    Where possible, I would encourage you to buy ORGANIC food. The sad truth is that fruit and vegetables are only as good as the soils they are grown in. Modern farming techniques rely on artificial pesticides and fertilisers that rob the soil of vital nutrients that should pass into our food. The result is crops that might look good, but which are deficient in vitamins and minerals. Their deficiencies become our deficiencies. So while it is great to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, especially SUPERFOODS – remember that the quality is just as important as the quantity.

    2.Is it preferable to eat in season and locally?

    It is best to buy LOCAL produce IN SEASON and consume it soon after buying. Avoid purchasing fruit and vegetables that have been imported from the other side of the world, and then leaving them in a cupboard for 2 weeks before eating them. The longer food has been stored, and thus exposed to air and light – especially if it contains vitamin A, C, or E – the more nutritional goodness it loses. Spinach stored in an open container, for example, will lose at least 10 % of its vitamin C content every day.

    3.Do I need to cook everything?

    A word about cooking and storing food: any form of heating, especially high heat has an impact on nutrients. This does not mean I think you should eat everything raw – just be sensible about how you cook and store food. Gently steaming vegetables will minimise nutrient loss and is preferable to boiling and deep frying. Keep fresh food cool and in the dark in the fridge in sealed containers. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables in the warmer months, and lightly cooked or steamed in winter. That’s why in the winter I like to make soups, and then add fresh raw vegetables into the hot soups at the end. In this way, I can heat the vegetables but not cook them. In effect, the raw veggies that are added into the soup at the very end will get warmed but never cooked out.