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10 superfoods you absolutely must include in your diet

08 December 2015, 09:09 Extracted from 500 Superfood Dishes by Beverley Glock (Struik Lifestyle/Quarto)

Superfoods are foods that are high in nutrients and health-giving properties.

Eating a diet rich in superfoods should help to control weight, curb hunger pangs and cravings, protect from diseases and boost the immune system.

But knowing what to eat and how to eat it can be confusing. Getting the most out of superfoods means a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in rich colours, as well as lean meats and oily fish.

500 Superfood Dishes offers an exciting range of healthboosting recipes, from healing soups to cleansing juices, immune-boosting meals, detoxing desserts and sleep-aiding snacks – all destined to become a delicious part of one’s daily routine.

British TV chef and book author Beverley Glock recently published 500 Superfood Dishes, a gorgeous little cookbook and nutritional info tome in one. It lists dozens of superfoods, how they can help you live with optimum health and also answers frequently asked questions we all have about these foods.

What's best is it helps you take those ingredients and incorporate them in delicious, modern dishes that the whole family will enjoy.

Here is our top 10 must-have superfoods: 

1. Almonds: Packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibre. Almonds make a great addition to any salad or dessert. Almond milk is also a nutritious dairy-free alternative to cow's milk. 

2.Bananas: Rich in potassium, fibre, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese, they strengthen the immune system as they contain cytolcin which is believed to increase white blood cells. Bananas give a natural energy boost and help to reduce stress levels because of their tryptophan content, a chemical that converts to the feel-good hormone serotonin. 

3.Butternut squash: The deep yellow colour means it's high in beta carotene, which helps to protect against skin cancer.

4.Chia seeds: The richest source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids, loaded with antioxidants, high in protein, minerals and fibre. Chia seeds swell to more than five times their weight in liquid, so they'll help make you feel quicker, and can help with weight loss.

5.Chocolate/raw cacao: Dairy-free 70 percent cocoa or higher elevates your mood, improves your blood flow and can lower blood pressure. It helps reduce inflammation and bad cholesterol and contains heaps of antioxidants.

Raw cacao is even better as none of the nutrients are lost in heat treatment, so make up your own raw chocolates instead. Raw cacao contains more antioxidants than acai, goji or blueberries.

Read: The many wonders of Goji Berries 

6. Cinnamon: Stabilises blood sugar levels and encourages blood flow through the body.

7.Coconut oil: Quickly and easily absorbed by the body, so it's an easy source of energy that may help you burn more fat. It helps to protect against heart disease and slightly lowers cholesterol.

It is excellent for cooking as it does not form harmful trans fats when heated, even at high temperatures. Use in place of butter and oil in cooking. A small pinch of salt can be added to savoury recipes to reduce the coconut flavour.

8.Cumin: Contains anti-inflammatory properties and also helps reduce bloating.

9. Greek yoghurt: An excellent source of calcium, potassium,protein, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12. Contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose than regular yoghurt, but with twice the amount of protein. Eat with fresh berries instead of shop-bought fruit yoghurt, which can be high in sugar. 

10. Hemp: A good source of protein, especially relevant to vegans. Contains omega-3 and -6 faty acids and is thought to be energy boosting. 

Here is one of our favourite recipe from 500 Superfood Dishes, that fits in well with the Paleo way of eating right now:

Superfood crackers

225 g (8 oz) spelt flour
2 tbsp olive oil
25 g (3⁄4 oz) butter, softened
1 tbsp chia seeds
30 g (1 oz) sunflower seeds
25 g (3⁄4 oz) pumpkin seeds, pulsed quickly in a food processor
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp alfalfa seeds
1⁄2 tsp sweet paprika
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
4–5 tbsp water


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and mix well to form a dough, adding sufficient water to hold the mixture together.

Once it’s come together, use your hands to press it into a ball and work the dough for 1–2 minutes to make sure it stays together.

Roll the dough out gently to 3-4mm thickness between 2 sheets of baking parchment, cut into squares or oblongs, transfer to a greased and lined baking tray.

Bake for 10–15 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

These go beautifully with cheese.

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- Health24

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