Move over kamut and kale- the age of the superfood is dwindling. There’s no need to search for berries from the Amazon or ancient Mayan grains, the best buys are in your local grocery aisle. We take a look at the everyday supermarket buys that are bursting with nutrition benefits, minus the superfood price tag.
Here’s your guide to the best supermarket superfoods:
When world-renown chef Jamie Oliver was asked what his all-time favourite vegetable was, his answer was simple: beets. “I’m obsessed with them at the moment. You can roast them, smash them, cook them in the fireplace… the options are endless,” he said in a recent Australian interview.
Oliver’s not the only one who thinks it’s time for beetroots to return to the limelight. “Beets have strong detoxifying properties as they’re high in chlorine, which assists in cleaning the liver, kidneys and bloodstream,” says nutritionist and chef Samantha Gowing. “They’re also rich in potassium, which balances the metabolism.”
To harness these health properties, Gowing recommends dry roasting them. “Simply scrub them with a vegetable brush – be careful not to break or prick the skin – and cook in a moderate oven until tender. Trim the stalks and roots, carefully peel and slice as required.” Done!
“Everyone should eat more avocado!” says Larina Robinson, wholefood dietitian and founder of The Body Dietetics. “The healthy fats in avocados help your body to absorb more of the nutrients from other foods you eat. They’re loaded with fibre supporting a healthy gut, possess anti-inflammatory compounds, and are rich in heart healthy oleic acid – the main fatty acid found in olive oil.”
What’s more, a new study by Penn State suggests that an avocado per day may lower bad cholesterol, which can benefit your heart health.
If you’re stumped when choosing the best ripe avocado, Robinson says there’s a fool-proof test. “Pop off the dried little button at the top to check the colour underneath. If it’s green, then it’s good to go. If it’s brown, it’s too ripe.”
Nature’s golden fruit is the perfect nutrient-packed sweet snack. “Pineapples contain bromelain, supporting protein digestion, and are rich in vitamin C for healthy eyes and immunity,” says Robinson.
That’s not all though. “Pineapples are also rich in the trace mineral manganese, an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production, antioxidant defenses and maintaining healthy bones,” she says.
Robinson says they’re an ideal fruit to have some fun with. “I usually serve up pineapple icy cold or frozen, in wedges, juice, or made into a frozen sorbet with fresh mint and lime.”
For maximum health benefits, avoid the tinned variety though. “You’re just adding extra sugar to an already sweet food, and most of the juice blends are reconstituted, reducing its vitamin C content and nutritional value,” she explains. Head straight to the markets or grocery aisle and grab one fresh.
“Broccoli is one seriously underrated vegetable!” says Robinson. “It’s packed with essential vitamin C, A, K and foliate. Plus it’s also loaded with sulforaphane, a powerful compound that helps to boost the body’s natural detoxification pathways,” she says. Not bad for a simple vegetable sitting in your local grocery aisle.
To get all the goodness from this green plant, be sure to steam it. A study by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has found that if broccoli is cooked until it’s too soft, it’s health value takes a dive. Instead, throw it in a steamer or sauté some stems for 2-3 minutes.
The humble cabbage might not sound as sexy as kale, but according to chef and nutritionist Samantha Gowing, it packs a seriously healthy punch.
“Cabbages are rich in chlorophyll and Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid. They cleanse and rejuvenate the digestive tract,” she explains. Not all cabbages are equal though. “The darker the outer leaves the more concentrated the chlorophyll and calcium content,” she says. Opt for cabbages with deep green leaves and add them diced to salads or fermented with traditional Chinese food for a twist.
Images via Maryam Makes, Real Fruit Jewelry, Taste, Green Kitchen Stories