Can superfoods help to heal?
Posted by: The Personal Truth’s team
Whether it’s the perfectly styled eggs and avocado on your favourite foodie’s Instagram, or Jamie Oliver’s Super Food on channel 4, there’s no denying the healthy eating trend has taken over. Which is why it’s surprising that recent research has shown that only 27% of people in the UK get their 5-a-day. The World Health Organization recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers. But how much influence does the food we eat have on our health?
One of the first entrepreneurs to jump onto the superfood bandwagon was Ella Woodward, better known as Deliciously Ella. The food blogger was left bed ridden at the age of 20, after being diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. The illness had a devastating effect on her life, both mentally and physically – Ella’s nervous system struggled to function properly which meant that she couldn’t control her heart rate or blood pressure. She had stomach problems, constant headaches, lots of allergic reactions and chronic fatigue – so spent almost all of her time in bed.
After taking it upon herself to research ways to manage her illness, Ella cut out processed foods and took up a whole-foods, plant based diet. She found after sticking to recipes that only use natural and organic foods, her body slowly but surely began to regain energy and over time her health was almost completely restored. Ella is now able to manage her illness and puts her recovery down to her superfood diet and healthy lifestyle.
Hearing positive stories such as Ella’s has inspired The Personal Truths team to look into some of the top and most accessible ‘superfoods’ that we can all use in our everyday meals.
Avocados have more soluble fibre than other fruit and contain a number of useful minerals such as iron, copper and folate and are a good source of potassium. Research suggests that the ‘good fats’ in avocado help to protect against heart disease and lowers blood pressure. They’re packed with antioxidants and half an avocado counts as one portion of your 5-a day.
Derived from the seed of a plant, Quinoa is related to spinach and is a true superfood. It’s high in protein and contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle and repair itself. It also has a few carbohydrates and a dose of healthy fats, quinoa contains an amino acid called lysine, as well vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, copper, zinc, magnesium and folate.
Oats are high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, protein and more. As well as helping improve your skin, they are brilliant for those suffering from stress and tiredness. So if you’re feeling short of energy in the morning, try porridge with almond milk for a boost.
This fibre-rich, dark green leafy vegetable is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals. The vitamin A and C in kale is fantastic for your skin and can slow down premature ageing. It also contains lutein, a nutrient that is beneficial for your body and complexion, and also brightens the whites of the eyes. One serving of cooked kale provides more than half the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring! If you have a sweet tooth you’ll be pleased to hear chocolate is actually good for us, but only the dark kind. Tests have shown that dark chocolate contains more antioxidants and polyphenols – which are thought to protect the body from cancer and heart conditions – than fruit.
These tiny purple fruit are great for memory and supporting mental health. Eat them regularly and you may reap big brain benefits. “A type of antioxidant called anthocyanins has been shown in animal studies to increase signals among brain cells and improve their resilience, enhancing learning and memory.” says Robert Krikorian, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Cincinnati.
Nuts are great for snacking between meals. They contain healthy oils, fibre, vitamins, minerals, potent phytochemicals and the amino acid arginine. Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein, and all nuts are beneficial for heart health – eating a handful of nuts five times a week reduces your risk of coronary heart disease. Nuts are rich in fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Great for memory, eggs are full of high-quality proteins, essential minerals and vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folate. An egg is a compact package of nutrition that provides every vitamin except vitamin C. Eggs are also a rich source of vitamin K – one egg contains one-third of the daily recommended for adults.
Please note that this article was produced by The Personal Truths team as information only and should not be regarded as advice.