Listen up, nutritious food lovers, because this is for you.
We’re not sure when exactly the superfood craze first began, but it seems as though ever since people popped that first goji berry into their mouths, there’s been an obsession around food produce that is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, anti-everything bad basically.
To break it down, superfoods are foods that are classified by their dense concentration of vital vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, healthy enzymes or other healthy properties that help to treat, lower the risk of or prevent specific diseases and maladies.
The only problem with superfoods is that most of them come with a fairly hefty carbon footprint. Maca powder from Peru is the latest trend, and those little goji berries have to be flown in allll the way from China.
So we’ve put together a list of some home-grown superfoods that can be found right here, in Ireland, and explained exactly why they’re so good for you.
Add some of these to your diet and you’ll feel fan-feckin-tastic…
Beetroot, especially the greens (which can be cooked just like spinach and are actually really tasty), is rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. It’s also an excellent source of folic acid and a great source of fibre, manganese and potassium.
Beetroot is also rich in nitrates. When ingested, scientists believe our body converts nitrates into nitric oxide, a chemical believed to lower blood pressure.
So basically, if you’re feeling a bit stressed, you should chew on some beets.
Porridge lover? You’re in luck. Oats are loaded with important vitamins such as vitamin B1 and vitamin B5, iron, manganese and antioxidant plant compounds. They also contain large amounts of beta glucan, a type of soluble fibre.
Beta glucan has a cholesterol-lowering effect that reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, and can help to reduce blood pressure.
Snails (yep, Ireland has a snail farm!), contain essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and are a rich source of vitamins E, A, K and B12.
Magnesium helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.
If it’s good enough for the French, oui?
Bee pollen is a nutrient powerhouse of eighteen vitamins including a B complex, all essential amino acids, fatty acids and enzymes. If that wasn’t enough, it is made up of at least 25% protein.
Bee pollen has also been found to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help reduce stress levels due to its high magnesium and B vitamin content.
The fun yellow granules will add some colour to any salad, soup, or even your porridge.
Seaweed contains a rich supply of minerals – most prominently, calcium, copper, iodine and iron. It is also rich in protein, fibre and vitamins, specifically vitamin K and folic acid, while being low in calories and fat.
Seaweeds contain lignans (naturally occurring chemical compounds), which have anti-cancer properties, and chlorophyll, a powerful, natural detoxifier that helps to draw out waste products.
Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin D and selenium. It is a good source of niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus and vitamin B6.
Omega-3 promotes healthy joints and skin and reduces the risk of heart disease, while vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
Barley provides a range of important vitamins and minerals: fibre, selenium, B vitamins, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin and more.
Barley’s high source of fibre helps with maintaining a healthy digestive system, lowers cholesterol levels and may lower your risk of developing haemorrhoids (*note – never google the word ‘haemorrhoids’ at lunchtime)