There are superfoods making a comeback and your Nan probably used to eat them all.
Before we were cooing about Kale and trying to pronounce Quinoa (“It’s keenwah and that’ll be $42 please”) there were inexpensive nutrient rich foods lurking on the shelves of the local markets and it’s time to reintroduce them into your kitchen cupboards.
Dandelion – A Magical Potion
In my day as children we used to pick these weeds and snap the stem and put the white liquid on warts for a cure! When the petals dried out they looked magical and we would blow the fairy like petals into the air and make a wish.
It may be a weed, but this golden-headed gem is packed with nutrients.
Dried dandelion leaf tea can be taken as a diuretic for fluid retention.
It also aids digestion, constipation and is a great liver tonic, which is excellent for skin problems. However there are few warnings about the interaction with other drugs, such as antibiotics, so check with your doctor before using it
Beetroot – A Purple Powerhouse
The vibrant purple colour indicates a high concentration of the betacyanin, an antioxidant that is a triple-threat to cancer, liver toxicity and a sluggish lymphatic system. Plus it’s is high in fibre and glutamine for healthy intestines and bowels. Eat it raw, baked or boiled. Canned is OK if it’s in beetroot juice but look for glass jars and not tins, which may be lined with harmful plastics.
Cod Liver Oil – No More Mr Nasty Guy
Synonymous with your Grandparents this superfood was in everyone’s cupboard and used to be taken in liquid form but because of it’s a nasty flavour was not a popular part of the daily routine. Nowadays though capsules are available and taken at their recommended dose are a convenient way to get a daily boost for your immune system.
Clinical trials have shown protective results against lung cancer and childhood leukaemia.
Cod Liver is high in vitamins A and D and omega-3 and has been used to treat asthma, arthritis, muscle pain, coronary artery disease, diabetes and high blood pressure
Look for Fermented rather than distilled varieties which are reportedly more potent.
The smaller the fish, the lower the mercury content
Sardines are a small fish that are high in omega-3, which gives it amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
As well as omega-3 being great for heart and brain health, researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in the US have now discovered that fish oil potentially has the ability to protect against dementia caused by alcohol abuse. Sardines are also a great osteoporosis preventative.
Cinnamon – Amazing Anti-inflammatory
The rusty coloured bark is traditionally used to treat colds, morning sickness, urinary tract and yeast infections and joint pain.
In 2013, a small study from Columbia University Medical Center found positive results on polycystic ovarian syndrome when women took an inexpensive daily cinnamon supplement.
The main benefit of cinnamon is its blood glucose balancing properties making it useful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Due to continuing clinical studies there is no definitive daily dose. However, botanist James Duke, who worked with the US Department of Agriculture, is quoted as recommending one-eighth of a teaspoon to improve insulin efficiency.
*High doses may be toxic and it’s not recommended during pregnancy or for those suffering from stomach or intestinal ulcers.
Cabbage – A Staple Diet in Eastern Europe
An old fashioned superfood, just one cup of shredded raw cabbage contains a good amount of thiamine, calcium and iron, fibre and vitamins C, K and B6, giving your coleslaw a power packed punch. The real benefits are the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties like sulforaphanes, anthocyanins and glucosinolates, which are linked to cancer prevention.
Cabbage juice is also known to help with stomach ulcers. For a probiotic punch, unpasteurised sauerkraut is said to contain more lactobacillus bacteria than live yoghurt
Barley - A Versatile Wholegrain
Traditionally added to and soups and casseroles it can be great in salads and can be substituted for arborio rice to make a healthy risotto.
While it does contain gluten and isn’t ideal for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, barley is high in beta-glucan soluble fibre, which helps with lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of bowel cancer.
What’s more, clinical trials have shown it fights type 2 diabetes by slowing glucose absorption.
Horseradish- Hot Stuff
Traditionally used in sauces on a Sunday roast. The medicinal properties of this plant make it a popular traditional treatment for various conditions, from respiratory issues to urinary tract problems. Science seems to be in agreement, with several studies proving it’s worth as an antibiotic, antifungal and antispasmodic.
A professor at the University of Illinois, confirms, “Horseradish contains more than 10-fold higher glucosinolates than broccoli, so you don’t need much horseradish to benefit.”
These sulfur-containing chemicals have become the object of scientific interest that could also play a role in cancer prevention.
Modified from an article in www.bodyandsoul.com.au