A healthy start to 2009 – superfoods worth trying

By Thomas Breathnach

Quitting smoking, saving money, learning to play the ukulele. New Year’s resolutions have a habit of not going the distance. Instead of a major overhaul, start small by making simple, healthy additions to your diet. The term “superfood “seems to be thrown around often but we’ve separated the wheat from the chaff to give you five fantastic foods to kick start your year.

“Qui-what?!” Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is an increasingly popular crop. Native to the Andes, it’s now found in most health stores across South Africa. It can be cooked and eaten in a similar way to rice or used as a highly nutritious substitute for muesli or breakfast oats. With 15 percent protein, quinoa is a complete protein food, which is extremely rare for crop-yeilding fair.

Wild salmon
Protein, vitamin D for healthy teeth, and omega-3 fatty acids for great skin. Clearly swimming thousands of miles across the Atlantic and up those rivers wasn’t time wasted. When buying salmon always make sure the “wild” refers to the fish – not the waters, as farm produced salmon can also be marketed as “wild Atlantic”. If you want a cheaper alternative, try rainbow trout.

Maybe if the creators of Popeye had done their homework a little better they would have had him beating off Brutus with florets of broccoli rather than spinach leaves. While spinach contains higher quantities of iron and calcium than broccoli, its high levels of oxalates means the body has difficulty absorbing these nutrients leaving broccoli top of the vegetable class.

Goji berries
It’s been word on the street now for a while that goji berries are the new pomegranates. While many critics have come out against the berry as being the latest marketing craze, the facts speak for themselves. They have more iron than steak and contain the highest number of antioxidants of any recorded food. As far as fruit goes, they’re as good as it gojis.

Green tea
Bodybuilders haven’t been sipping green tea for years to look civilized, they know green tea naturally speeds up the metabolism and stimulates fat loss, making it particularly popular when “cutting”. It also contains the antioxidant EGCG which inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the body, plus its levels of caffeine will give you extra oomph during workouts without making you feel edgy.