Monthly Archives: January 2009

Superfoods – Broccoli

Most people think of oranges when they think of Vitamin C.  I think of broccoli.  Most people think of milk or other dairy products when they think of Calcium.  I think of broccoli.

Broccoli in the raw

Did you know that broccoli has more Vitamin C than an orange!  Not only does broccoli contain antioxicants including Vitamin C but it’s a particularly good source of folate, or naturally occurring folic acid.  And for lactose intolerant individuals, it is an excellent source of Calcium!

Just one serving (1 cup) and you will be receiving health benefits of the following:

  • Vitamins C, A, E, K
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6
  • Folic Acid
  • Fibre
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Protein
  • Omega 3
  • Tryptophan
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Beta carotene

Sounds like a multi-vitamin supplement, doesn’t it?!

One of my strongest beliefs is, “Prevention is better than cure.”  By incorporating superfoods such as broccoli into your eating regime, the health benefits are numerous:

Preventing and/or slowing down the many causes of:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Macular Degeneration
  • High blood pressure
  • Anti-inflammatory conditions
  • Boils
  • Anaemia
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer – in particular lung, stomach, colon and rectal

Broccoli has the most health benefits when it is eaten raw.  If you wish to cook it, then steam very lightly as it loses nutrients as it is cooked.  However, being creative and incorporating it into different recipes is another option so that you don’t get tired of eating it the same way all the time.

If you have children that don’t want to eat broccoli, try the trick my mum used when my brother and I were little – calling broccoli the “trees and shrubs” vegetable.

That was a more exciting way to see it and get the health benefits without even realising it!

Superfoods – Spinach

I remember watching Popeye cartoons and finding it rather interesting how he just ate spinach out of a can….I believe that a modern day Popeye would be eating it “organically fresh” straight from the garden to get the maximum health benefits of spinach!

Here’s why:

Spinach as a superfood is based on solid research and should be considered seriously for almost anyone’s diet (always exceptions to the rule).

Spinach in the raw

Spinach is low in calories, yet extremely high in vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients – there’s that word again!  In case you forgot: natural plant chemicals with human nutritional value.  Spinach has more than 100% of vitamins K and A just for starters.  It is an excellent source of vitamins B2 and B6, magnesium, iron (non-heme), calcium, and potassium as well.  It contains more than half the daily requirements for folate and manganese.  Spinach has a special concoction of flavonoids, 13 to be exact, which all work together to help slow a number of cancers including colon, bladder, prostate, liver, breast, stomach, ovarian and smoking related lung cancer.  Spinach is not only a superfood, but a brain food; more health benefits of spinach include:  improved brain function, improved eyesight, macular degeneration prevention, increased energy, improved gastrointestinal function.

Spinach is also a very good source of dietary fibre, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E.  If that’s not enough health benefits, spinach is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and niacin.

Spinach is readily accessible to all and available almost everywhere in the world today as a whole food, affordable and if the climate is right, you could even grow spinach in your own backyard.

It is not just a coincidence that with our modern day changed diets, the rise of different diseases go hand in hand.  One of those changes has been that grain products have become one of the dominant sources of caloric intake today, despite being relatively low in nutrient value.

On the other side of the coin, the western diet today contains only 40% volume of vegetables, such as spinach, than it did a century ago.

Spinach is versatile – my personal favourite is baby spinach leaves raw in salads (a superior alternative to low nutrient iceberg lettuce) or it can be eaten cooked as a side vegetable, or mixed in things such as quiche muffins, or lasagne.

Incorporate spinach or a spinach recipe in your daily diet (eating plan), starting now.  Your body will thank you for all those health benefits associated with it!