Superfoods and health miracles, eh! It seems that every food outlet in London is trying to flog us flu-defying salads and anti-ageing soups. It’s hardly surprising – what with the smog, taxi fumes and germ-ridden underground escalators – but when did our strong, innate desire for these come to the fore? Has it always been there, simply buried under the surface, or is it a more recent desire brought about by the ills of modern diet, lifestyle and culture? Whatever the reason, superfoods – teeming with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants – are now here to help protect us against the ‘free radicals’ threatening our bodies. As the list of superfoods continues to grow, we are now able to adapt what we eat with the seasons to further assist our immune systems in the fight against whatever the elements choose to throw at us. So what should you be looking for in a free-radical fighting salad, soup, stew, wrap or flatbreads this winter? Take a look at four of the most ‘super’ ingredients you should be using at this time of year…
Back in the days when the buzzword ‘superfood’ was first successfully coined, blueberries were at the top of every health-conscious eater’s shopping list due to their high concentration of antioxidants. Containing super-high levels of ORAC, too, and readily available at most supermarkets, frozen blueberries are a year-round superfood you can snack on in the winter as well as the summer. Perhaps a small proportion of their nutrients may be lost during the freezing process, but blueberries still outperform many of their counterparts in the health stakes. Use them in cereals, smoothies and baked goods or even graze on them throughout the working day to get your superfood kick in a delicious seasonal mouthful.
High in antioxidants and great for an energy boost with their simple sugars, prunes are an excellent wintertime snack. Due to the high fibre, fructose and sorbitol content found in prunes, your blood sugar levels will not increase significantly while eating these dried fruits – despite the high sugar levels they contain. Furthermore, for all you gym nuts out there, the high potassium levels found in prunes are beneficial for cardiovascular health – just like the ever-popular banana. If bone issues and osteoporosis are troubling you, then prunes’ high boron levels can assist in their prevention, too.
Much like Ricky Gervais’ comedy, potatoes tend to divide opinion – well, in terms of contemporary nutritional lore anyway. Yes, we know that the starch content is high, but it must be remembered that potatoes contain no fat or cholesterol and boast the additional health benefits of protein and fibre. All of these factors combined can assist in weight loss, help to lower cholesterol levels and even decrease the risk of heart disease. Make sure you seek out the larger, deeper-hued varieties of potato – containing higher levels of antioxidants – to make the most of these winter warmers.
Recent studies have suggested that our friend the cabbage is actually the world’s most potent vegetable, at least in terms of its nutritional benefits and cancer-fighting properties. Reasons for this include cabbages’ high levels of phytochemicals that help fight cancer-causing free radicals. Vitamins K and C can also be found also alongside fibre, vitamin B6, folate, manganese and Omega 3 fatty acids. Not keen on cabbage on its lonesome? Then coleslaw is a great way to perk things up whilst still getting your regular intake of the good stuff.
So now that you know just a few of the seasonal superfoods you should be eating this winter, why not try to up the anti(oxidants) for your next meal? If time’s an issue, pop into your nearest Chop’d branch and try out their wide array of seasonal produce on offer. Try one of our salads, soups, stews, wraps or flatbreads in store or order your meal online by downloading the Orogo app and beat the seasonal crowds.