Monthly Archives: March 2009

My top 10 Savvy super foods

Here is my list, at long last!

We have had my mother to stay with us for 10 days, hence why I have been off the radar for a bit.

One of the lovely things about having guests, I find, it that it is a good excuse to indulge in a bit of home baking. Not that my husband isn’t a grateful recipient and willing guinea pig …

So this is what I baked: sticky ginger cake, Parkin (a Scottisch ginger cake – a bit drier than the sticky variety but moreish all the same), Lady Grey tealoaf (my mother in-law’s recipe which uses no fat at all but it still deliciously moist) and fig & walnut crunchies (made with a mixture of barley, gram = chickpea and rice flour, so suitable for coeliacs). I will share the recipes with you over the next couple of weeks.

Right, now for those super foods, here is my personal top 10:

1. Broccoli: full of anti-oxidant vitamins C and E, as well as vitamin K for strong bones and a healthy heart.

2. Tomatoes: packed with lots of super nutrients that act together to provide disease fighting properties, the most potent being lycopene. Lycopene is best absorbed from tomatoes when cooked with a little olive oil.

3. Nut & seeds: are especially good plant-based sources of omega 3 oils and plant sterols, both of which are known to help lower cholesterol. The zinc in pumpkin and sunflower seeds can do wonders for energy levels.

4. Garlic: has long been considered a natural wonder drug and is known to have strong anti-oxidant properties. Not only is garlic good for your heart health, it is also thought to be – thanks to its antibacterial properties – a good way of avoiding a cold or flu. Thought to be especially beneficial when eaten with selenium rich foods such as fish and wholegrains, when it appears to block cancer initiation.

5. Oily fish: the omega 3 fatty acids in oily fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna and mackerel, are good at protecting the body from respiratory infections. The oils increase activity of phagocytes, white blood cells, which destroy bacteria and thus help the body fight infection.

6. Oats: are rich in soluble fibre and appear to move some of body’s cholesterol out of harm’s way. They are also a good source of silicon, linked to maintenance of strong bones, and are digested slowly which helps to keep blood sugar steady.

7. Eggs: are rich in the eye and skin protecting supernutrient lutein, not to mention easily digested protein needed for the repair and renewal of the body’s cells, and iron to keep up energy levels.

8. Olive oil: is one of the best sources of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and can protect us from heart disease by controlling levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body whilst boosting “good” cholesterol. Olive oil is also known to contain anti-oxidants.

9. Yoghurt: probiotic organisms in yoghurt (make sure the packaging says “live and active cultures”) increases the number of good bacteria in your gut, thus protecting you against infections.

10. Pulses: they are amongst other things, good for your heart and rich in fibre. The other piece of good news is that there are many varieties to choose from, including lentils, kidney, cannellini beans and chickpeas.

On that note I leave you with the “menu” for tomorrow’s kitchen supper with our wonderful neighbours, which I have decided to give a French flavour.

To start leeks vinaigrette with soft boiled Old Coldswold Legbar eggs

Then braised Puy lentils with wilted spinach, Toulouse sausages and mustard sauce

To finish iles flottantes, or floating meringues in a thin custard topped with flaked toasted almonds.

I hope I have inspired you to try and include more super foods in your diet –ย and that you like the sound of the menu above.

This is all for now – I won’t leave it so long next time!