Seven everyday foods you didn’t know were super
Jump off the exotic and expensive ‘super foods’ band wagon – check out these everyday foods that pack a nutritional punch
Kaity Brown, Publishing Editor
The term “Super Foods” is heavily used these days. It seems every month there is a new to-die-for super food that will magically cure any illness, make you live 10 years longer and make you look like a super model.
They are often things you have never heard of – Quinoa, Maca Powder, Goji Berries, Hemp Hearts… They are expensive, exotic and you feel the need to buy them because you have now somehow convinced yourself that all other foods are inadequate and “common wealth”.
Well snap out of it! Sure those foods are “super” but there are everyday foods, some that might even be sitting in your fridge right now, that are also nutritional forces to be reckoned with.
Check out these seven foods that you didn’t know were super:
And you thought that all this time cinnamon was just for pumpkin spice lattes? Actually, just one teaspoon of cinnamon has more antioxidants that a cup of blueberries. Not only that, but the spice can help reduce cholesterol and help level blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes. This is a medicinal food and has “anti-microbial” (bacteria fighting) and “anti-inflammatory” characteristics. In all, it contains 80 essential vitamins and minerals and two teaspoons contain just shy of half of the daily requirement of manganese. Think before you start doing the cinnamon challenge though – too much cinnamon a day can cause problems for the liver and kidneys. This one is best just added to foods and drinks.
Cucumbers are cancer fighters: they contain three key lignans, lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol, that have been researched and linked to reduced rates of various cancers. Cucumbers contain a number of vitamins and minerals but most notably they are an excellent source of the b vitamins. This veggie is also 95% water and helps hydrate for overall health – try some cucumber water or slices before bed after a night on the town (they are said to help prevent hangovers).
Kiwis are another nutritional powerhouse, but what makes this fruit unique from the rest is that it’s one of the only fruits in the world that contains vitamin E. Usually vitamin E is found in nuts and other high fat and high calorie foods. On a calorie per nutrient ratio, Kiwis offer 3.8 calories per nutrient and are only edged out calorie wise by cantaloupes, papayas, strawberries and lemons. The kiwi also has more vitamin C than an orange and an array of minerals: folate, potassium, fiber, carotenoids, polyphenols, chlorophyll, glutathione and pectin, to name a few.
Celery has been deemed healthy just from being a very low calorie snack. But it should be considered a super food because of it’s metabolism boosting abilities. It also helps with lowering blood pressure and fights stress hormones in the body. It contains potassium, calcium, molybdenum, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron and the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, folate, and B6 – basically an A to Z of your daily vitamin and mineral needs.
5. Black Pepper:
You probably can’t get more common than black pepper. But surprisingly, this spice can improve your health from your head to your toes. Added to all kinds of dishes, the peppercorn helps absorption of nutrients for overall health. Like cinnamon, it is also a medicinal spice: it improves digestion, prevents tooth decay, fights cancers, relieves coughs and colds, reduces inflammation and is a natural anti-depressant.
Tomatoes are a well-established good-for-you food. So what’s super about them? Lycopene. Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that has twice the free radical busting power of beta-carotene, another very powerful antioxidant. Cooked tomatoes paired with olive oil concentrates the lycopene and makes it easier to gain the daily suggested intake. This antioxidant plays a major role in prevention of various diseases, like various cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
On top of being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory cancer fighting foods (varieties of onions and similar foods like garlic, scallions, chives and leeks), onions have virtually no side effects, as some nutrient dense foods can have with over consumption (unless you count onion breath). As well, onions are proven to increase bone density. One of the most unique characteristics of the onion is that is contains quercetin which is considered anti-allergenic and can help relieve the symptoms of allergies and even help prevent symptoms from affecting people with allergies.