For some time there has been a fashion for healthy eating. We pay more attention to what we eat, how our food affects our bodies, which products harm us, and which, on the contrary, help us maintain health, shape, and well-being. The superfoods belong to the group of the second, beneficial products for us. Shelves in health food stores are even bent from more and more exotic specimens – goi berries, acai, spirulina, chia seeds, noni juice, macadamia nuts. There is no doubt that it is worth reaching for each of them because of the valuable composition and very good health effects. In the hunt for nutritional novelties, however, we forgot about our Polish, native products, which due to their health properties they are by no means inferior to their exotic colleagues and are more affordable, also for our portfolio.
What superfoods are
There are several definitions of superfoods, but most of them boil down to the fact that it is a food rich in ingredients that are considered particularly beneficial to human health. Such products should provide significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, flavonoids, amino acids or unsaturated fatty acids. Often, we do not realize that the products we meet daily definitely deserve the name of such nutritional heroes.
Superfoods at your fingertips
1) Silage – the main advantage of pickled vegetables is the presence of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), thanks to which fermentation is possible. Numerous studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of LAB in the prevention and treatment of rotavirus infections, as well as disorders of the digestive system. These bacteria, inhabiting the human digestive tract, inhibit the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria and neutralize the toxins they produce. Also, silage is the source of several vitamins C, A, E, K and group B, as well as minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. They are also low in calories and provide a lot of fiber.
Of course, it is best to pick up the vegetables yourself, then we are sure that they do not contain any additional harmful substances. If you decide to buy silage, make sure that they are pickled naturally and not only acidified with vinegar.
2) Kale – this vegetable is forgotten, it was well known to our grandmothers, and now he returns to favor. He is one of the oldest representatives of the Brassicaceae family, he was cultivated in antiquity. Particularly noteworthy is the amount of calcium contained in kale – 150 mg per 100 g and vitamin C – 120 mg per 100 g. It is also an excellent source of carotenoids – β-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin K and iron. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it contains sulforaphane – a compound from the isothiocyanate group, which has proven chemopreventive activity. Interestingly, we can enjoy fresh kale all year round, also in winter. It is best to collect it after frost when it becomes more noble and delicate in taste.
3) Blackcurrant – we all know it well. Few of us, however, realize how great wealth carries this inconspicuous fruit. Thanks to the polyphenol content, black currant has high antioxidant properties. These compounds inhibit the formation of free radicals, reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Research shows that compounds contained in blackcurrant can contribute to the increase of human performance and cognitive functions. What’s more, the juice of this fruit can play an important role in preventing the development of disorders associated with aging processes, including dementia.
4) Parsley leaf – is a wealth of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. It also contains essential oils for health, such as apiol, myristicin, terpenes, and eugenol. The last one is used in dentistry as a local anesthetic. It has antiseptic effects, there are studies on its effect on lowering blood sugar levels. Interestingly, 100 g of parsley contains 133 mg of vitamin C, which is 220% of its daily requirement.
5) Linseed – flax seeds have been grown for 6000 years! These small brown or golden seeds are the richest vegetable source of omega-3 acids. They are also a great source of amino acids, B vitamins, and fiber. However, one of the most valuable compounds contained in it are lignans belonging to flavonoids. In addition to having a strong antioxidant effect, they influence the regulation of hormone management. Because they belong to the group of phytoestrogens, the structure resembles human estrogens. Thanks to this they can supplement these hormones, but also to inhibit their excessive activity. That is why they are particularly recommended to women during menopause.
All products described above are inexpensive, easily available, well-known to us, and most importantly, rich in substances for our health. This is only a small handful of food representatives
with unusual properties that have been known in Poland for a long time. Of course, it is worth trying and enjoys the ever-newer curiosities. Let’s not forget, however, about the riches of nature that we have at our fingertips.