‘Superfoods’ were all the rage in 2014 – now get ready to have them in combinations that can increase their benefits, says nutritionist Rick Hay
The term ‘superfood’ has become a popular way to refer to nutritional powerhouses that have been shown to provide us with an array of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. Whether you want more energy, better immunity, weight management or to assist with digestive function, taking a superfood may help as they can provide concentrated levels of nutrients in freeze-dried powdered form and help supplement your diet with nutrients (though they should never be used to replace real fruit and vegetables) and you can achieve even better results if you combine two or three of them together. Here are five of the best superfood combinations I’ve discovered.
Spirulina, Maca and Wheat Grass
Chlorophyll rich spirulina and wheatgrass contain high levels magnesium which boosts energy production at a cellular level. When combined with the amino acid dense South American superfood Maca these three make a great pre-exercise option – a nutrient dense natural energy drink that’s caffeine and sugar free. This blend will also help promote lean muscle mass after exercise which assists in fat metabolism and toning. We like Fushi’s Wheatgrass, Synergy Natural Organic Spirulina and Organic Burst’s Maca Powder.
Helps with…WEIGHT LOSS
Chia Seeds and Spirulina
Add a teaspoon of chia seeds and one of Spirulina to a smoothie in the morning to help kick start your metabolism (chia seeds are best soaked in water for at least 15 minutes before you consume them, ideally overnight, this helps them absorb water, making them easier to digest). The chia seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids so they will help with healthy hair, skin and nails and cognition and they also help balance blood sugar which means they could help keep cravings at bay. They swell slightly when added to liquid – this makes you feel fuller. The addition of spirulina to any smoothie also assists with satiety. Supergreen Spirulina also promotes healthy digestion which in turn assists with optimum fat metabolism. We like Chia Co’s Chia Seeds and Synergy Natural Organic Spirulina.
Cacao, Blueberry and Raspberries
This trio contains bioflavonoids, anthocyanidins and resveratrol – superbly powerful antioxidants that may help the body protect and repair itself. These produce positive benefits in terms of protecting the length of your ‘telomeres’ – little tips at the ends of your chromosomes that scientists have found shorten as the body ages. Longer healthy telomeres mean a longer healthy life. The coloured pigments in the berries are what provide the antioxidant content and combine wonderfully with the cardioprotective nature of the cacao – the raw cacao protects against toxins and can repair damage caused by free radicals. We like Bioglan’s Raw Organic Cacao Powder.
Barley Grass, Aloe Vera and Turmeric
To help reduce bloating and digestive problems add a half a teaspoon of barleygrass and turmeric powder to a smoothie or juice and drink once or twice a day – add 5mls of antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial aloe vera juice to help soothe an upset tummy and to reduce reduce flatulence. They also have prebiotic qualities that will encourage the growth of gut friendly probiotics. Meanwhile, turmeric contains a substance called curcumin which has been shown to work as a powerful anti-inflammatory (add a teaspoon it to your curries, often). We like Naturya’s Organic Barleygrass and Xynergy’s Aloe Vera Juice (turmeric is available from supermarkets).
Chlorophyll, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass and Spirulina
Clean and alkalise the system with these four supergreens you only need to add a quarter of a teaspoon of each to water or fresh juice to create a Ph-balancing nutritional cocktail that will help to alkalise your system – great if you’ve been overdoing it on coffee, sweets and meat or if you’re under extreme stress as all these make your body overly acidic. The key to these superfoods is their deep green colour, the pigments come from enzymes in the foods that help to create optimum digestion and elimination.