Superfoods for 2015

Superfoods

Apart from aspiring to present a delicious series of dishes, we know that whenever you prepare a home cooked meal, your other priority is to nourish you and your family with good food that is healthy and nutritious. Powercharged with nutritional greatness and good looks to boot, our list of superfoods adds the most valued gift of good health to your daily menu along with a boost of gastronomic eye candy and a dose of honest-to-goodness flavour.

  • Rainbow chard and carrots

Highly nutritious rainbow chard (also known as silverbeet) contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and fibre. Its nutritional benefits are second only to spinach and its unique flavonoid phytonutrients potentially offer blood sugar regulating properties. 

Rainbow chard can be cooked much in the same way you would spinach and makes for a beautiful side dish. It’s great in a sauté or stir-fry. Pair it with sweet, tangy, and creamy things help temper its mineral edge. A bit of balsamic vinegar, a squirt of lemon juice, or a bit of crème fraîche are all fabulous with chard.

Carrots are a valuable source of antioxidants as well as a host of other nutrients. Eating them has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells and even slow down signs of aging. In addition, rainbow carrots offer a range of remarkable health benefits: the lycopene in red carrots protects you from cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer; lutein, the xanthophylls carotenoid in yellow carrots decreases the risk of macular degeneration in your eyes; and the anthocyanins in purple carrots are especially powerful antioxidants. Rainbow carrots are lovely served steamed or roasted. They can also be served raw in an eye-catching salad. They’d be the perfect accompaniment to a classic roast.

  • Red kale

The nutritional value of kale is truly remarkable. Kale contains over 45 flavonoids that deliver both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits; aids in regulating your body’s natural detoxification process; and offers a slew of cancer risk-reducing advantages. Red kale is rich in vitamins A (great for your eyes and skin), C (important for immunity, hydration and your metabolism) and K (for protection against a range of cancers. It contains more iron per gram than beef and more calcium per gram than milk. Its blue-green leaves with reddish-purple veins make for an eye-catchingly edible table centrepiece. Transform them into red kale chips, serve then sautéed or steams, or add them to salads.

  • Tomatoes

These bright red beauties are a powerful cancer-fighting superfood. They contain lycopene, beta-carotene, antioxidant flavonoids, vitamins E and C, and potassium. It’s worth noting that cooking tomatoes concentrates the lycopene in them and breaks down both lycopene and beta-carotene for better absorption by the body.

Serving roasted tomatoes (dressed with olive oil and some salt) is a simple way to introduce a touch of red to the dinner table. Better yet, toss them into a dish of organic pasta or use them to pump up the flavour in a hearty stew.

  • Spaghetti squash

A fabulous gluten-free substitute for pasta, spaghetti squash is rich in carotenoid antioxidants, vitamin C and manganese. It has great cancer prevention and treatment potential, and can help blood sugar regulation. Simply roast this mild-tasting squash until its flesh is tender, then use a fork to scrape or comb it into spaghetti-like strands.

  • Gold beetroot

Beets—along with chard, spinach and quinoa—offer nutritional value that are not readily available in other foods. They boast both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, support detoxification, and contain powerful compounds that can protect you from cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

To best retain phytonutrients, cook beets lightly. Steam them for no more than fifteen minutes, then rub off their skins. Slice them thinly into pretty discs for more elaborate, individually plated dishes or present them in hearty chunks. We especially love gold beetroots because they don’t bleed like red beets do!

  • Cacao

The cacao in chocolate is rich in heart-friendly antioxidants and flavonols. It can reduce the risk of heart failure and stroke, and can lower blood pressure. The flavonols in cacao also boost blood flow to the brain, offering improved performance and alertness in the short term; and higher levels of cognition in the long term. To top it all off, the theobromine in it has a feel-good effect!

If you’re indulging in chocolate, bear in mind that it also tends to be high in sugar and fat, so opt for dark chocolate (containing at least 70 per cent cacao) and savour in moderation. We try to cacao nibs as far as we can. They are lovely sprinkled into desserts, and baked into cookies and cakes.