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7 superfoods to watch out for in 2018

By Medisys on February 08 2018 | News, Nutrition & Recipes

A healthy, varied diet is essential for optimal health. But what about so called "superfoods"? A superfood is often described as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”.  These foods often have extra nutritional value when compared with other foods - for example, the are often very high fiber, antioxidants, or a specific mineral or vitamin.  

The Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) reveals that between 2011 and 2015, there was a phenomenal 202% increase globally in the number of new food and drink products launched containing the terms “superfood,” “superfruit” or “supergrain.” But be careful, some products marketed as "superfoods" are not actually all that healthy. In efforts to appeal to superfood seakers, often product packaging only highlights one aspect of the nutritional value of the product, but forget the product may also be high in sugar or sodium, for example. 

 

Looking for a healthy diet that fits your lifestyle? Our registered dietitians are here to help.

 

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Consider the following 7 food items as they have demonstrated their potential on a scientific level, and find out how to incorporate them in a healthy diet. 


1. GREEN TEA


Why is it "super"?

  • Reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL), lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems.
  • The content of antioxidants exerts a protective effect against certain cancers. For cancer prevention, drink 3 cusp a day.
  • Helps with weight loss, in combination with a change in eating habits.

Where to find it? Any tea house will have a selection of green tea, as well as grocery stores and boutiques


How to integrate? Green tea can be consumed hot or cold. For example, let your tea cool for a "super" refreshing drink during the commute from home to work, or replace coffee with tea. Warning: boiling water burns green tea, so wait a few minutes before adding the leaves to boiling water


Be careful: Many commercial beverages boast the virtues of green tea they contain, but are filled with sugar and preservatives.

 

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2. BLUEBERRIES


Why are they "super"?

  • Their antioxidant properties help prevent certain cancers.
  • Ongoing research is attempting to confirm their protective effect on the heart, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Blueberry = highest antioxidant fruit


Where to find them? They can be purchased fresh, frozen and dried in regular and fine grocery stores.


How to integrate?

  • They freeze well, allowing you to enjoy them even when the Quebec season is over.
  • Add to yogurt, cereal or oatmeal.
  • Try in a salad with nuts or another berry.
  • Reduce in a puree with caramelized onions for a sauce to accompany pork.
  • Avoid: Blueberries covered with chocolate, sugar or syrup. Although the word is present, the amount of blueberries in muffins and pastries is low, especially as they often contain a lot of sugar and fat.

 

3. SEEDS

The seeds of the plant are the bag of energy and nutrients a plant needs to grow. So it goes without saying that when we eat them, we also get these nutrients.


Why are they "super"? Not only are they all very nutritious, they can be so easily and quickly added to meals and snacks!

Where to find them? In the organic section of grocery stores, pharmacies and in natural / organic product stores

Which seeds should I eat?

  • Pumpkin seeds: They are a good source of phytosterols and antioxidants which reduce cholesterol. They also reduce certain symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy. 3 tbsp = 2g of omega-3.
  • Hemp seeds: They are a very good source of protein, and a source of plant-base omega-3, a natural anti-inflammatory. 1 tbsp withou the hsell = 1.2g of omega-3, 5g of protein
  • Chia seeds: High source of fiber and plant-based omega-3, they are also a good source of calcium and antioxidants. 1 tbsp = 67 mg of calcium, 1.8g of omega-3 and 4g of fiber.
  • Flax seeds: High source of fiber and source of plant-based omega-3, they help reducing menopause symptoms thanks to phytoestrogens. 2 tbsp ground = 4g of omega-3 and 4.5g of fiber.

Note: the omega-3 content in these seeds is easily oxidized when exposed to air and heat. So it is best to choose seeds sold in an opaque bag and store in the refrigerator or freeser.

 

4. LEGUMES

Why are they "super"?
  • Legumes are an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, folate and iron, as well as many other vitamins and minerals.
  • They can help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • ¾ to 1 cup = 1 serving of starch + 1 serving of protein

Where to find them? They can be bought dried (to be soaked and boiled) or canned in most grocery stores. A wide variety is available: chickpeas or dried peas,lentils, black, red, or Lima beans, etc..

How to integrate?
  • To be included in salads and stews.
  • Add to rice, soups or pasta.
  • Broil with light seasoning salt or use in place of ground beef.
  • Note: Whether dry or canned, it is important to rinse with cold water before soaking or cooking.

 

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5. BEETS

Why are they "super"?
  • The antioxidants present in beets can prevent cataracts and macular degeneration while providing protection against cardiovascular disease.
  • It can also help to lower blood pressure and improve physical endurance.
  • ½ cup = 40 calories, 2g fiber

Where can I buy it? In any grocery store or fruit and vegetable market.

How to integrate?

  • Boil or bake, then peel for a colorful accompaniment to the meal.
  • Peel and grate in your favorite salad mix. Make a soup like the Russian Borscht.
  • Cook the leaves with garlic and a little olive oil.
  • Note: The pigment of this vegetable is powerful, so avoid stains during preparation. In addition, the
    pigment can give a harmless reddish tint to urine.

 

6. WHEAT GERM


Why is it "super"?

  • Its vitamin E has a protective level of the immune system, heart and liver.
  • Its content of phytosterols* helps reduce cholesterol.
  • Good source of many vitamins, minerals and proteins.
  • 2 Tbsp = 62 mg phytosterols, 1g fiber


Where can I buy it? Wheat germ can be purchased in the form of flakes at grocery stores. Container should be refrigerated after opening to avoid rancidity.

How to integrate?

  • Sprinkle on cereal and oatmeal.
  • Add to a breakfast smoothie with milk and fruit.
  • Integrate into muffin or biscuit recipes.
  • Note: By choosing whole wheat grain products, you also get the benefits offered by the wheat germ (e.g. bread and pasta).


7. OAT BRAN


Why is it "super"? Its content of soluble fiber helps lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, prevent colon cancer and normalize intestinal transit. Helps control blood sugar levels. Recommendation = 3 Tbsp/day

Where can I buy it? Oat bran can be purchased in powder form. At the grocery store it is often found in the baking section or the organic section.

How to integrate?

  • Sprinkle it on yogurt as a snack or a main-dish salad.
  • Integrate into muffin or biscuit recipes.
  • Note: Whole grain oatmeal also offers the benefits mentioned.


Phytosterols are naturally occurring fat in certain plants, like the cholesterol found in some animal products. Chemically, their structures are similar, so during digestion, they compete for absorption sites in the intestine. Clinical trials show that a daily intake of 2 g of phytosterols reduces by 10% the LDL-cholesterol ("bad") cholesterol. In conjunction with a low saturated fat and cholesterol diet, this reduction could reach 20%.

 
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