Superfoods are foods that are known to be particularly dense in nutrients, i.e. they are rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and secondary plant substances. Typical examples of these highly revered superfoods are chia seeds, because of their high calcium content, and goji berries, due to their high concentrations of iron and antioxidants.
Since they contain important nutrients in high concentrations, they are certainly not harmful. However, a healthy diet doesn't consist of occasionally eating the odd superfood: the best diet is still one that is balanced and varied.
Right on our doorstep
Many superfoods, such as quinoa, matcha, chia and acai have a long way to travel before they reach our plates. Quinoa, for example, is mainly grown in the Andes, and the ingredients for matcha tea mostly originate from Japan and China. Against this hype, it's easy to forget that many of our native foods are also veritable superfoods. The chia seeds in your morning muesli can easily be replaced by flaxseed, for example. And that extra kick of antioxidants from acai berries can also be obtained from bilberries or blackberries. Not only do you protect the environment – you protect your wallet too.
Why they are so healthy
Oats are another native superfood that should feature much more frequently in our daily menus. The healthy grain is widely cultivated, also in northern and central Europe.
Oats contain a lot of fibre which is why they can form an important component of a slow carb diet. It's the soluble fibres in oats, known as beta-glucans, that are of such benefit to our health. Not only do they keep us feeling full for a long time, they also lower cholesterol levels and protect the stomach and intestinal mucosa.
Oats are also full of B vitamins, folic acids, iron and zinc. They are an ideal source of iron for vegetarians and vegans, as the iron content of oats is higher than that in many a cut of meat.
Quick breakfast idea with oats
- Mix oats with low-fat quark, natural yoghurt or milk.
- Sweeten to taste with two tablespoons of fruit yoghurt or honey.
- Enhance as desired with fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, spices, etc.
- Leave to soak overnight and enjoy the ready-to-eat breakfast the next morning.