Superpower! Does the word superfoods ring any bells with you? They have got everything going for them and then some. These little nutritional powerhouses are all natural.
Real miracles, there for the taking in terms of Clean Food!
If we told you that eating superfoods (on their own or as recipe ingredients) delivers a large amount of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and antioxidants, and that it’s essential for cell cohesion and enzymatic reactions (which are essential to keep the organs and body working well) – would you be convinced? If we told you that these superfoods are delicious, easy to come by and to put together as part of indulgent eating plans – you’re hooked already right?
Super, super, repeat ad infinitum!
Are you familiar with the Coué method? The famous French 19th century pharmacist Emile Coué conducted experiments in his pharmacy on the impact of autosuggestion on the body and mind. He took the view that any idea impressed upon a person’s mind tended to become a reality. In his own way, he’s the father of positive psychology: mindfulness. And mindful eating is one of the pillars of Clean Eating.
When you buy your superfoods, do so mindfully and you’ll already feel the benefits of it. A bit like when you come away from a doctor’s appointment clutching a prescription, or from the pharmacy with your medication, and you feel better already. Healthy grocery shopping works the same way! Pelting your groceries into your trolley at high speed doesn’t have the same impact as choosing healthy products, studying them carefully, picking them up and putting them in your basket with conviction. Trying it out doesn’t take any longer, but makes all the difference.
So you’re going to buy some superfoods? Your brain is sending signals to your cells just thinking about it! ”Any idea impressed upon a person’s mind tends to become a reality” said Coué. So, when you give yourself the gift of superfoods, do you already feel like a superhero? Well, you would! Because you’re associating the image of these foodstuffs with notions of power and effectiveness. When you eat them, you potentialize their effects on your body. The force is with you – don’t deprive yourself of this pleasure!
Why are superfoods so super?
First and foremost, they are natural (unprocessed) whole foods like berries, seeds, seaweed, fruit and vegetables, with proven positive impact on human health. So what’s good about them? Their high nutrient content. Where a “good” foodstuff might contain two or three of them, a “super” foodstuff often contains up to 12! Poles apart from foods with empty calories providing zero nutrients, this “super” family is like a real family. Each member brings their own specific qualities to the table, which are beneficial for human health.
So what’s the strategy here? To eat different superfoods each day. That way you avoid monotony setting in, and get all the benefits of their countless nutritional virtues. So you give a boost to your immune system, your energy levels, your morale and the metabolization of everything you consume (and even of what you’re going through emotionally). For good reason, since these superfoods improve digestion and the processing of foodstuffs as well as of emotions. Plus, since they are high in vitamins (not least vitamin C), they are good for the heart and play a role in preventing all autoimmune diseases and types of cancer.
Superfoods, who are you?
Although they originated as “superfoods” in the USA, they thankfully made it over to France. The list of superfoods varies from one continent to another, since in the European Union, only those with recognised health claims make the list.
This big family comprises the following:
- “Greens”, which are extremely high in vitamins, minerals and in some cases probiotics. That is, vegetables, fruit, herbs and seaweed (passionfruit, blueberries, spirulina, chlorella, salad leaves, spinach, curly kale, leeks, broccoli)
- Pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
- “Nuts, seeds and superfruit” like goji and acai berries, acerola, cranberries, pomegranates, blackberries, maca, camu camu, konjac, lucuma, ashwagandha; nuts (Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, pine nuts, pistachios), seeds, powders and spices (hemp, chia, pumpkin, fenugreek, brown linseed, sunflower, sesame, curcuma, moringa, psyllium, nettle, aloe vera, echinacea, ginseng, devil’s claw, ginger, ginkgo biloba, marigold, curcuma, aniseed and basil, coconut, raw cocoa).
- Everything that comes from bees like honey, pollen and royal jelly
- Not forgetting sprouted seeds which, although small, pack a real punch. They really are superfoods, and live up to the name.
Should you eat them on their own or in combination with something else?
It’s most important to eat superfoods unprocessed, and raw whenever possible, in their original form or as close as possible to their natural state. This makes for optimal retention of their virtues. Which doesn’t mean that they can’t be dried and ground into powder, where appropriate (like for ginger root) since they keep all their properties intact.
On the menu
Whether for breakfast or as sweet/savoury snacks, superfoods have their place.
- A savoury snack? Consider scrambled eggs with a slice of wholemeal bread garnished with a crushed fresh tomato, drizzled with a little olive or camelina oil and a pinch of gomasio. Depending on the season, switch between avocado, tomato and spinach, livened up with condiments or fresh herbs (basil, coriander, etc.). Unless you’re vegetarian, you can pair this with fish, poultry or animal protein (homemade potted sardines or mackerel, salmon, gravlax, organic chicken breast, etc.).
- A sweet snack? Curb your afternoon hunger pangs with homemade fruit purée or granola with oats, walnuts and hazelnuts, sprinkled with a generous pinch of sesame seeds, linseeds and chia seeds, washed down with almond milk (organic or homemade) and a few slices of banana and kiwi… A good start.
In practical terms
Variety is the secret, since the human body hates monotony (even if it likes the regular timing of routines, keeping to proper settings and the comfort zone that comes with habits). Consider keeping seeds handy. To do so, buy several jam jars or little glass jars the size of yoghurt pots, and fill each with one type of healthy seed (chia, sesame, pumpkin, etc.) or oilseed (walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.). Put the list of these essential superfoods up on your fridge, and combine them in various ways. Put your lunch and dinner together along the same lines.
What should you drink with these superfoods?
Superfoods would be nothing if they were not accompanied by the beverage that best suits the body’s needs: water.
There’s no point in trying to track down the most mineral-rich mineral water there is. Water that’s low in dry residues performs its role of temperature regulator, cell messenger and tissue-draining agent perfectly well. First and foremost, water is there to carry messages from one cell to another or one organ to another. This life-giving liquefier also helps the body to excrete anything that it doesn’t need, or no longer needs.
If you occasionally need a shot of minerals, go for mineral water that’s high in magnesium or calcium, for example. What’s the right amount? It varies between a litre and 1.5 litres per day depending on the time of year.
To get into good habits, drink a glass of water after you wake up, then a glass per hour (outside of mealtimes).
You can also take your first steps with superfoods by using them to make beverages. Whether to drain the tissues, revitalise the body, boost immunity or counter stress, superfoods have the starring role in a liquid state.
- Gather the following ingredients: 100 grams of almonds, 2 pitted Medjool dates (oil free), 2 drops of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of linseed oil. Put them all into a blender with 300 ml of mineral water with a low mineral content (like Spa or Highland Spring) and blend. Drink this indulgent smoothie just as it is, or strain it if you prefer a more lightweight drink. Its action: replenishing, helpful for digestion and calming.
- Fancy some greens? Take 3 handfuls of blueberries, 1 peeled orange, 3 handfuls of kale, ½ cucumber and 1 teaspoon of powdered spirulina. Blend it all with 150 ml of water and strain it so as to yield a green liquid. Well done – you’ve just made yourself a superdrink that’s good for the immune system, fortifying and purifying. Has that awoken your tastebuds? Check out the now legendary “bible” that is Super Smoothies by Fern Green, €10.90, Éditions Marabout.
Super… All the way to your skin?
Good news – superfoods have caught the eye of beauty product manufacturers, who now slip superfood extracts into their formulations. Applied to the skin, these little nutritional powerhouses, which are high in minerals, vitamins, trace elements and antioxidants, are a godsend! Beauty products are putting dates front and centre. They are singled out on account of their high antioxidant content (to protect the skin from free radicals), amino acids (to maintain its hydration levels), trace elements (for cell regeneration), essential fatty acids (which truly act as shields for the skin) and polysaccharides (energy reserves). Chlorella is also a hit on account of its high nutrient content (amino acids, vitamins A, B, C and E, essential unsaturated fatty acids, minerals (calcium, magnesium,) trace elements (iron, zinc) and its chlorophyll that activates cell metabolism and combats inflammation. Other superfood extracts that have sneaked into beauty product formulations are moringa (from a tree that’s extremely resilient, brimming with vitamin E) and blueberry (a potent invigorating agent, very high in polyphenols and tannins and an excellent immune system stimulant). Cocoa is also a very effective active ingredient. It is invigorating thanks to theobromine, its main active substance, and magnesium, both of which are natural antidepressants. Cocoa is high in flavonoids, and also combats cell ageing.
For munching on, sipping or even massaging into the skin… Superfoods pull out all the stops. Go ahead and familiarise yourself with each of them, try out recipes, slip them into your pocket as a smart snack, and most importantly, make them part of each and every meal. They are small and sometimes take unexpected forms. For example, a pinch of sprouted seeds, sprinkled over a salad (or even a fish dish) doesn’t look like much, but they truly are energy reserves that liven up and add a new twist to your meals. We did tell you that superfoods have everything going for them!