We’ve already reached part seven in our superfoods series! Thank goodness for quinoa, because I’d have had a fair struggle to find foods that begin with the letter ‘Q’. Nevertheless, below you’ll find three more superfoods, said to enhance your health and well-being. As always, these are (usually) readily available in your local supermarket or similar.
This week, we have P, Q and R!
Pumpkin seeds or pepita are found inside pumpkins (funnily enough!). They’re loaded with nutrients, and are incredibly versatile, making it easy to incorporate them into your diet. These little green wonder-bullets (!) are renowned for their zinc content, delivering between 7-10mg per 100g. Since the recommended daily intake for this mineral is 7mg for women and 9.5mg for men, sprinkling a couple of handfuls of pumpkin seeds over your porridge can help you to achieve this. Just to refresh you, zinc plays a key role in muscle protein synthesis, thus it’s an important nutrient of recovery.
You can also add them to the blender when making your shakes and smoothies; gently toast them and toss them into salads, or crumble them over fish/chicken portions. You can even get pumpkin seed butter which is actually delicouous (despite its radioactive green colour).
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah, just to be clear – not quin-ow-ah or even Keanu as I once heard, hehe!) is usually classified as a grain, but truly, it’s a seed. For this reason, you might hear it referred to as a pseudograin. Each tiny sphere is rich in protein, and contains all essential amino acids, making it a valuable, ‘complete’ plant protein.
Quinoa is also a source of healthy fats, fibre and B vitamins. Carb-wise, it contains over 60g per 100g, so it’s a great, nutrient-dense alternative to rice. Because quinoa absorbs a lot of water during the cooking process, it swells, and so it stretches pretty far; in a single portion (25g), there’s around 15g of carbs.
Additionally, quinoa is considered a nutrient-dense food, as it’s a great source of many vitamins and minerals including folate, iron, magnesium and zinc. For this reason, it makes a great alternative to energy-dense grains like couscous and rice.
I feel a bit sorry for radishes... well, if they had feelings I would, anyhow. People tend to dismiss them as a mandatory and somewhat boring addition to the garden salad. However, these little gems can offer a multitude of health benefits; improved kidney function, blood pressure and hydration levels are amongst these.
Radishes are actually a root veggie (I think they look like turnips for elves) with a sharp, peppery flavour. They’re a rich source of potassium which works in conjunction with sodium, helping to reduce hypertension (raised blood pressure). You’ll also find a decent level of vitamin C – a powerful anti-oxidant nutrient.
The anthocyanins in radishes – naturally occurring plant compounds – are reported to have anti-inflammatory and de-congestive properties. Add this to your list of foods and supps that can relieve symptoms of the common cold! These effects are also said to support the immune system, and the normal formation of blood vessels.
I hope you enjoyed this latest instalment; as you probably gathered, we’re working our way through the alphabet so you have every letter covered! Look out for part eight which will be posted soon. :)