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They may get B-list treatment, but the health benefits of these superfoods are worth noting…
If beetroots give you “clean your plate” flashbacks, it’s time to give them a second chance. They are one of the best sources of betaine and folate, two nutrients that reduce heart-disease risk.
Tip: Wash and peel one fresh beetroot, then shred it on the widest blade of a grater. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.
Cabbage makes you gassier than a Soda Stream machine, but each 92kJ cup is loaded with sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of the enzymes that disarm cell-damaging, cancer-causing free radicals.
Tip: Top off a burger with crunchy cabbage instead of soggy lettuce leaves.
3. Dried Plums
The prune’s popularity among geriatrics has ruined its image. Too bad, because these fruits contain high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that are effective at protecting against cancer growth.
Tip: Wrap a slice of prosciutto around a dried plum, secure with a toothpick and bake in a 200°C oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Goji Berries
Goji berries are already a hit with hardcore smoothie fans. The natural sugars in these gems help boost the immune system and have also been found to reduce insulin resistance (which may help offset diabetes) in rats, according to one study.
Tip: Mix berries with a cup of plain yoghurt or sprinkle some on oats or cold cereal.
The deliciously sweet yellow and pink guava has a higher concentration of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene than tomatoes and watermelon, often considered to be the best sources of the protective red pigment.
Tip: You can use the entire fruit, from the rind to the seeds.
Pronounced “perslen”, this common garden weed happens to have the most heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant. One nibble and you’ll discover that its stems and leaves are crisp and succulent, with a mild, lemony flavour. Have it every now and then, as an alternative to other green leafy vegetables, like rocket or spinach.
Tip: Top a bed of purslane with grilled chicken and lemon vinaigrette.
7. Swiss Chard
Like spinach? You’re going to lurve chard. A half-cup cooked delivers 10mg of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that help guard against retinal damage caused by ageing, say researchers.
Tip: Sauté chard with a little olive oil and garlic for a super-simple side dish.