PUBLISHED: 11:14 15 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:10 20 February 2013
Expert nutritionist Heidi Bohrn gives West Essex Life <br/><br/>the low down on the seven seasonal superfoods we <br/><br/>should have on our shopping list this winter
As winter begins to settle in, it is time to replace those summer salads with hearty winter fare.
Theres nothing better than a stew, soup or curry to warm you from the inside out, but what should you be putting in your shopping trolley to help stay fit and healthy and looking younger?
The term superfood has become a generic buzz word that many retailers and manufacturers are using as a selling tool, but though most vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds are rich in nutrients and do provide many health benefits, they are not all true superfoods.
Superfoods provide a higher concentration of nutrients that have multiple health benefits. They are rich in phytochemicals (found in plants), which have an amazing effect on protecting us from chronic disease, and contain high levels of antioxidant compounds, which mop up the free radicals responsible for damage and degenerative disease. Antioxidants are the most powerful anti-aging compound a food can possess.
Winter brings some amazing superfoods for your shopping list, which can help to prevent colds, keep you looking younger and protect you from chronic disease.
Broccoli is a true superfood. It is rich in folate, which aids the combat of heart disease, and provides us with the antioxidant lutein, which can delay the progression of age related macular degeneration a major cause impaired vision and blindness.
This unassuming vegetable is also loaded with a phytochemical called Indole-3-Carbinol, which converts cancer-promoting oestrogen into a more protective variety, blocking receptors that make it beneficial to preventing oestrogen driven cancers.
Finally, broccoli contains Sulforaphane, a compound that helps to protect blood vessels against damage from high sugar levels, making it great for diabetics. Sulforaphane also has very specific anti-cancer properties, and helps activate genes that regulate protective antioxidants and
Garlic is one of the most potent antibacterial and antiviral vegetables. It is a potent mucus fighter, making it indispensable when fighting colds and flu.
This bulb also has many benefits to cardiovascular health such as helping to regulate blood pressure, and act as a blood thinner and a cholesterol-lowering agent.
Rich in the phytochemical carotene, these amazing foods can help reduce the risk of many cancers, benefit the immune system and are great for eye health. Beta-carotenes have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help to reduce the severity of conditions such as asthma and arthritis.
Squash also contains a compound called beta-cryptoxanthin, which may even significantly lower ones risk of developing lung cancer. Finally they contain a compound that has found to help reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy in men.
4. White Tea
Theres nothing better than a cup of tea to warm you up, and white tea is the perfect solution for the health-conscious. White tea has a higher antioxidant value than the traditionally recommended green tea, without leaving a bitter taste. It also has more protective anti-cancer agents and is a great immune-booster against bacteria and yeast infections.
White tea is also good for the heart: it thins the blood, improves artery function and lowers blood pressure, as well as containing antioxidants called catechins, which reduce cholesterol.
Drinking six cups a day has been shown to boost slimming, as white tea contains a compound that helps prevent the storage of fat and break down existing stores.
5. Legumes (beans)
A great way to bulk up winter soups and stews is to add in different legumes. Rich in nutrients such as folate, calcium, iron and potassium, legumes are also high in fibre, which helps aids bowel and colon function. Pulses can help to lower blood sugar and can be beneficial in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). Most legumes also contain protease inhibitors, which are thought to suppress cancer cells and slow tumour growth.
Legumes are also phytoestrogens, which helps converts oestrogen to help prevent against cancer, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis, while also benefitting menopausal women.
6. Dark Chocolate
Once regarded as a health sin, quality dark chocolate is now being hailed as a superfood due to its high levels of health-boosting antioxidants. Research now suggests that flavonols found in chocolate are responsible for the ability to maintain healthy blood pressure, promote blood flow and promote heart health.
Other ingredients include theobromine, which is good for the nervous system, and chocolate can also be used to balance low concentrations of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which affect mood regulation, food intake and
These tiny little berries contain so many nutrients and provide so many health benefits that they are definitely one to add to your food list. They contain antioxidants including resveratrol, which has been linked with anti-ageing, heart health and reducing the risk of cancer.
Cranberries contain an extremely high level of phenols, which lower oxidation of LDL. Research also indicates that the proanthocyanidins in cranberries can help protect against urinary tract infections as it prevents the bacterium E. coli from attaching itself to the bladder wall cells and infecting them.
About the author
Heidi is a fully Qualified BANT Nutritionist practicing Functional Medicine, an alternative therapy using a scientific approach, which deals with primary prevention and the understanding of underlying causes, rather than simply focusing on the symptoms of chronic disease. Each treatment protocol is based on individual findings via clinical examination and/or diagnostic testing & beneficial for all chronic illness such as digestive issues, chronic fatigue and female health issues to weight control.
Get in touch
Heidi Bohrn NT Dip CNM mBANT
Alternative Living Nutrition