Here's What You Need To Know About Superfoods 2 years ago

Here's What You Need To Know About Superfoods

When you're going to eat something, instead of going for the easiest thing available, think about what nutrition you could give your body. Simple, powerful advice to keep in mind next time you're feeling hungry. 

To celebrate the launch of Science Week in Ireland, we've been taking a closer look at superfoods.

We had a really interesting chat with leading Irish dietician, Sarah Keogh, to get her insight into all things nutrition.

She let us know that the EU is actually moving to ban the term 'superfoods' due to it being applied to so many different things without having any real definition.

Find out all about it in our interview below.

Her.ie: What exactly is a "superfood"?

Sarah: I would describe a superfood as a food that gives us nutrients at good levels. We can either eat foods that might not give us a lot nutrition, or go for something that packs a real nutritional punch.

When people think of superfoods, they often think of blueberries, but that just happens to be what's in fashion at the moment. What's funny is that your ordinary carrots, onion and broccoli are fantastic. They have amazing anti--oxidants, great levels of vitamin E and folic acid.

When we talk about fruit and vegetables (ie. superfoods), we don't have to think of expensive ones. The basics we've been using forever in Ireland are actually brilliant. Carrots are brilliant. Apples are fantastic - there's lovely research linking them with reduced risk of things like lung cancer.

Superfoods in wooden scoops, one of the superfoods (seeds of chia, hemp and flax)

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Her.ie: What's your favourite superfood?

SK: Seeds are my favourite superfoods. All kinds of seeds are fantastic. They're rich in loads of the minerals we need like iron, vitamin E and healthy fats.

Again, they tend to go in and out of fashion, and chia seeds are fashionable at the moment.

A really easy way of including a superfood into your every day diet is to add seeds to your porridge or sprinkle them over a salad.

Wheatgerm is another great superfood. It's packed full of B vitamins and fibre. Add it into soda bread, porridge or a cereal like Weetabix to up your daily mineral intake.

Her.ie: What's another easy way to add a superfood to our diet? 

SK: Another superfood I really like are nuts. Like seeds, they're really rich in minerals.

The only problem with nuts is that you should really only have one handful at a time. If you sit down and eat an entire bag of nuts, you are going to put on quite a bit of weight. One handful is good; five or ten is not so good. 

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Her.ie: What about fish? 

SK: Oil-rich fish are another fantastic superfood. They have Omega 3 that our brains particularly need. Fish like mackerel, herring and trout all keep their Omega 3s even when they're tinned.

Eating oil-rich fish twice per week would be fantastic.

Her.ie: With winter on the way, what can we do to keep our immune systems strong?

SK: The immune system is all about fruit and vegetables. If you don't eat alot of these, your immune system is never going to be able to cope with what the winter is going to throw at you.

This is the time to be making lovely hearty stews, and putting loads of veg in them. A stew should only be one quarter meat, and the rest should be veg like carrots, celery, onions and garlic.

Onions and garlic are two key foods for boosting your immune system. Garlic is a natural anti-viral, while onions trigger your immune system to produce cells that gobble bacteria.

Never underestimate the power of sleep. If you're getting less than eight hour's sleep per night, nutrition will only go so far to keep you healthy!

Science Week takes place from 8-15th November 2015. This is Science Week’s 20th birthday, and the theme for this year is Science Week 2.0 – Design Your Future. Over the course of the week, there will be 800 events held nationwide, with an participating audience of 250,000. For events in your area, check out www.science.ie