After discussing some heavy subjects in this superfood series I thought that I’d end it on a bit of a happy note. I’d like to list my top 5 “superfoods,” what I consider the real superfoods. These food items are not listed as superfoods but they are “just as good.” They are very nutrient rich and they are cheaper than the heavily overpriced so called superfoods. Thinking outside of the marketing campaigns and going back to the basics, that’s where you will find the real gems to a healthy diet.
This is a food item that you can buy all over the world in different forms and shapes but its good qualities are often forgotten. Some nutritional facts; a serving of 100 g will provide only 18 calories but you will get all the more nutrients. To list some spinach contains; 97% out of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of folate, 57,5% of Vitamin C, 34,4% of Vitamin A and 14,3% of iron*. Spinach also has high levels of Vitamin E and potassium.
This leafy plant is often known for its high iron levels but something that is worth mentioning on the subject is that spinach also contains substances called oxalate that will lock on to the iron and therefore inhibit some of the absorption. In order to prevent this it’s good to eat something containing fairly high levels of Vitamin C, because this vitamin will help our bodies with the iron absorption. Another thing that I love about spinach is that you can eat and cook it in so many different ways. You can eat it raw in a salad with a citrus dressing or you can fry it with some garlic, salt and pepper or you can use it in lasagna with salmon and feta cheese or make a delicious spinach soup with some boiled eggs and garlic bread on the side. The possibilities are endless. Let your creativity flow!
Here is another food item that you can get a hold on everywhere and it’s usually very cheap. I always pay a bit extra though for organic once because I think it’s very important to take a stand against animals being unfairly treated (which sadly is very common in the food industry today). Anyway, the reason why I have eggs on my list is because they are very nutritious. They have a good varied fat compound and are rich in protein. Some nutrients that stands out is the high levels of Vitamin B12 (58,8% of RDA), Vitamin E (46,7%) and selenium (41,3%). You get a lot for your money. Another reason as to why I chose eggs is because the hundreds of ways you can use them! Besides from the common fried, boiled, poached and scrambled there is almost no end as to what you can do with them. They are perfect as binding agents in homemade hamburgers, perfect for baking, making pasta, as base in a sauce like béarnaise and even for eating the egg yolk raw on a steak tartar.
Next item on the list is one of my favorite fishes, the tuna. This is a very lean fish, only 4,9 g fat per 100 g, and it also have a good varied compound of fat. This fish is very nutrient rich as well. Take the extraordinary high levels of Vitamin B12 for example, 377,2% out of RDA. Tuna also contains large amounts of Vitamin D (90%) and Vitamin A (81,9%). This fish is also high in protein, 23,3 g out of 100 g, which is why it’s very popular around the fitness scene. One, to me, important thing to have in mind when buying your tuna is to make sure that it’s not a type of tuna that is red listed, which means that it’s not fished from a population on the border of extinction. Tunas that are okay to buy in that matter are yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna and white tuna from the Pacific- and Indian Ocean fished with a line or purse seines (in some cases).
There’s a lot of ways you can eat your tuna, some personal favorites of mine are as sushi or as carpaccio with lots of lime and chili. It’s also very nice to roll a piece of tuna in sesame seeds and then quickly fry it so that the middle of the tuna still is raw. Tuna is good on the barbeque as well served with a spicy mango salsa or in a salad. You can also buy tuna in a can which is not to bad, just make sure to buy the once with water surrounding the fish if you want to make a healthier choice.
My fourth item is not something that you eat per say but it’s very helpful in the kitchen and have good nutritional aspects. I want to encourage people to start using this amazing oil more. It’s a bit more expensive than the regular rapeseed oils and sunflower oils but the taste is great and the amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids are high. One myth about the olive oil is that you can’t use it for frying. That’s wrong. It can for sure be used for frying and gives your wok or whatever it is you’re cooking a great taste. I mainly use my olive oil in salad dressings, on freshly baked bread instead of butter, in fresh salsas, in marinades for meat, even as an ingredient in bread, to sprinkle over anything as decoration and that finishing touch of taste over a creamy soup for example. Does wonders.
My last food item on this list is the very multifunctional banana. This is a fruit that is common everywhere in the world and you can buy them for a fairly cheap price. I always strive to buy organic bananas because of huge amounts of toxic pesticides that are used for the conventional farming. Facts are that the workers on these conventional banana plantations often suffers from health issues like nerve damages and infertility because of the toxins used. And after 20-30 years the land used to grow these conventional bananas will be so polluted and poisoned that there is no longer possible to grow anything there. So, organic bananas are the way to go. Anyway, when it comes to nutrition bananas are high in Vitamin B6 (41,4% of RDA) and potassium (19,8%). But the main reason why I like bananas so much is because they are great to eat when you need fast energy. Like after a workout or when you feel that your blood sugar is low. Plus there is many different ways to use bananas in your cooking; they are great as a base in any smoothie, they are prefect in desserts like banana cake, a gino or with ice cream and chocolate sauce and who doesn’t like banana pancakes.
There’s of course many other food items that deserves a spot on a top 5 list like this but the important thing to have in mind when choosing your food products is that they are pure and as unprocessed as possible. And don’t get fooled buy the price, just because something is more expensive does not mean it’s better for you. I’d choose any of the above mentioned food items over any superfood everyday of the week.
*all RDA numbers are calculated from 100 g