iStock

It seems like every few months there is a new food that runs into the nutrition arena in its super hero cape and claims its title as a ‘superfood’.  Health food shops,  magazines and supermarkets are all full of the latest must eat ‘superfoods’, but its worth remembering that nutritionally speaking, there is no such thing as a ‘superfood’ and that the term was coined for marketing purposes to increase sales and influence food sales and my what a wonderful marketing tool it has been.

The reality is that achieving optimal health through food and nutrition is about more than just consuming the latest ‘superfood’ or diet, instead its a simple case of applying common sense and eating a variety of nutritious foods every day.

So whilst, it is important to remember that no singular food holds the key to good health, immortality or eternal youth,  there are many foods could be described as super. Most true ‘superfoods’ don’t line the shelves of  health food shops instead they hang around with their fellow fruit and veg. buddies.

Five foods I believe should be donned in a super hero cape are:

  1. Mushrooms – nowadays, a greater variety of mushrooms are widely available and they make a great nutritional addition to just about any meal. Though nutrient content varies depending on the type of mushroom, they generally they contain vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and several antioxidants not present in most other foods
  2. Garlic – garlic may now be associated with French cooking and indeed most people use in regular culinary dishes they prepare, it has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s a good source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and fibre and has long been associated with boosting the immune system.
  3. Eggs have had a tough time in recent nutrition history, indeed they were considered good only in extreme moderation at one point due to their high cholesterol content. However, whole eggs are rich in many nutrients including B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus, in addition to being protein rich and containing two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein which are associated with good vision.
  4. Olive Oil – I always think of olive oil as a wonderful all rounder, not only is it delicious on the pallet, but it is good for you and it also makes a wonderful make-up remover.

It’s biggest claims to health are its high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenolic compounds. It is a staple of Mediterranean diet and if you ever wander the streets of Rome,  Milano or Florence you will find vibrant, elegant and beautiful women well past the age of retirement, so I conclude there is something in the oil!

It is suggested that adding olive oil to your diet may reduce inflammation and your risk of certain illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes and  that antioxidants such as vitamins E and K can protect against cellular damage from oxidative stress.

  1. Avocado – yes this has come back into culinary vogue and is now served with breakfast, sourdough bread and elegantly garnishes dishes in every trendy bistro and cafe across the U.K. but I remember the days when it was thought of as exotic and later shunned for being fattening.

I’ve always loved avocado and I like it simply sliced and drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. Not only is avocado delicious, but it is a highly nutritious fruit that is rich in fibre, vitamins and monounsaturated fats.

When it comes to eating healthily I think a good dose of rational thinking is necessary, but I really do believe balance and enjoyment is key. Food should be enjoyed and savored for it is one of life’s greatest sources of pleasure….indeed life is too short to eat bad food!