Super food might be a relatively new term, but the ingredients that fit this bracket have been around since forever! Take a look at this A- Z listicle and surprise yourself with nutrition facts about some of your favourite everyday food - not all super heroes need capes!
A - Amaranth
Amaranth is a great source of lysine, an important amino acid with protein content comparable to that of milk, plus it is water soluble which makes it way easier to digest. Whether you are on agluten free diet, preparing for fasts or simply looking for an exciting ingredient to pep up your meals – don’t look beyond rajgira.
Other A superfoods – Amla, avocado.
B – Hard to beat - beetroots
The bright ruddy colour, high nutrition content and the earthy sweet taste - beets are really hard to beat. Like most other dark coloured foods beetroots too are loaded with antioxidants and beta carotene which does a host of things like boosting immunity,
Other B superfoods – berries, beans, bananas.
C – nothing cooler than Coconut water
Refreshing and energizing, it provides you with all necessary electrolytes and minerals in their most natural form. Coconut water is not known as ‘Nature’s Gatorade’ for no reason! It has the same PH level as blood plasma and having a glass of coconut water a day is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your body!
Other C superfoods – Carrots, cucumbers.
D – Delicious Dates
The natural sweetness of dates makes them perfect to use as a substitute for sugar and when you need an instant energy booster. The high fibre and nicotinic acid content is beneficial for digestion and curing most kinds of intestinal problems. A combination of date and milk is known to fight against general weakness, virus and infections – super food indeed.
Other D superfoods – dark chocolate, dry fruits.
E – Egg citing !
The fact that they are the best source of high quality protein is just the most popular benefits of eggs. Eggs do you good in several more ways than that. They help keep your bones strong, lose weight faster and also counter the effects of some types of cancer.
Other E superfoods – edamame.
F – Fabulous Flax seeds
Flax seeds are actually not seeds, but grains. They are gluten free, anti-inflammatory, loaded with antioxidants – particularly lignans and a bulk quantity of Omega 3 acids. With all these super pigments and nutrients in it, flax seeds help in maintaining heart health, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, fighting cancer and reducing menopausal symptoms in women.
Other F superfoods – fish, fruits, fenugreek.
G – Go the ghee way
Ghee is one of those ingredients that has got a bad name for being too fatty, but that’s changing slowly because of the good fats associated with it. Did you know ghee that is derived from the milk of grass fed cows contains a type of fatty acid known as CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) which helps slow down types of cancer, cure heart disease and also promote weight loss.
Other G superfoods – Guavas, grapes, garlic.
H – Hey Honey
Sweet and luscious – honey really is liquid gold. It's health benefits are countless from providing relief from asthma, aiding digestion, relieving pain, treating burns to curing stomach ailments. It is also a much friendlier sweetener for diabetics. Begin your day with a glass of warm water with honey and lemon and it will also help you trim your waistline.
Other H superfoods – horseradish.
I - Indian gooseberry
Right from increasing metabolic and diuretic activity to improving eyesight and giving you luscious hair – amla does it all. This lovely tangy amla or Indian gooseberry is a powerhouse of vitamin C and fibre – plus they are alsop great for your heart, maintaining bloods sugar levels and strengthening bones. Start your day with a shot of amla juice and remain in the pink of health forever!
J – Just Jeera
Adding a pinch of this in your tadka gives you a lot more than fabulous smell and flavour in your food. With its great reserves of iron, fibre and anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties cumin seeds aid digestive health, fight anemia, cure insomnia and keep flu’s and infections at bay. They are also a great source of nutrition for expecting mothers.
Other J superfoods – jackfruit, jau, jaggery.
K – KadiPatta
Good old curry leaves or kadipatta stimulate digestive enzymes and help to break down food easily. A glass of buttermilk flavoured with asafoetida with few curry leaves taken after a heavy meal help in digesting the food easily. They also help to lose weight, improve eyesight and prevent cataracts, promote good hair and skin. So the next time you find some curry leaves in your food be sure you don’t discard them
Other K superfoods – kale, karela.
L - luscious lemons
Lemons provide not just tang but also a zing of freshness that instantly lifts a dish. With a high concentration of citric acid it compliments sweet and savoury dishes with bonus points for being ultra-healthy. Provides immunity against colds, helps fight cancer with its 22 anti-carcinogenic compounds, anti-ageing, antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties, is great for healthy skin, hair, teeth and nails.
Other L superfoods–leeks, lettuce.
M – Magical Microgreens
Micro greens are exactly what the name says - leafy vegetables or salad crops which are harvested at a very early stage when they are loaded with nutrients – probably even more than their fully grown counter parts. Really simple to grow at home and even easier to buy from a supermarket – you can top raw micro greens on everything ranging from soups to salads and main course dishes and even a few desserts.
Other M superfoods – melons, moringa.
N – Naturally Neem
Neem might be really bitter to taste but the benefits that it gives you are all sweet. It is one of those ingredients that are good for your overall nourishment. Neem leaves have antibacterial and antifungal properties which keeps your system clean. It is particularly great if you are looking for strong hair and glowing skin.
Other N superfoods – Nuts, nutmeg.
O – Oatmeal Everyday
Oatmeal is one of the healthiest ingredients you can include in your diet if your wish to maintain a healthy weight, have luscious hair and skin and a happy mood. Whole oats are one of the very few sources of an antioxidant called avenanthramides which helps protect the heart from disease, reduces arterial inflammation, controls cholesterol, regulates blood pressure and all-in-all make your heart function like a well-oiled machine! The high fibre content also helps aid digestion.
Other O superfoods - onions, oranges.
P - Pista Paradise
Almost 90% of the fat found in pistachios is the healthy mono and polyunsaturated fat. What’s more pistachios are trans-fat free which make them great for heart health. Besides this fab quality pistachios are also loaded with nutrients ranging from fibre, potassium, carbs, protein, riboflavin and Vitamins A, E and K – pistachios are super food in the truest sense.
Other P superfoods – pomegranates, pinenuts, pecans.
Q - Quinoa Quarry
Quinoa unlike other grains is full of proteins. Great for vegetarians as it can make up for the lack of protein a no meat-no egg diet usually suffers. 1 cup of quinoa contains approximately 8 – 10 grams of protein. With a low glycemic index, quinoa is blessing for those who are trying to keep in check their blood sugar levels and control diabetes and blood pressure.
R – Red Rice
Red rice is a variety of unhulled rice, which makes it a super nutritious source of fibre. It is also a great source of antioxidants, magnesium and vitamin B-6. Compared to regular white rice, red rice works brilliantly as food that not just is comforting to eat, but also helps lower cholesterol and manage diabetes.
Other R superfoods – radish, raspberries, red wine
S – Sweet Potato Surprise
Soft, sweet and delicious sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin B6, C and D, iron, zinc and magnesium. They provide you with plenty of fibre, the insoluble fibre present in the skin produce roughage and the soluble fibers in the potato itself, slow down digestion and help to manage weight. It has in fact been Madonna’s go to diet to shed some pounds.
Other S superfoods – seafood, sage, sea salt
T –Taste of Turmeric
Turmeric works just as effectively as any prescribed drug when it comes to treating inflammation and infections – minus any side effects. These healing, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal benefits of turmeric are attributed to the presence of curcumin, an antioxidant that fights against all kinds of bacteria ranging froma cold to viral infections thus keeping your immunity high. So the next time you are unwell, don’t just have haldiwala doodh, instead whip up your own latte version of it!
Other T superfoods – Tomatoes, Tea.
V – very very Vaal
These broad white beans that we know as vaal are called lima beans globally. These delicious beans are a powerhouse of nutrients – they have very less fat content, zero cholesterol and plenty of fibre which makes them perfect for those who want to manage blood sugar and lose weight.
Other V foods – vinegar, vanilla.
W – World of Walnuts
Walnuts are a powerhouse of omega 3 and antioxidants which help control blood sugar levels in the body making them one of the most diabetic and heart friendly nuts. They also contain neuro protective compounds that work wonders to sharpen and strengthen the brain – it surely is more than a coincidence that they are shaped like the brain too! Nearly 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins and flavonoids.
Other W superfoods – watermelon, wheat grass
X – for Xocolate….. Because chocolate has an ex factor!
There are barely any food sources that have names starting with alphabet X so we decided to use the Mexican name for chocolate instead, because everybody favourite comfort fix is actually a super food. When eaten in control dark chocolate is heart healthy, improves blood circulation, is a rich source of antioxidants, helps improve brain function, has aphrodisiac properties, makes your skin glow and is scientifically proven to make you happy – everything you need from a superfood!
Y - Yes to Yogurt
The process of fermentation to make yogurt improves its nutritive quality as the microorganisms added to it enhance the Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 content in it. Yogurt comes loaded with calcium, protein, phosphorous, zinc and riboflavin and several types of vitamins that help improve digestion, hair and skin quality and also to lose weight.
Other y superfoods – yams.
Z – Zing with Zucchini
Dietary fibre, magnesium, zero cholesterol, tons of vitamins and plenty of minerals – zucchini has made a strong foothold for itself in the healthy food world. It promotes heart health, reduces cholesterol, improves eye sight and also slows down aging. It is no wonder that zoodles have become such a rage!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.