We have compiled a list of really healthy foods that should be introduced into your diet on a regular basis (at least once a week). You’ve probably heard something about such «superfoods» as quinoa, goji berries, acai berries and other «foreigners». But it’s not about them. Fortunately, by consistently studying the properties of products, scientists and nutritionists are gradually expanding the list of what is worthy of being on our menu. So, many of the «participants» of our list are well known to everyone. However, we do not eat them as often as we should, because we do not suspect how much benefit they can bring us.
This plant is also known to our grandparents — they grew it in dachas for decorative purposes under the name «Chinese lanterns». However, there are not only decorative, but also edible varieties of physalis. And by the way, these small berries from the solanaceae family (relatives of tomatoes and peppers) are completely undeservedly deprived of attention. Physalis has a high content of vegetable protein, and is able to satisfy hunger for a long time. In addition, sweet and sour berries are a source of bioflavonoids, they contain pectin, organic acids, carotene, lycopene, ascorbic acid, macro- and microelements.
To get rid of the waxy plaque and bitter taste, the physalis is blanched for 2-3 minutes or simply doused with boiling water. Mature fruits are recommended as a dietary product. They are added to salads, soups, second courses. Physalis is salted, pickled, jam is made from it, candied fruits and juices are prepared. Dried physalis successfully replaces raisins and figs.
2. Sprouted seeds
Sprouted seeds and cereals can boast an almost fantastic wealth of nutrients. It is believed that such a seed, barely awakened, is at the peak of its activity — because it contains a reserve of energy necessary for the growth of an entire plant. Sprouts are rich in vitamins, protein, potassium, calcium and iron. In stores selling organic products, you can find porridge (as well as bread and flour) from sprouted grains, and of course, such products are much healthier than usual. Sprouted grains can be bought ready-made, or you can grow them yourself. Grains can be added to salads or served as a side dish. Wheat is usually the leader among crops — its sprouts are pleasant to the taste, and with honey they are good at all. Sprouted oats successfully harmonizes, for example, with pilaf. But buckwheat is better left to gourmets — its sprouts do not taste pleasant to everyone.
3. Fermented foods
The products that have undergone the fermentation process have been known to our traditional cuisine since ancient times. This includes, for example, sauerkraut, carrots, as well as dairy products such as natural yoghurts, fermented baked milk, yogurt, kefir. There is certainly nothing new for you here. Let us only recall that such products are reputed to be an excellent source of living cultures, minerals and enzymes. They are good for digestion and the immune system. Fermented foods promote the growth of «good» bacteria that help maintain a healthy and balanced intestinal flora. Just do not forget to periodically include a small portion of sauerkraut in your daily diet, for example, or drink a glass of kefir at night.
4. Dandelion greens
Surprised? And this is one of the most underrated superfoods. Even our wise grandmothers added it to salads. Dandelion greens help detoxify the liver and improve the digestive system. It is rich in vitamins A, C, K, B vitamins, calcium, iron, manganese. Of course, it is better to use young greens for food and tear it not in the city, but in the country, away from dusty roads and harmful industries. Dandelion leaves are slightly bitter and in their pure form, not everyone can taste it, so if you don’t want to get a salad with bitterness, you can make special green cocktails with them.
5. Hemp oil
Hemp oil is tastier and healthier than many vegetable oils. It has a delicate taste and contains more omega-3 fatty acids than olive oil. These acids are necessary for cardiovascular diseases, diseases of the nervous system, as well as obesity. The oil has a positive effect on the immune system, protects against premature aging of the skin. Due to the large amount of vitamins and trace elements, it is indicated for pregnant women and children. To squeeze all the benefits out of this oil, it is better to use it as a salad dressing or sauce (for example, dip vegetables or bread in it). Usually the oil has a greenish tint, a pleasant smell and a fresh, slightly sour taste. Keep in mind that this is a rather delicate product, and it is better not to expose it to heat.
6. Black rice
Strictly speaking, black (wild) rice is not rice, it is the seeds of the herb Zizania aquatica. In ancient China, it was called «forbidden» because only noble persons had the right to eat it. Black rice is the leader among other cereals in terms of the content of vegetable protein, fiber and essential amino acids. There are as many as eighteen useful amino acids in it! Anthocyanins are also contained in black rice — useful antioxidants that give a black color (the same are in blueberries, for example). Antioxidants of black rice strengthen arteries and restore elasticity to blood vessels, are cancer prevention. The substances contained in black rice also enhance immunity, have an antimicrobial effect, nourish the heart muscle and lower blood pressure. Black rice is also useful in the postpartum period, as well as during recovery from illness, with early graying or hair loss, with anemia. Black rice is cooked for a long time — it is soaked overnight and boiled for at least 40-60 minutes. Black rice is often sold in mixtures with brown rice.
7. Coconut flour
Coconut itself is a superfood. Many Asians have already fallen in love with drinking coconut milk, and on their return they buy coconut oil. In the USA, coconut vinegar is sometimes used instead of the usual apple vinegar. Meanwhile, another coconut product is incredibly useful. We are talking about coconut flour. How is it produced? The pulp of ripe coconuts is separated from the shell, the oil is squeezed out of the pulp, and the remaining pulp is ground into flour. Thus, all the useful substances and properties of coconut turn into flour. Coconut flour looks like wheat flour, but, compared to wheat, it is much healthier: it does not contain gluten, it has a lot of protein, few carbohydrates and no cholesterol. Coconut flour has a high fiber content. It is almost perfect for pancakes and fritters, baking turns out lush and tender. Dishes made from coconut flour improve digestion and normalize metabolic processes, they are useful for the liver and gallbladder. The antiseptic properties of coconut flour are also known. In addition, coconut flour is considered a hypoallergenic product and is suitable for a healthy diet.
This product has not yet been widely distributed in our country. But certainly worthy of attention. Matcha is a Japanese green tea, ground into powder. It is a source of powerful antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins. This superhero is able to charge you with energy, increase the overall tone of the body and even reduce the risk of cancer. By its action, a cup of matcha is identical to 15 cups of ordinary green tea. There is five times more amino acid L-theanine in the match, thanks to this tea significantly increases efficiency and improves concentration and memory. They say that matcha helps to stay cheerful, but at the same time calm — that’s why Buddhist monks love the drink. Matcha powder is versatile — it can be added to warm or cold water, juice, milk or even yogurt. In addition, this valuable powder can be seasoned with salads, poured into smoothies or smoothies, mixed with ice cream and even put in dough for cakes and cookies (this will give the products an interesting green color). In Japan, for example, matcha is put as a filling even in chocolate bars.
9. Brussels sprouts