What Are Super Foods And Why Should We Eat Them?

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Super foods

In a series of blog posts, we’re going to walk you through those foods that we consider to be super foods and explain why we like them and why we feel they’ve earned their right to be on the list. I hope you’ll join us on this journey and share your thoughts with us.

Sweet Potato Recipe Ideas

Also included in this post are several recipe ideas for sweet potatoes.

What exactly are super foods?

As the name pretty much explains, a super food is one that has ‘super’ benefits ie one that is nutritionally dense and will nourish, repair, rejuvenate and heal the body.

Though there isn’t actually any scientific meaning for the term, it’s a description that conjures up good health and is generally attributed to a select few foods. Again, there’s no definitive list but there are a few foods that most would agree will fall into the category of ‘super food’.

As with all foods, it’s important to look at production methods in getting the food harvested and we at Lucy Bee, always recommend:

  • organic, ensuring foods are grown in mineral rich soil with limited use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers
  • Fair Trade where possible, to help improve quality of life for the producers
  • keeping food as natural as possible allowing nutrients in the food to ‘do their job’.

Our list of Super foods:

Sweet Potatoes

Blueberries

Garlic

Quinoa

Beans and wholegrains

Nuts and seeds

Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach

Pomegranate

Green teas

Beetroot

dark chocolate

omega 3 rich oily fish sardines, mackerel, salmon

Starting with Super Sweet Potatoes

These tubular, root vegetables are just bursting with nutrients and when you cut into their bright orange or pale cream coloured flesh, it’s as though the sun’s shining on you!

Nutritional benefits

So what does this super food contain that makes it so good for us?

  • antioxidants. This is the chemical in food that protects against the harmful effects of free radicals ie it blocks the damage that other chemicals can do to cells that may cause cancer.
  • Vitamin A which is essential for growth and development, vision and maintaining the immune system.
  • Vitamin B6. This allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates and it helps form haemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen around the body). Since the body does not store this vitamin, it’s a good idea to include it in your daily diet.
  • Vitamin C is necessary for bone and tooth formation; fighting colds and flu viruses; aids digestion and blood cell formation; and produces collagen to maintain skin’s elasticity.
  • Vitamin D important for overall health through a strong immune system.
  • magnesium, a mineral for relaxation and anti stress, which also, maintains healthy arteries.
  • Iron which is important to encourage adequate energy and good for resisting stress.
  • calcium to maintain strong bones and teeth; regulate muscle contractions including your heartbeat; and it helps blood clot normally.
  • soluble fibre which may help reduce cholesterol; improve digestion and prevent heart disease and diabetes.

What a super healthy array of nutritional benefits.

Sweet potatoes are native to central and southern America and it was Christopher Columbus who brought them to Europe. However, the climate here is not wholly suitable for them to flourish as they dislike frost! They much prefer the climate of the Pacific Ocean islands and the Philippines where they’re grown as a food staple and heavy rains don’t affect them.Today, they’re eaten worldwide: in USA they’re known as yams; in Uganda they’re eaten as a breakfast with peanut sauce; whilst in Egypt they make a popular dessert with honey.

Suggestions of how to use them in recipes

Sweet potatoes are very versatile making it easy to feed your family with this super food:

Boil or steam

  • You can simply peel, cut into smaller pieces then boil or steam for approx 15 mins. Check they’re soft with a sharp knife, then mash along with a teaspoon of Lucy Bee making an ideal accompaniment to grilled chicken.

Roasted

A particular favourite in our house, it takes this amazingly healthy food to a whole other level – simply divine!

Sweet potatoes

  • Peel and cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp Lucy Bee put into a roasting dish, add to the warm oven to melt.
  • Toss the sweet potato cubes in the oil and mix in 1 tsp Nigella seeds
  •  Roast for 45 mins checking they don’t burn

Alternatively:

Spanish omlette

  • Peel and slice thinly
  • Melt and heat Lucy Bee as above.
  • Toss sweet potato slices and roast for 20 mins.
  • Add to spanish omelette mixture including eggs, peppers, chopped basil, spinach.This is so simple yet extremely satisfying and any leftovers can be eaten cold for lunch – perfect!

Or how about:

Sweet potato fries

  • Peel and cut into fries
  • Melt Lucy Bee as above
  • Toss sweet potato fries in the oil
  • Roast for 40 – 45 mins.Healthy chips = Happy days!

And yet another idea:

  • Thinly slice with a vegetable peeler
  • Melt Lucy Bee as above
  • Roast until crisp. The ultimate healthy snack.

Soups

Sweet potatoes can be used in place of pumpkin or butternut squash – see our recipe www.lucybee.co/using-coconut-oil/recipes/curried-pumpkin-or-butternut-squash-soup/

Baked

  • Wash and scrub the skins.
  • Prick with a fork. Massage a small amount of Lucy Bee over the skin to make it crispy.
  • Bake for 1 hour 30.

Serve with tuna, mayo and chopped chives or filling of your choice – you can have such fun deciding on the topping…!

Salad

  • Roast or bake as above, leave to cool and add to your favourite salad dish, making this a wholesome, healthy lunch to take to work.
  • Some people like to grate the raw sweet potato and add it to salads, too.

As you can see this super food can be cooked in several ways, each one tantalisingly tasty and terrifically healthy. I wonder which will be your favourite – enjoy!

Petrina Signature

About Lucy Bee Limited
Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.

  • Safora Macdonald

    Informative article especially for people who have no in depth knowledge about foods and nutrition. However the word ‘super food’ is a marketing tool mostly used in western countries. It is imparative that people learn to eat in a balanced way. So thumbs up and please continue to educate them on healthy foods. Regards, S. Macdonald – training and nutrition author

    • Hi Safora, many thanks for your complimentary comment. As you quite rightly say, the term ‘super food’ isn’t a scientific clarification, merely an indication of possible health benefits. I agree completely with your thoughts on a balanced diet – we advocate natural foods where possible, offering nutrition and flavour too! There will be further articles on this topic soon. Thanks again.

  • What kinds of superfoods do you recommend for daily use? Thanks.

    • Hi Josh, Thanks for your message. Obviously it’s such a personal choice and the list of super foods varies with each individual’s opinions. For foods, I like to include leafy greens, green tea, blueberries, flax seeds, beetroot juice on a daily basis, oily fish 3 times a week and love to include natural supplements like spirulina, acai, maca to smoothies. Coconut oil is my oil of choice for all cooking. Hope that helps.

  • I use coconut oil for all my cooking and I think it is wonderful, I also use it as a moisturiser and a hair conditioner and it is the best thing ever ,it will be something I will always use , everyone should use it you will love it .

    • HI Debbie,
      Many thanks for your comments. It sounds as though you really are putting your coconut oil to great use – enjoy!

      Regards

      Petrina

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Petrina is a friend of Lucy Bee and advocates a healthy lifestyle. Having used coconut oil for over 10 years is a firm believer in its numerous benefits and uses.
  • Safora Macdonald

    Informative article especially for people who have no in depth knowledge about foods and nutrition. However the word ‘super food’ is a marketing tool mostly used in western countries. It is imparative that people learn to eat in a balanced way. So thumbs up and please continue to educate them on healthy foods. Regards, S. Macdonald – training and nutrition author

    • Hi Safora, many thanks for your complimentary comment. As you quite rightly say, the term ‘super food’ isn’t a scientific clarification, merely an indication of possible health benefits. I agree completely with your thoughts on a balanced diet – we advocate natural foods where possible, offering nutrition and flavour too! There will be further articles on this topic soon. Thanks again.

  • What kinds of superfoods do you recommend for daily use? Thanks.

    • Hi Josh, Thanks for your message. Obviously it’s such a personal choice and the list of super foods varies with each individual’s opinions. For foods, I like to include leafy greens, green tea, blueberries, flax seeds, beetroot juice on a daily basis, oily fish 3 times a week and love to include natural supplements like spirulina, acai, maca to smoothies. Coconut oil is my oil of choice for all cooking. Hope that helps.

  • I use coconut oil for all my cooking and I think it is wonderful, I also use it as a moisturiser and a hair conditioner and it is the best thing ever ,it will be something I will always use , everyone should use it you will love it .

    • HI Debbie,
      Many thanks for your comments. It sounds as though you really are putting your coconut oil to great use – enjoy!

      Regards

      Petrina