Superfoods: Myth or Magic? The term superfood pops up a lot in the health and wellness industry, and as we move into the colder months, it’s a good time to take a look at what the term means and if he has any merit. For this week’s recipe, I’m keeping it super vibrant with my beetroot risotto.
First, the term superfood is a marketing term, not a nutritional classification. This is a good place to start because it makes us think about how we approach our food choices. While we all want to feel that our food is “great,” especially when we actively try to choose healthy options, it’s important not to get too carried away by the term. When you see the term “superfood” what most people perceive is that the food has higher nutritional value, the food is more natural, or has not been processed.
Many foods fall under the category of “superfoods”: cocoa, chia seeds, matcha, blueberries, wheatgrass and many more. It is important to consider the research behind these foods and to know if you really need them in your diet. The other consideration is that many foods marketed as superfoods can be very expensive, which can be prohibitive for healthy eating.
While the idea of a superfood is, in some ways, quite appealing, the key to eating yourself isn’t in superfoods. A great way to approach your health is to combine healthy choices from all food groups and factor in your calorie intake. Here is a list of five of my favorite foods that give me a super boost!
*is packed with nutrition and a delicious option. The risotto recipe here is a great way to include it in your food choices.
*are a great choice. Oats are fantastic for a breakfast or a snack because they are very filling.
*is a food that I aim to include in my diet a few times a week. It is considered a “brain food” and I could definitely use the omega 3 fats it provides. My favorite choices are salmon, mackerel or tuna
*has been a food that makes headlines with its claims of nutritional benefits. Irish Heather Honey has received great approvals from research done in TCD and DCU. I include a little honey in my diet every week but I pay attention to the sugar content.
*are an excellent source of nutrients and antioxidants. Try to add lots of color to your shopping cart.
Consider your overall eating habits rather than foods alone. What does your food intake look like over seven days rather than just one meal? What steps can you take to boost your overall diet?
This week’s move of the week is my all-time favorite: the squat. For me, this exercise is a great overall strength exercise that requires working many different areas of the body simultaneously.
To do a basic squat:
Start with your feet slightly wider than hip width.
Keeping your chest up, engage your abs, and shift your weight to your heels while pushing your hips back into a seated position.
Lower your hips until your thighs are parallel or nearly parallel to the floor.
You should feel the squat in your thighs and glutes.
Pause with your knees above, but not past your toes.
Exhale and push back to the starting position.
I love risotto and this is a great way to incorporate beets into your diet. Double the recipe to make additional portions as needed
1 raw beet, peeled and grated
½ onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
130g risotto rice (pearl barley works just as well but you have to steam it for 20 minutes)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
300 ml of vegetable broth, simmer
100g of goat cheese or feta
a large handful of spinach or arugula, for garnish
Melt the butter over low heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the beetroot and onion and cook, about 10 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and rice and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar to the broth. Add the broth one ladle at a time, stirring constantly, until each ladle is absorbed. It will take about 30 minutes.
When the rice is creamy but firm to bite, season with a pinch of salt. Divide the risotto between warmed serving bowls. Crumble the goat cheese on top, garnish with spinach and serve.