What is trending in the world of superfoods? When it comes to nuts and grains, these wholesome selections are often under-rated. Perhaps it is the lack of colours, as the often-earthy hues and harder mass of grains and nuts pale in comparison to the colourful phytonutrients that give fruits the varied hues and textures.
Yet these superfoods of humble origin could well be the best health booster in the long run. That’s why if you are in the superfood space, it is absolutely imperative for you to keep track and ahead with these super offerings. Think of the variants and ways to add in superfood nuts, seeds and grains into your products!
Top on the favourite superfood list
- Almonds are the most nutritionally-dense nuts and said to be king of superfoods by online health food brand, Healthy Supplies. They contain Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, calcium and fibre. It helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. 28 grams of this (about 1 oz) are packed with 3.4 grams of fibre which is the equivalent of 14% of the daily recommended value.
- Oatmeal are rich in Vitamin B, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid. They are easily available and are one of the most affordable superfoods, including the organic variants. Promoted for their cardiovascular benefits, oats contain water-soluble fibre and complex carbohydrates that slow down digestion and stabilize blood-glucose levels. Half a cup of oats contains 4.6 grams of resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that burns fat and boosts body metabolism.
- Wheat germ are seed embryo which is a by-product of milling. It is high in Vitamin E, thiamine, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, essential fatty acids and fibre.
- Pistachios contain protein and fibre. You will adore its nutty crunch and earthy flavour. It’s virtually cholesterol-free too! In fact, 28 grams of pistachios have as much potassium as one banana. The act of peeling away the pistachio shells slows down eating speed and even promotes a sense of fullness. They are also great sources of food to control glycaemic index, blood pressure, inflammation and obesity.
- Walnuts contain more omega-3 fats and anti-oxidants than any other tree nuts and peanuts. Each gram of walnut contains up to 4.5 nanograms of melatonin, which is useful for insomnia treatment.
- Macadamia nuts may contain the highest fat and lowest protein content compared to other nuts, but they also contain high quantities of Vitamin B, manganese and magnesium. 60 per cent of macadamia’s fatty acid is monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which is equivalent to that found in olives.
- Pecans is second to macadamia nuts in terms of protein and fat content. They have over 19 types of vitamins and minerals, including anti-inflammatory magnesium, manganese (for the immune system) and phenolic antioxidants. They are said to lower LDL cholesterol and boost blood circulation.
Nuts and seeds are great superfoods that are usually heart-friendly. Consumed in moderation (yes, like every other food!) i.e. 4 servings a week as recommended by the American Heart Association, they are great sources of protein, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, Our favourites are peanuts, unsalted almonds, walnuts and pistachios.
Almonds are an amazing source of Vitamin E which is an important antioxidant for the heart. If you are not a fan of red wine, then choose peanuts. Research claims that it may help prevent cancer. Heart-shaped walnuts are rich in ellagic acid, another potent anti-cancer ingredient.
In fact, an American study of over 83,000 women has uncovered that those who consumed 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or ate a handful of nuts 5 times weekly were 20% less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes in comparison to those who did not eat nuts.
Make them part of your daily life
Enjoy the crunchy goodness of seeds and nuts. Lightly toast them and enjoy the wholesome flavours. Just place cashew nuts and almonds in a single layer over an ungreased flat pan or baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle nuts and seeds onto salads.
Add these into your baking – cakes, muffins, bread, DIY granola bars, cookies…the possibilities are endless! Check out some recipes here!
On the go
Grab a fistful of your favourite nuts into a container or snack pouch and carry with you in the bag for a healthy snack wherever you are. There are many prepacked brands for you to choose from in good supermarkets and organic food stores. You might also want to sprinkle in some chia seeds into your water tumbler and drink in the natural, healthy goodness.
Avoid exposing these superfoods to direct sunlight as they might cause them to be contaminated or become oxidised. For example, nuts might smell rancid after a while. There is a risk of bacterial contamination from the Aspergillus flavus fungus, which may cause hepatitis and low white cells.
On the downside, moderation is the key. Too many nuts may mean that over-intake of calories. A handful of nuts is sufficient for a day. Avoid salted or honey-glazed nuts, as these contain added sodium and unwanted sugar.
If you are allergic to nuts, don’t worry. There are more choices. Flaxseed, chia seed and hemp seed are great replacements as they have a similar nutrient contribution, containing healthy fats, minerals and fibre.
Watch out for creative presentation of superfood nuts, grains and seeds at the forthcoming Superfood Asia 2019 coming your way in Singapore from 24th to 26th April 2019.