Across Asia, some of the top superfoods come in the form of everyday kitchen ingredients. These not only infuse a culinary kingdom of flavours but are also powerhouses of healthy goodness.
The easy absorption of nutrients is important. Some superfoods can improve the absorption of another i.e. in terms of being fat-soluble. Studies indicate that local Asian staple food when combined with any elements which contain healthy fats, are more easily absorbed for Vitamin A intake
We check out the top popular choices that integrate high nutrition and low calories. These are easy to obtain ingredients that have been used for ages and loved by both the young and old.
Soybeans (definitely not the GMO ones that you find in some Western countries) are easily available and best come unprocessed in the form of unprocessed or fermented variations.
We love the taste of soya bean drink, especially when made fresh with no added sugar. The locals in Indonesia and Malaysia have long made tempeh (fermented soya bean in a dense and firm texture) a regular staple in their diet. It is high in protein and probiotics, as well as amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
The Japanese and Koreans drink miso soup while fermented tofu is popular in China. It is easier for the body to absorb amino acids from soybeans compared to eggs and meat. Soybeans also help to reduce bad cholesterol and prevent coronary heart disease.
Akin to folk medicine, ginger is used in many Asian and even Western cultures. It is a natural pain reliever that also helps to improve the body immune system and cardiovascular system.
A simple and woody aromatic ginger drink which is rich in gingerol is said to truly soothe the soul while aiding those suffering from osteoarthritis.
The renowned Michelin Guide even touts the famous Bentong ginger from the mountainous town of Bentong in Pahang, Malaysia, as being more pungent, spicier and pricier than ordinary ginger, thanks to the fertile soil and pristine green environment.
Nevertheless, this simple rhizome is relatively affordable as like most plant and vegetable produce destined for the dining table.
A close cousin of ginger, turmeric is commonly found in Southeast Asia and has been used for over four thousand years as a medicinal plant. It contains curcumin, a phytochemical with high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It is nicknamed the “Indian saffron” and is often used as a culinary spice that is rich in colour and flavour.
Turmeric is also a mood-booster that has been proven to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, while inhibiting monoamine oxidase enzymes to lower depression.
Most people love mushrooms, especially shiitake mushrooms that come with an earthy, chewy texture. These dark-toned fungi are native to Asia. Because they are one of the most-cultivated mushrooms species in the world, they are easy on the budget.
The Japanese even considered it to be the “elixir of life” as it contains many nutrients such as essential amino acids, protein, carbohydrate and vitamins B 6-9-12 and vitamin D.
Recent research has confirmed that shiitake mushrooms also help to prevent weight gain, boost the immune system and fight cancer.
These medicinal properties on top of the nutrition benefits make this one of our favourite kitchen ingredients and wallet-friendly superfood.
Originating from China, Korea and Japan, red dates or jujube are packed with vitamins and minerals. Available fresh and dried, they contain tannin which is anti-inflammatory, anti-infective and anti-haemorrhagic.
In simple English, it means that this powerful fruit helps in body healing and prevents free radicals from harming the body. Fresh red dates is an excellent source of Vitamin C, about 69 mg for every 100 g. This is equivalent to 115% of the daily recommended intake! These are also high in calcium, iron and B-complex vitamins.
You can consume both the fresh or dried fruit on their own or mixed into baking in cakes, bread, muffins or as a drink and in healthy soups. 3 red dates, fitting your palm, contains just 28 calories and 6 gm of sugar, compared to normal dates which may average with 54 calories and 12 gm of sugar.
In fact, the selection of superfoods from around Asia is extensive and we look forward to sharing with you amazing choices that you can incorporate within your daily life. Here’s to great health and a great life!
Look out for amazing opportunities and contacts at SuperFood Asia 2019. The world’s top F&B suppliers and buyers will descend onto Singapore for this showcase event. It is the perfect occasion to network and connect with the F&B industry game changers. Fast forward your business here!