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Top superfoods to keep illnesses at bay

Some easy ways to incorporate superfoods in your diet

In our fast-paced lives filled with stress, junk food, lack of sleep and exercise, a little health boost goes a long way.

The easiest way to keep yourself in good health is to incorporate these 10 delicious superfoods into your diet.

Besides being easy to find, they are simple enough to include in daily meals or as midday munchies.

MANUKA HONEY

Most varieties of honey contain trace antibiotic properties, but manuka goes several notches higher - it is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory.

Produced mainly in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush, manuka honey contains potent health benefits and a teaspoon a day can keep colds, flu and tummy bugs at bay and support recovery in viral and infectious diseases.

When buying manuka honey, look for the UMF (unique manuka factor) on the jar. The higher, the better (and more expensive) - a UMF of 10+ is ideal for a daily dose.

KEFIR

By now, every superfood-loving hipster foodie has had a swig of this probiotic yogurt drink.

It is made with live kefir grains that ferment when soaked in milk and form a yogurt-like drink that is tart, creamy and incredibly good for you.

First up, it introduces countless strains of gut-healing bacteria and an incredible amount of probiotic goodness into your system, and that boosts immunity and heals many digestive issues.

It may be an acquired taste, but it can become a delicious part of your daily routine if you make smoothies with it or pair it with granola.

KOMBUCHA

Unless you have been living under a rock, you should have tried this sweet-sour, fizzy probiotic drink made from tea and organic sugar.

It is long-fermented to bring out beneficial bacteria, yeasts and enzymes, and is known to improve digestion, boost immunity, cleanse the liver and is free of all sorts of gluten and dairy nasties.

Kombucha can also be flavoured with a variety of fruits, adding great flavour to the naturally fizzy drink.

TURMERIC

There is a reason the turmeric latte is taking the health nut hipster world by storm, but in Asia, we know several ways to ingest this anti-inflammatory super spice.

The golden-hued powder is a mainstay in most Indian curries, and several Malaysian dishes use the actual turmeric root (or yellow ginger) in their rempah (spice paste).

To try this in its purest form while still keeping things easy, buy the best quality organic turmeric powder you can find and sprinkle it on everything you cook. It is mild in flavour and gives a golden colour boost.

MATCHA

We are well aware that good old green tea is packed with antioxidants, and having this every day is no problem as we are fans of its mildly bitter flavour.

Finely milled green tea powder - or matcha - when dissolved in water to make a tea is a delicious health elixir that boosts energy and packs a nutrient-rich punch. For drinking straight up, buy only the finest ceremonial grade matcha.

FLAX SEEDS

Proceed with caution when adding these fibre-rich little seeds into your diet. Start with a little and it goes a long way, adding too much may irritate your tummy.

Flax seeds are a gluten-free way to add fibre to your meals while helping you with digestive issues, and they are even good for those who have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

On their own, they do not taste like much, but when added into healthy nut granolas, they work together with all the nutty flavours.

COCONUT OIL

Possibly the most versatile superfood on this list, it can be used as a moisturiser, hair oil and on cuts and scabs.

It is an excellent choice for oil pulling (swirling a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes is said to rid your mouth of toxins and promote overall health) and is a healthy natural fat to be cooking with.

But remember to consume coconut oil in moderation as it is rich in saturated fats.

BIRD'S NEST

There is a reason the swiftlet's spittle is so highly prized, with premium varieties of bird's nest being sold for up to $2,000 a kilo.

Apart from being a health elixir famed for its skin, immunity and overall health benefits, it is a delicacy too.

Traditional bird's nest available at Chinese medicine shops are tiresome to prepare into dessert soups, but NestBloom offers a quick-fix solution. Soak its floral-shaped, freeze-dried flavoured bird nest for five minutes in boiling water, and you have a decadent treat waiting to be devoured.

AMLA

Also known as Indian gooseberry, this is the superfood you need on your radar and in your diet now. The tiny fruit packs a punch taste-wise as it has bitter, astringent, pungent, sour and sweet properties.

It is high in antioxidants, boosts immunity, aids digestion and is believed to give you lush hair and beautiful skin. These benefits are the reason why amla is commonly found in Ayurvedic treatments, diets and concoctions.

ACAI

Trendy juice bars offer a scoop of acai berry powder into superfood-smoothies, and by now we have all tucked into those acai bowls.

But do you know why this Brazilian berry has been given superfood status? It has 3.5 times the antioxidants of blueberries, is high in fibre and contains healthy fats.

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

 

Food & Drink