Chocolate, nut superfood smoothie recipe
Superfood-super life: eating your way into the happy zone, food that helps you live better and longer.
The range of foods described as ‘superfoods’ these days can be overwhelming. Unbelievable, in fact. The term ‘superfood’ seems to be attached to all sorts of foods that promise to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, boost your immune system, aid longevity and lower your cancer risk.
Don’t believe the hype though. There are definitely some foods that are more nutritious than others, but few deserve this super tag.
Living better, longer and happier means being healthy in body and mind. So look for foods that feed your brain and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. These are foods that aren’t processed, are low in sugar and low on the glycaemic index (low GI foods are most slowly digested and make you feel fuller for longer). The best foods to eat are non-starchy vegetables, fish, wholegrains and foods with antioxidants.
Antioxidants tend to slow down the ageing process in the brain, particularly in the elderly. Antioxidants are found in bright-coloured fruit and vegetables and green tea. Blueberries have a great reputation for their antioxidant properties, and they’re cute as buttons. However, did you know that prunes, while not as pretty, are also rich in antioxidants? That’s right, prunes are the not-just-for-seniors superfood!
Carotenoids have also been shown to slow down ageing in the brain. They’re the orange pigments that are clearly obvious in orange fruit and vegetables, but they’re also found in dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon, especially the fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have also been associated with slowing down the process seen in the ageing brain and lowers your risk of senile dementia.
There has been much talk in recent years about the Mediterranean diet and whether it helps reduce our risk of declining brain function. You’ll find what are called the “good oils” in a Mediterranean diet: the mono-unsaturates found in foods such as olive oil and walnuts. The latest dementia prevention research recommends the MIND diet – Mediterranean and DASH (dietary approaches to stopping hypertension) diet – which is low in salt and high in fruit and vegetables and low-fat dairy.
Quinoa, a cereal substitute, has gained huge popularity in recent years, but is it a superfood? For vegetarians, absolutely. It is one of the only non-animal sources that is a complete protein.
You’ll benefit from regular exercise, a moderate alcohol intake and enjoying a variety of fresh foods every day, but to get the most out of your diet, include some of the following foods. Note that your ‘super’ foods can depend on your age.
Young women (18+)
- Unhulled sesame seeds – these have 10 times the bone-strengthening calcium of regular sesame seeds.
- Beetroot – rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, beetroot juice has been shown to lower blood pressure and is a good source of magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C.
- Lean meat and fish – many younger women often don’t get enough protein, particularly if they are vegetarian, dieting or exercising at moderate to high levels. You also need more protein if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Fish and meat are also good sources of iron and zinc.
- Raw cacao – (pronounced kakcow) is cacao roasted at a lower temperature. It has more flavonol antioxidants than traditional cocoa powder and is richer in minerals such as magnesium.
Midlife women (40+)
- Linseeds (flaxseeds) – two daily dessertspoons of freshly ground linseed or flaxseed can improve vaginal dryness. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens may be beneficial during the menopausal transition in helping with cognition and memory, especially in generous serves. A breakfast of baked beans on toasted slices of soy-linseed bread is a great dose of phytoestrogens on one plate! Soy – soy beans, soy milk and tofu also contain phytoestrogens.
- Sardines – rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and an excellent source of calcium because you eat the bones.
- Prunes – a rich source of antioxidants and a great source of fibre.
- Yoghurt – low-fat yoghurt with live cultures will give a boost to both your calcium and gut health
- Broccoli – eating this may reduce your risk of some cancers, including breast cancer. Eat two serves (1 serve = a half-cup cooked) a day for maximum health benefit.
Older women (60+)
- Grain foods – wheatgerm and lecithin are high in B vitamins and minerals and an easy and nutritious breakfast supplement. Bran, including rice and oat bran, tops up fibre intake and prevents constipation.
- Green leafy vegetables – these are good sources of minerals, folate and magnesium, which helps to keep blood and bones healthy and contributes to a healthy heart, digestive and nervous system.
- Sardines and mackerel – no hype here; sardines are an absolute superfood for older women. They’re an excellent source of calcium to maintain bone strength if you eat their soft edible bones and also support general cardiovascular health, thanks to their omega-3s.
Written by national organisation Jean Hailes for Women’s Health
For more information visit www.jeanhailes.org.au
Chocolate Nut Superfood Smoothie
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- Small handful of almonds* (12-15)
- 150ml filtered water
- Vanilla essence
- 150 ml coconut water
- ¼ cup blueberries*
- 1 prune*
- 1 date
- 3 handfuls of leafy greens (kale or spinach)* – roughly cut up
- 1 heaped teaspoon of cacao
- Soak the sesame seeds and almonds overnight in the blender
- Strain off the soak water
- Add the filtered water, a date and dash of vanilla essence
- Wiz for 30-60 seconds, to make the nut milk.
- add in green leaves, blueberries, cacao and prune
- Pouring the coconut water in last
- Blend until smooth
- Enjoy your delicious superfood smoothie
*recommend certified organic (ideally all organic, but those marked* can be particularly heavily sprayed)
- Only eat raw spinach or kale 3 times a week to avoid excess of oxalates intake
- Soaking nuts and seeds for 3-6 hours will activate them. This means the wonderful minerals they contain are more easily absorbed. You can make a batch of nut milk, and keep it sealed in the fridge for 3-5 days. If your blender doesn’t make it creamy, you may want to strain it with a fine tea strainer.
This smoothie provides a symphony of nourishing plant chemicals, providing rejuvenating antioxidant support, health giving fibre, vitamins and minerals.