These berries were named the No.1 superfood by nutritionist to the stars Nicholas Perricone for reportedly having higher antioxidant levels than blueberries. The fact they can only be harvested twice a year in the Amazon Basin makes them sound as high-maintenance as one of Perricone’s famed clients, Gwyneth Paltrow. Nevertheless, the American Chemical Society verified the claim in 2006.
The William H. Macy of the vegie world, this homely food is also a powerhouse: loaded with vitamin C, folic acid and carotenoids, which are packed with vitamin A and can protect your cells from the damage of free radicals, which lead to premature ageing.
Jerry Seinfeld once said the mystery ingredient that makes every dish tasty is cinnamon. But does it really reduce blood levels of total cholesterol, including triglycerides, and help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes? Yes.
The food equivalent of a supermodel who’s also a Mensa candidate, dark chocolate helps prevent heart disease because of the inhibiting effect of polyphenols on LDL cholesterol, which promotes coronary disease. And a BBC news report showed melting dark chocolate in one’s mouth produces an elevated heart rate more intense than when we kiss passionately.
Like a beauty queen who’s fallen from grace, soy products – once touted as reducing the risk of coronary heart disease – have recently been charged with causing hideous side effects such as loss of libido and breast growth in men. The bottom line, dietitian Milena Katz says, is that young soybeans are ”fine as a protein but so are chickpeas”.
Does this tiny brown seed truly improve heart health by lowering blood pressure, inflammation and blood triglyceride levels, helping to prevent clots in arteries? Only if you eat ground flaxseed or incorporated in flour or meal, rather than whole.
Not just the hottest cast member of Gilligan’s Island, ginger is a key part of traditional Chinese medicine. Why? Because this underground stem is rich in phytochemicals, including beta-carotene (which helps maintain good eyesight), curcumin and salicylates, which can be used to relieve numerous ailments, including nausea, motion sickness and pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.
Garden-variety green herbs could pull off a public relations coup if word gets out about their health benefits. Dill has six times more beta-carotene than rockmelon or pumpkin, and basil and parsley have twice as much vitamin C as oranges.
Model Catherine McCord is touting this version of the ubiquitous grain, rather than the tinier African variety. It has the same health benefits – one cup provides 42 per cent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C and its high fibre content helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, helping to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes – and it is toasted rather than dried, which lends it a nuttier flavour.
Like a great indie film, this South American root vegie is both obscure and good for you: a great source of vitamin C, folic acid (crucial in brain development) and beta-carotene.
Two of this leafy green’s antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin – lower the risk of age-related eye disease and its vitamin A helps fight infection. You can also make chips with it by sprinkling it with olive oil and salt and baking for 10 minutes. What more do you want?