We all know that certain foods are better for us than others. But, as popular nutritionists tell us, we shouldn’t talk about “bad foods” and “good foods,” only “bad dietary patterns” and their healthy counterparts.
A lot of this rhetoric, however, sounds entirely semantic and doesn’t say much. It seems to be a way of allowing all manner of junk into the diet on the grounds of “balance” even when researchers know that some foods unequivocally harm the body.
As such, many of us would prefer not to take chances with our health. After all, once it’s gone, it’s incredibly hard to recover.
So what foodstuffs seem to have benefits for our bodies that go beyond the normal? Which pantry ingredients are just so darn healthful, you’d be a fool not to include them in your pantry?
Until recently, a cranberry was something you only ate at Christmas time in the form of a sweet jelly consumed alongside turkey. But in recent years, these small red fruits have become a superfood in their own right, thanks to their unique polyphenol content.
Cranberries are, in a way, the king of berries. Not only are they packed with antioxidants, but they also appear to rejuvenate the skin and various organs around the body. The only issue is that they’re incredibly bitter, which means that cooks have to come up with inventive health ways to include them.
We’ve already seen berries in Martha Stewart CBD products. Now the challenge will be to find ways to overcome cranberries’ bitterness and make them suitable for the mainstream western palate. Already manufacturers are proposing various novel sweeteners hoping that they’ll conjure something acceptable for their food audiences.
Blueberries have been a popular food in diet-heart circles for many years. Legends of the field, such as Dean Ornish and Neil Barnard, regularly sprinkle them on their oatmeal in the morning.
Interestingly, though, blueberries didn’t enter mainstream consciousness until relatively recently. Now, though, even skeptical researchers recognize and accept their independent health benefits. Try these berries for better cognition, brain function, and aging.
Ashwagandha is relatively new on the scene, but it is generating waves because of its unique properties and flavor. The ground-up root herb smells a bit like sweaty horses – in fact, that’s where it gets its name. For culinary purposes, it’s nothing special. In terms of your wellbeing, though, you can’t do much better. Researchers think that it might be an adaptogen, able to restore chemicals in the brain to balance. Furthermore, it contains withanolides, which are phytonutrients that directly target and counteract the aging process in the body’s cells. No wonder so many people want this ingredient in their kitchens!
Allspice is a bit of an oddball. You probably already have this ingredient on your spice rack, but virtually never use it. It’s worth finding recipes, though, because allspice has the highest antioxidant capacity of practically any commonly available foodstuff. Put it on Jamaican jerk chicken or use it in your Christmas pudding recipe.