Naturopath and Holistic Health Expert
In Australia we are fortunate to have access to amazing fresh food and produce. In recent times, the health industry has glorified and promoted the ‘super food’. Superfoods are foods considered to be especially beneficial to our health and can come at a high cost. Whilst some of these foods may be very nutritious, it is vital to shift the spotlight back towards the every-day, real foods. The items in our backyard, fridge and pantry that can be equally as healthy. It is time to celebrate and enjoy all the fresh product and foods we have access to.
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When filling up your shopping basket, it is best to choose local and seasonal produce. Eating seasonally means paying attention to the times of year, when a given type of food is at its peak and readily available to us. When we choose seasonal produce they will be fresh, lower in cost and have a natural abundance of nutrients and flavour. Websites such as Sydney Markets provide a wealth of information about which vegetables and fruits are best to enjoy in each season.
Below are some examples of great every day foods that I encourage you to enjoy seasonally to add high quality nutrition into your diet.
The Australian native Macadamia is a delicious and nutrient dense food to keep in your pantry. Macadamias contain a wide range of nutrients such as thiamine, manganese, magnesium, as well as antioxidants. They also are a great source of high quality and healthy fats. They are a rich source of the heart friendly, anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat. These monounsaturated fats may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Eat them raw, roasted or grate them over your salads!
2. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are an aromatic food with a sweet licorice flavour that are commonly used in traditional Herbal Medicine. Therapeutically fennel seeds can act as a digestive tonic, providing symptomatic relief of flatulence, bloating and can soothe an upset stomach. Fennel seeds are also anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and can help encourage milk flow in breast feeding mothers. Chew on the seeds or brew them in hot water and enjoy in tea form.
The astringent quince is an often forgotten healthy fruit that is in season during the winter months. Quince is a great source of vitamin C and zinc, which help support a healthy immune system. It is also a source of pectin, a fibre that can help lower cholesterol level and balance your blood sugar levels. Quince is best enjoyed poached or baked.
4. Pastured Ghee
Ghee is a form of clarified butter (milk solids are removed) and when made from the milk of pastured cows has a wealth of health benefits. It has been traditionally used for its healing properties for thousands of year in Ayurvedic medicine. Ghee is a great lactose free source of vitamin A, D, E and K. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid that may prevent cardiovascular disease. Ghee is a great fat to use in your cooking as it has a very high smoke-point.
Not just a staple at any Australian barbecue, beetroot is another vegetable that is great for your health. You can see with the incredible colour of beetroot that it is rich in nutrients, such as carotenoids, Vitamin C, and lutein/zeaxanthin. It is indicated for heart health, liver health, eye health and increases energy levels. Beetroot is a natural pre-workout, improving blood and oxygen flow to your muscles. Enjoy it as a shot of juice for a pre-workout boost or grated raw in a salad.
6. Native Greens
Put your rocket and spinach aside and green up your meals with some native Australian greens such as Warrigal greens, Sea Parsley and Salt bush. Warrigal greens are rich in antioxidants and are the original Australian Super foods. You must always blanch Warrigal greens, to rid the oxalates, which bind to minerals, much like spinach before you eat them. Use Sea Parsley as you would regular parsley and sauté Salt Bush or add to soups for a delicious, savoury flavour. Find these greens from your local health food shop.