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Smart Carbs- The New Trend
By Jade Ellis
WHATS SO ‘SUPER’ ABOUT SUPERFOODS?
In a world where there is another “superfood” being announced every week, it can be tough to know what sources to trust and how beneficial these foods actually are for us. We know that we should be consuming plenty of fresh and nutrient-dense foods every day, but finding these foods is sometimes difficult.
Carbs are given a negative rap as such as many people think of heavily refined carbs such as sugary cereals, sweets, white bread, rice and pasta. These carbs are absorbed quickly into the system they spike blood sugar levels. With white carbs the beneficial fibre is stripped away and can raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and encourage weight gain.
Introducing whole grains into your diet is a way that can prevent these health problems. Whole grains consist of brown rice, spelt, oats, rye bread, millet, teff, buckwheat, barley, bulgur wheat, quinoa and many more. These whole grains are more beneficial for you compared to refined grains as they are much higher in fibre. This fibre is good for lowering cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The whole grains retain all of the nutrients, whereas the refined grains are stripped of their beneficial nutrients.
Teff, despite being used for centuries, is only now really making its way into the public eye, due largely to the fact that it is incredibly healthy and beneficial.
Teff is a new super grain, which could be the next quinoa, originates from Ethiopia. Ethiopians have been planting Teff – the base of their renowned injera bread - for more than 3,000 years. Teff is a gluten free grain which is packed with amino acids. This grain is a new alterative to westerners seeking wheat-free options, and it also helps Ethiopian farmers thrive.
Teff is extremely nutritional being high in dietary fibre, iron, protein and calcium. It is similar to millet and quinoa when cooking, but the seed is much smaller (around the same size as poppy seeds) and cooks faster. Being so high in protein is a great source for vegetarians and vegans, and is essential for cellular function and regeneration. Also, if you are a regular in the gym it is great for muscle growth and recovery. Teff is a great source of energy and is broken down in the body slowly, releasing a steady stream of energy which lasts for hours.
This tiny grain is enriched with nutrients and will boost your immune system as well as your overall health and wellbeing.
There are also alternatives to these grains, and gluten free options which are high in protein and low in calories such as edamame, black bean, chickpea and lentil pasta. There are many benefits to switching to this pasta as it does not spike blood sugar levels, and leaves you feeling full with a stable metabolism. They are also high in fibre which does amazing things for the digestive system, as they are digested slower and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. .
These bean, gluten-free alternatives are high in protein and great for vegetarians and vegans. In a normal serving of bean pasta, it contains 25g of protein, 12 grams of fibre and 36% of your RDA of Iron. This is an extremely nutritional plant based protein. You have fed your body with the nutrition it needs, feel satisfied and you will also have curbed your carb craving!
These small plants are being researched for their unique ability to exert 50 times the amount of cancer fighting power of broccoli. Sulforaphane, the prominent phytochemical in broccoli, combats cancer in several ways. The carcinogens are removed, which prevents the cancer cell production, and the destruction of breast cancer cells and tumour reduction. Three-day old broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of this phytochemical, offering 10 to 100 times more of it by weight, than mature broccoli plants or cauliflower.
Broccoli sprouts are also easily absorbed into the system because they also contain potent digestive enzymes. Sprouts are very beneficial for the gut as they contain anti-inflammatory properties, such as anti-inflammatory enzymes. They can be added to all of your favourite meals, such as soups, salads, pasta, stir fry’s. You can even grow your own at home!
We may be oversaturated with these new superfoods at times, but there is a reason why the popularity of this word is growing. Superfoods are what they say in the title. They are nutritional powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. They are the most natural way to boost your immune system, and to make sure you are giving your body what it needs.