Have you ever forgotten to do your job as the tooth fairy? I have. And yes, some might say the tooth fairy doesn’t exist, much like superfoods, but stick with me.
The thing is, my son carefully placed his recently deceased baby tooth in our special little tooth box, and then slid it under his pillow one night before going to bed.
He had high expectations that the tooth fairy would secretly fly into his bedroom that night while he slept, carefully remove his little tooth, without making a sound, and leave at least a couple of dollars as a reward. Nowhere near the challenge that Santa faces, but nonetheless still quite a task.
So Master 8 rose the next morning and excitedly opened the little silver box with it’s gold teddy bear on top that we’d placed under his pillow.
And what did he find?
Well, he found his old blood-stained tooth still there and no money A.N.Y.W.H.E.R.E.
Not my proudest parenting moment.
And I only know all of this only second-hand because my husband, Mr Cricket, carefully explained this to me as I walked into our kitchen that morning. Mr Cricket used one of those grown-up voices that has a complete next-level message attached to it that flies right over the head of children. “Oh look Mummy, the TOOTH FAIRY didn’t make it last night to pick up the tooth and leave SOME MONEY for Samuel. She must have been TOO BUSY.” Ahem.
I have no excuses for this failure. Did I watch too much Netflix last night? Did I get sugar-high from my post-dinner Whittaker’s chocolate and forget?
But here I am, forced to do the tooth fairy’s job. I assume it’s a her. But maybe it’s a he. Whatever. The fact is, that damn fairy was a no show and I got the blame for it.
Or maybe we could just talk about the elephant in the room – the Tooth Fairy does not exist!
Which brings me to superfoods.
Do Superfoods Even Exist?
The superfoods discussion is much like a grown-up version of the tooth fairy situation. Do superfoods really exist? If so, which ones are they? Why isn’t it clear exactly which foods are super and which are just mediocre? Are they keeping superfoods on the down-low so they don’t attract too much attention (like the damn tooth fairy)?
Look, I don’t want to spoil the bedtime stories for grownups, but I don’t believe in superfoods (or the tooth fairy).
But that’s not going to stop me from sharing with you my 5 favourite superfoods. Foods that I consider super. That I’ve seen damn good scientific evidence for the health benefits we gain when eating them. Or that I just happen to find particularly useful and good.
So here we go, do enjoy my mystical line up of superfoods, won’t you?
#1 Superfood: Nuts
Nuts are good for your health. Yes really. And no they don’t make you fat. That’s it in a nutshell (see how I did that?).
But if you want more info, here it is: clinical trials have shown that a daily small handful of nuts lowers cholesterol levels. Observational studies have shown time and time again that those who eat nuts daily have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Which is why the Heart Foundation recommends we eat 30 grams of raw nuts (a small handful) daily to improve diet quality and reduce our risk of heart disease.
Nuts have also been shown to improve sperm quality in men. Like – for real. They get guys to eat nuts daily and after 14 weeks they had an improved total sperm count as well as improved sperm vitality (percentage of live sperm), motility (percentage of sperm that move), and morphology (shape of the sperm). Get your guys eating nuts if you want to make babies.
None of this is a surprise really, because nuts are nutrient dense, aka they’re loaded with lots of minerals, vitamins, good fats and other goodies.
If you’re not eating nuts daily, please do. It’s literally the easiest and best thing you can do for your health.
And no you don’t need to “activate” them. Just eat them.
And no they do not cause weight gain. Truly. No evidence. Just eat a handful and see.
#2 Superfood: Oats
I realise there’s a whole segment of society who hates grains. But I am not one of them. I love oats with a vengeance. They, like nuts, have an abundance of scientific evidence supporting their ability to lower cholesterol levels, prevent constipation and generally improve our gut health.
Everyone is raving about gut health and the importance of it, at the moment. Well if you love your gut so much, then do it a favour and eat some oats. They’re packed with fibre that will figuratively speaking “brush out” your insides. And the beta-glucan fibre they contain is super powerful at lowering bad cholesterol levels.
That’s why you’ll find me dining on an oat-based porridge as a snack some days. That’s why I make oat-based breakfast cookies. And why I make muffins with oats.
Any time I can find an excuse to incorporate oats in my diet (meatballs with oats mixed in, instead of breadcrumbs), I’m there.
Come to think of it, I should probably buy stocks in Harraways Oats…
#3 Superfood: Greek Yoghurt
Damn this stuff is so filling, thanks to it’s high protein content, plus it’s nice and sour! Why would anyone eat another type of yoghurt? Was that a rhetorical question? No it wasn’t. I literally want to know why you would eat any other type of yoghurt… if you want flavourings, just throw the flavourings on Greek yoghurt. It’s so thick and creamy and delicious!
But I get it, some people may not like it. Which is fine. But this is my superfood list, so it definitely makes it in at #3.
What else I love about Greek yoghurt is that it’s so adaptable – I use it in muffins, as a salad dressing, in tzatziki and other dips, mixed with whipped cream as a tangy dessert topping, mixed with mayonnaise or sweet chilli sauce as another type of dip, to coat chicken pieces before crumbing (so easy, who wants to egg dip and flour it and get messy?). Plus on my breakfast muesli and fruit every morning. Every. Morning.
Plus, plus, so much raving on about out gut health and yes it’s important. But it’s all kombucha, kefir and sauercraut are great for gut health, etc, etc, etc. But what about Greek yoghurt? It’s great for gut health! It’s loaded with probiotics. And it’s damn easy to include in your daily eating. Not cool though is it? Much better to spend three times as much money on something with a weird name than just eat yoghurt?
No thanks – I’m firmly in the Greek yoghurt camp, which is why you’ll always find multiple tubs of it in my fridge.
#4 Superfood: Kiwifruit
Okay, disclaimer up front, my grandfather used to own a kiwifruit orchard. So you might say I’m biased. But he no longer owns the orchard, not least because he’s no longer alive….
The thing is – kiwifruit are loaded with vitamin C. Absolutely loaded. Like loads more than citrus or any other so-called “rich source of vitamin C”. Which is great if you’re trying to stave off colds – studies have shown that people who regularly ate several kiwifruit each day got over their colds quicker and with lesser symptoms.
Kiwifruit have also been shown to improve iron uptake and therefore boost iron status – very important for we ladies. It’s kiwifruit’s high vitamin C level that enhances the uptake of non-haeme iron.
But vitamin C isn’t the only thing about kiwifruit that’s interesting – they also have some cool enzymes in them that help with digestion and also other weird fibre types that slow down the absorption of carbs eaten alongside the kiwifruit. That means you don’t get such big blood sugar spikes from the carbs you eat.
Kiwifruit also help with moving stuff along in your gut (yes, gut health again), studies have shown that people who eat two kiwifruit each day have more regular bowel movements. Which is great – who wants to be constipated? And there’s a good chance that you’re reducing your risk of colorectal cancers too, because chronic constipation is a risk factor for colorectal cancer.
And yes, I have kiwifruit for breakfast most days, with other fruit. Plus I enjoy them sometimes for a snack or dessert with yoghurt.
#5 Superfood: Cupcakes
I sat here, fingers poised over my bluetooth connected external keyboard, pondering what would be my 5th superfood, racking my brain, for at least 3 minutes and 25 seconds. And then I realised, in the interests of complete honesty, that I need to include cupcakes on this list.
Cupcakes make me happy. Like really happy. And I don’t care if everyone else has moved on to macarons or crepes or freak shakes.
Cupcakes are cute and pretty (if someone else decorates them, not me). They are whimsical and bring out my inner-food-child.
And I think part of having a super relationship with food, is about honouring both our happiness and our health.
So here’s to good cupcakes with perfect buttercream frosting!
I’d love to know what foods you would put on your superfood list – what’s your favourite nutritious food? what’s your favourite play food?