5 nutritious superfoods for the new year
It’s January and the urge to kickstart the new year with a resolve to eat healthily is as compelling as ever. Of course, no one food could ever provide everything the human body needs, but plenty of so-called ‘superfoods’ can help to form the cornerstone of a healthy, flavourful diet.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Mauritius, or hope to escape the northern hemisphere for some winter sun, here’s our pick of some of the island’s most nutritious choices to help keep your resolutions intact.
The benefits of coconut oil are well documented, and many of them are down to the presence of lauric acid, which is viewed as a ‘healthier’ cholesterol-free saturated fat which may help with weight loss and lowering blood cholesterol levels. Coconut oil is also said to strengthen the immune system and aid digestion due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Part of the ginger family, turmeric has long been a spice used liberally in Indian curries. But in recent years, its health-promoting properties have propelled it into the limelight, with studies indicating many potential anti-inflammatory benefits. Long used in Ayurvedic medicine to fight conditions such as heartburn, fibromyalgia, liver issues and allergies, it seems the West is now getting in on the act.
Studies have shown that the levels of lycopene – a powerful antioxidant – in guavas far surpass those of other high-lycopene foods like watermelon, tomatoes or papaya, making them a great choice for combating free radicals in the body, which may cause cellular damage. Also a good source of dietary fibre and vitamins C and A, guavas can easily be juiced, added to smoothies or eaten fresh.
Mauritius has undertaken some large scale breadfruit production projects in recent years, with the giant green fruit touted as a rich and reliable source of both protein and gluten-free carbohydrates. The sturdy breadfruit – a single example of which weighs around 3kg – is considered a healthy alternative for other high-starch foods such as white rice and potatoes, and can also be ground into flour.
Packed with antioxidants and a rich source of potassium, the humble lychee has quietly risen to the upper echelons of the superfoods chart. With only 10 calories per fruit, these nobbly little red-skinned wonders also contain more vitamin C than an orange and are said to boost the immune system and aid with digestion issues too.