Eggs: affordable protein packed with antioxidants and nutrients
There are so many weird people in New York. Amazing weird, great weird … absolutely brilliant weird.
In fact, I think normal people now might be the weird people because they’re in the minority. I’m not sure who has the monopoly on normal any more anyway.
Other observations: there are two outdoor smells here and neither of them is traffic fumes. Pollution has been overtaken by cannabis smoke and dog pee. There is weed everywhere! Also dogs have weed everywhere. Everyone has a dog. Some people have two. Some people look like their dogs and some people carry their dogs in baby carriers or push them in prams. Some people talk to their dogs and some people talk like their dogs. I saw a man barking in the park the other day.
Just to top off all the weirdness, no one is wearing a bra. It’s summer, women aren’t wearing much and what they are definitely not wearing, is underwear. I am all for liberation but sometimes I don’t know where to look. I have never been so aware of nipples in my life! (OK, so maybe 20 per cent of women are still wearing bras but I kid you not, this is a thing. Google it!)
So, New York has been an education in expected and unexpected ways. And as you read this, I should be en route to the airport, likely five pounds heavier from all the eating and drinking. I convinced myself it was very important to try almost every new product I found. I think Bermuda has an incredible range of nutritious options but there is always room for more!
There have been some great discoveries but also some epic disasters. I tried some pretty awful probiotic sodas and unbelievably dreadful protein drinks. Honestly, I’m mystified how some things make it to the shelves. The packaging and promises are beautiful, but if they taste terrible then how do they stay in business? Maybe there are enough one-time buyers in America to keep these companies afloat.
Fortunately, we already have the best probiotic soda in Bermuda – try Culture Pop at Miles, especially the orange and chilli one, my absolute favourite and low sugar too. I’m still on the lookout for quick and easy protein drinks though. I have one to test tomorrow which is low sugar, 10g protein, allergy-friendly and squeaky clean on the ingredients list. Looking good so far.
But as much as I love the new products and all the functional food out there, I think it’s so important not to overlook the incredibly nutritious and normal superfoods right there at our fingertips. You don’t have to be fancy (or rich) to get amazing nutrition from your diet. Sometimes it’s better to keep things simple. Here’s a list of my top ten every day superfoods and some tips for getting them into your diet in a budget.
Top ten everyday superfoods:
If I had to pick one superfood, this would probably be it. A single egg contains 6g protein but also several antioxidants (selenium, vitamin A) and B vitamins (folate, B5, B12 and B2). Although some people are wary of eggs due to their cholesterol content, this shouldn’t really put you off eating them (eating cholesterol doesn’t give most people high cholesterol – except in rare circumstances – it’s refined grains/sugars and processed fats that will do that, alongside a lack of fibre). In addition, eggs are rich in some other nutrients that are rare in the modern diet, for example choline (important for brain health) and zeaxanthin (an important antioxidant for eye health). You can even improve the Omega 3 content of your eggs by eating eggs from pasture-raised/flax-fed chickens. However, any eggs will do and they make an affordable (not to mention quick and easy) breakfast or dinner.
Avocados are famous for their vitamin E content (great for heart health and wound healing) but did you know they are also rich in folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium (more than bananas!), vitamin B5 and vitamin B6? Quite the list! Although they are high in fats, these are good fats that actually help you improve nutrients from other food sources. You just want to watch portion sizes however as you can have too much fat from a calorie perspective, especially if you don’t do much exercise. To keep things healthy and economical, stick to half a small avocado at a time. Keep the stone in the unused half and wrap it with clingwrap (airtight) to prevent spoiling. Alternatively freeze unused chunks of avocado for use in smoothies!
I love walnuts. They look like brains and are good for your brain! They are packed with omega 3 and omega 6, helping to improve memory and cognitive function. Try them with fruit as a snack or in salads. I often put chopped walnuts in homemade muffins and granola bars too.
4. Brazil nuts
Just two Brazils a day can provide you with your recommended daily amount of selenium – an important antioxidant in general and especially for fertility, thyroid function and immune health. They are also rich in magnesium, copper, zinc and heart-healthy fats. Try chopping Brazils and adding them to granola, or just having them as a snack. For a treat, dip them in melted chocolate and set in the fridge.
I know you’ve heard it before, but berries are jam-packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and blueberries top the list. They’re also great for skin health and anti-ageing in general. Blueberries can be expensive and also go mouldy quickly in Bermuda so don’t be afraid to use frozen. Defrost them overnight and add them to yoghurt or cereal. The nutrient retention from frozen blueberries is top notch. In fact, frozen are sometimes even more nutrient dense as they are frozen so quickly after harvesting.
Pineapple is one of the higher sugar fruits but it’s also loaded with nutrients and enzymes that can help reduce inflammation. It’s super rich in vitamin C (immune health) and also manganese (aids growth and metabolism). The core of the pineapple is an especially good source of bromelain (anti-inflammatory) so don’t discard that part. You can add grated pineapple core to salads or smoothies.
A nutritional powerhouse and fortunately, most people’s favourite vegetable! It’s rich in vitamin C, vitamins A and K, folate, potassium and selenium as well as lutein and zeaxanthin (both great for eye health). Research shows us that broccoli may protect against cancers, especially breast, prostate, stomach, colorectal, renal and bladder cancers. Whether you cook it from fresh or frozen, it’s always best to steam it to maximise nutrient retention. If you have a reluctant broccoli eater, try making a purée and then stirring it into a tomato-based pasta sauce. The bonus of doing this is that tomatoes and broccoli together are showing potential for being even more cancer preventive! Try adding broccoli to soup, omelettes, stirfrys or simply have it as a side!
Medical research has shown proven health benefits for garlic, including preventing the common cold and lowering blood pressure/cholesterol levels. However, what we know is that garlic’s health benefits are triggered by a sulphur compound that is formed when a garlic clove is crushed. Crushing garlic and then waiting ten minutes is optimal for the formation of these compounds. It’s fine to cook it once the ten-minute wait is over!
9. Sweet potatoes
Just one sweet potato will give you 400 per cent of the vitamin A that you need every day. Vitamin A helps defend your body against germs, as well as keeping your eyes healthy and nourishing your heart and kidneys. They are also packed full of fibre – more so than a white potato – which helps to slow down sugar release and maintain longer lasting energy. Use sweet potatoes in soup, casseroles or bake them – and do eat the skin! A baked sweet potato with scrambled eggs and salad makes a quick and easy dinner. We’re also fans of sweet potato wedges in our house.
A superfood list wouldn’t be complete without oats! They are incredibly rich in a type of fibre that helps to lower LDL cholesterol, making them very heart healthy. Oats are also a good source of manganese, zinc, B1 and B5 – so good for growth, immune function and energy. Oatmeal is an incredibly cost-effective breakfast – just try not to drown it in sweeteners. Try adding vanilla, cinnamon and topping with some defrosted blueberries instead!
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram