Brought to you by Good Health magazine
Some everyday foods have been emerging as health helpers recently. You’ve probably heard of chocolate and red wine, but there are other things you may eat every day that can also boost your health. Check out these surprising superfoods.
"Most people don’t know that popcorn is actually
a wholegrain food like brown rice," says dietitian Michelle Broom from
the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council.
"If you’re in a snacking mood it contains five times more fibre and three times less saturated fat than a packet of chips, and a 20g serving contains almost a third
of the 48g of wholegrains we need a day."
Wholegrains offer huge benefits – diets heavy in them have been linked to everything from a reduced risk of bowel cancer to
a lowered risk of gum disease. Popcorn also contains high levels of polyphenol antioxidants – four times more than in fruit, says Dr Joe Vinson from the US’s University of Scranton.
For optimum health, avoid the high-salt or butter-covered versions.
"Get yourself an air popper and make your own with a little canola oil," suggests Broom.
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Curry is a mixture of many spices including turmeric, coriander, fenugreek and chilli,” explains Sydney-based naturopath Anita Chakraburtty.
"All have medicinal properties that can help reduce the risk of conditions like cancer, diabetes and stroke. Chilli also contains the alkaloid capsaicin which is a natural painkiller."
However, it is in the field of brain health where curry really earns its superfood stripes. It might surprise you to discover that
India has some of the lowest incidences of Alzheimer's disease in the world (less than one per cent of over-65s in some villages).
One reason suggested for this is the high intake of curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent found in the spice turmeric. This has been shown to prevent the accumulation of the protein-based plaques
in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s.
In fact, doctors at the US’s Duke University suggested that eating curry once or twice a week – along with a healthy diet and exercise – could be the key to preventing dementia.
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Traditionally a kids’ beverage, chocolate milk is also shaping up to be the drink of exercisers. In studies at the US’s Indiana University, cyclists given reduced-fat chocolate milk to drink after exercise recovered faster and were able to ride about 50 per cent further the next day than those just replacing fluids.
"For those who weight train, chocolate milk also contains whey protein which is the second fastest absorbing protein in our food chain," says Sydney-based dietitian Gabrielle Maston.
"Drinking a glass 30 minutes post-workout will help muscle recovery.”
Chocolate milk is also packed with calcium, providing up to 350mg per 250ml glass, and studies have shown that drinking super-high cocoa versions have an anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against atherosclerosis.
Finally, chocolate milk might also cheer you
"Flavours people enjoy cause the brain to release dopamine – a happy hormone that gives us a sense of wellbeing," says Maston.
For the full story, see the October issue of Good Health. Subscribe to Good Health and receive a FREE Sukin Face Essentials Pack, valued at $39.95!