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Swing into spring with superfoods

Swing into spring with superfoods

Spring is finally here and along with it starts the fall of vibrant superfoods.

Superfoods pack a punch that is pleasing to your body. From preventing cancer to giving you beautiful skin, incorporating such foods into your diet can make a huge difference.

Science says nutrient-dense foods not only make you feel great, but may even reduce the risk of certain chronic health conditions, while providing multiple health benefits.

You have most likely heard the term “superfoods” to describe foods that will supposedly make you look great, feel great and help you live a longer, healthier life – but what are “superfoods” and what makes them so super? We spoke to health and wellness expert, Maria Ascencao who explained the importance of these foods.

Ascencao said superfoods are exceptionally nutrient-dense foods. She said they are usually high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which can help prevent disease, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, help improve immunity and decrease inflammation.

“No single superfood can provide all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy needed to nourish the body. However, superfoods, incorporated into a healthy diet (which excludes processed foods and those high in sugar) may help balance blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight and fight chronic diseases like diabetes and even cancer,” said Ascencao.

The foods mentioned below will broaden your horizons and could just lead to a healthier you.

Swing into spring with superfoods
Spinach sandwich. Picture: Lisa Fotios

Spinach

This leafy green is often underrated even though it is super nutritious and a great source of iron. Iron is particularly important for vegans and vegetarians, so add spinach to your salads, smoothies, and other dishes more often.

Swing into spring with superfoods
Cereal with apricot. Picture: Alexander Mils

Apricot

With a velvety-peachy coat and creamy flesh, apricot is delicious when fresh but equally nutritious when dried. Drop the golden fruit in your cereal, salad, and desserts, or snack on it for wholesome goodness.

Swing into spring with superfoods
Rice and peas. Picture: Alesia Kozik

Peas

Fresh spring peas are so delicious that you could eat them on their own, uncooked, straight out of the pod. Peas have a good deal of B vitamins to help with energy production and are also rich in iron. Try steamed peas stirred into barley risotto, made from rice and a few fresh shrimp. Just add vegetable stock to pull the whole dish together.

Swing into spring with superfoods
Bone broth. Picture: Pexels/Annushka Ahuja

Bone broth

Bone broth is rich in magnesium, calcium, collagen, and phosphorus. It can help to improve digestion and soothe gut inflammation, as well as improve the quality of the skin and keep joints healthy. Bone broth can be bought or made at home, and can be drunk straight or added to meals as a nutrient-rich stock.

Swing into spring with superfoods
Strawberries dessert. Picture: Susanne Jutzeler Sujufoto

Strawberries

Make sure you get your hands on some of these delicacies during the next few months, which make excellent wholesome snacks, breakfasts, and desserts. Plentiful antioxidants and impressive vitamin counts make this superfood especially good for decreasing your risk of a springtime cold or flu.

Swing into spring with superfoods
Enjoy asparagus lightly steamed, grilled, or pan-fried. Picture: Pexels

Asparagus

An abundance of bright green asparagus marks the beginning of spring. It is a super-rich source of vitamin K and folate. Keep asparagus spears looking their best by storing them upright in a glass with about two centimetres of water and they will stay fresh for a few days. Enjoy it lightly steamed, grilled, or pan-fried.

Swing into spring with superfoods
Apricot and cardamom bread and butter pudding. Picture: Rachel Allen

Apricot and cardamom bread and butter pudding

Serves: 4

Ingredients

10 fat green cardamom pods, peeled and crushed to give ¾ tsp

350ml regular or double cream, plus extra to serve, if wished

150ml milk

100g sugar (caster or granulated), plus 1 tbsp

3 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g dried apricots, chopped

50ml boiling water

6 slices of white bread, crusts removed (slightly stale if possible)

30g soft butter

Method

Place the crushed cardamom seeds in a saucepan with the cream, milk, and 100g of sugar.

Stir over high heat as it comes up to the boil and make sure the sugar dissolves.

Once it comes to the boiling point, turn off the heat and set it aside for 2 minutes.

Put the beaten eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl, then pour over the cream mixture, whisking all the time.

Next, place the chopped apricots in a cup or heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set the apricots aside to plump up while you butter the bread.

Lay the bread out on your worktop and butter it with the soft butter.

Cut the slices into 12 triangles. Lay 6 triangles of bread in the bottom of a 1 litre pie dish, buttered-side up.

Drain the plumped apricots then scatter them over the bread. Arrange the remaining triangles in a chevron design over the apricots.

Add the cream and egg mixture, then sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar and set aside for 1 hour if possible (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 180C and place a bain marie of steaming water in the middle of the oven (a roasting tin half full with boiling water).

Place the pie dish in the tin and cook for 1 hour or until golden and puffed. Allow to cool slightly, then serve with softly whipped cream.

Recipe by chef Rachel Allen

Original Article