Now that temperatures have started to drop, there are plenty of people out there battling with a running nose and chesty cough – welcome to Autumn – finally! Hence the reason we have focused this months Kickstart on all things ‘superfoods’. Superfoods are simply nutrient rich foods that offer extra bang for our buck when we eat them and when it comes to keeping our immune system working at its best, it is all about loading up our diets with the essential nutrients that are crucial for optimal immune function. So our Shape Me May Kickstart is packed full of soups, choc full of veges and foods rich in zinc, iron, omega 3′s and Vitamin C rich fresh foods to help give you the immune boost you are looking for. So if your diet needs a little work this Autumn check out our 2 week May Kickstart and focus more of your meals around some of these Autumn superfoods of the season.
Red capsicum is a rich source of carotenoids, the group of antioxidants known to play a powerful role in helping to down regulate a number of inflammatory pathways in the body. Individuals who have had a higher intake of carotenoids during their lives have been associated with lower risks of mortality from common disease states including heart disease, cancer and stroke in large population based health studies. Red capsicums are another great vege snack teamed with hommus or cucumber dip.
Not often put into the superfood category, the thing that is not commonly known about pumpkin is that it is exceptionally low in carbohydrates and calories, making it the perfect heart vegetable to include in soups, salads and roasts. A good source of beta carotene, Vitamin C, fibre and potassium, pumpkin is one vegetable you can literally eat to your hearts content.
Often taken for granted as a superfood, nature’s number 1 snack thanks to coming in its own packaging, bananas are the perfect natural energy rich food. With 3g of fibre in a single banana, they are also a rich source of potassium, Vitamin B6, folate and magnesium and can be used to add natural sweetness to smoothies, baked goods, yoghurt or enjoyed as a nutrient rich snack on the go.
One of most versatile leaves, fresh baby spinach leaves make a delicious salad base; can be added to green juices and is delicious stir fried with a little olive oil and nutrient rich garlic and teamed with light fish meals or as a vege base for omelettes. The dark green leaves of spinach gives some insight into its rich nutrient content; spinach leaves are a rich source of Vitamin C, E, K beta carotene and folate and cooking spinach in a little olive oil will help to enhance nutrient absorption.
The rich, bright colour and texture of beetroot give you some idea of how chock full of nutrition this vegetable really is. Beetroot contains a number of extremely powerful antioxidants known to support cell health and with minimal calories per serve, is a daily must include in your diet. Roast and add to salads, juice for a tasty mixed vegetable juice or grate and keep handy as an addition to sandwiches, crackers, dips and pates. Recent research also confirmed that the high levels of nitric oxide in beetroot helps to improve blood flow and shots of concentrated beetroot juice have also been shown to improve cycling performance in sprint events.
It is hard to fault Australia’s favourite toast topping – avocados are rich in the heart healthy monounsaturated fats and a good source of dietary fibre and it is their high natural Vitamin E content that takes them into the superfood category. Linked to everything from heart health to good skin to acting as a natural anti-inflammatory, you cannot go wrong if you include ¼ – ½ an avocado in your daily diet.
Try one of our delicious recipes from our May Kickstart program below or get started with our May Kickstart here.
Grilled Salmon & Vegetable Mash
Serves 4 – per serve: 130 cals | 7g fat | 14g protein | 3g carbs | 3g fibre