What better time of year to reflect on 2018’s top superfoods than right before Christmas – when the typical festive plate consists of multiple slices of ham, a towering pile of potato bake and third helpings of Christmas pudding slathered in custard.
(Not to mention the several glasses of champagne on top of all that).
Yes – it’s no secret festive season isn’t a healthy-eater’s best friend, but forget presents, eating is by far the best part of Christmas.
Plus, as we all know, it’s all about balance, and look, nothing’s getting in the way of my second enormous plate of food on December 25.
Lucky for us, according to Gavin Aquilina, Head of PT operations and nutritionist at Vision Personal Training, there are certain foods we can incorporate into our diets around our summer feasting that will result in a range of health benefits (and perhaps even keep us from getting sick).
Some of which can even be easily incorporated into our Christmas lunch menus themselves.
But they’re not just regular foods, they’re superfoods.
So, what exactly is a superfood?
It’s certainly a term we hear thrown around a lot in the health world, but Gavin says there’s a good reason superfoods have exploded in popularity.
“Some of the major health issues we face today, including heart disease, cancer and arthritis are in part caused by oxidation and inflammation. The great news is, there are foods we can easily access that are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties,” he says.
“Superfoods are foods that have the nutritional properties needed to decrease the dangerous oxidation process which causes unstable cells linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Superfoods are foods that decrease low-grade inflammation which is one, if not the major driver, of all modern disease.”
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But how do we know which foods are super?
There have been several studies spanning several years within the nutrition industry to identify the impact of certain foods, but Gavin says there’s one simple way to define a food as “super”.
“An indicator on what makes food super is whether or not it has a positive impact on gut health,” he explains.
“Improving your gut health decreases the low-grade systemic inflammation in the body, meaning your risk of developing a modern metabolic lifestyle disease is radically reduced.”
“A superfood can be classified as such if it addresses three key areas of oxidation, inflammation or gut health.”
So without further ado, here are the best foods to consider if you want to up your nutrients and momentarily step away from typical Christmas fare this summer break.