As a dietitian, usually, I’m not too fond of the term superfood. It’s often used as a marketing ploy to make you spend more money on overpriced packaged food.
So, in this article, I will reveal my five favourite accessible foods that I believe are super!
If you want to live a longer, healthier and happier life, these five foods will help you get there!
This post is all about a dietitian’s favourite superfoods.
If you would prefer to sit back and watch/listen to this information, you can view it over on our YouTube Channel.
- 1 A Dietitian’s Favourite Superfoods
- 1.1 Number 1 – Kiwis
- 1.2 Number 2 – Enjoy Nuts Daily
- 1.3 3. Oily Fish – One Serving Of Oily Fish A Week
- 1.4 4. Dairy– Three Times A Day.
- 1.5 5. Pulses & Legumes – a few times a week
- 1.6 More about the author:
- 1.7 Check me out on YouTube!
- 1.8 Related
A Dietitian’s Favourite Superfoods
Number 1 – Kiwis
The first food is kiwis, which are an extremely underrated fruit.
They are excellent for constipation and have even been linked to better sleep!
The exciting thing about kiwi fruit is that they’re low in fermentable carbohydrates, otherwise known as FODMAPs. And FODMAPS can worsen symptoms of bloating and diarrhoea in some people. So, kiwis are an excellent choice for people who struggle to eat certain fruits due to these issues.
On the other side of the scale, Kiwis are fantastic at getting things moving if you suffer from constipation. For many clients with a slower gut, two kiwis a day can solve the problem and is often easier to implement than some other constipation advice.
So, regardless of your gut symptoms, kiwis are often an excellent choice for everyone.
They are also high in an enzyme called actinidin, which helps the body digest proteins in meat, gluten, nuts, and legumes, making them the perfect after-dinner snack or dessert to aid digestion.
And my reason for recommending this delicious fruit is that they may also help sleep when eaten before bed. Though completed a little over a decade ago, one small study examined kiwi’s impact on sleep in 24 adults over four weeks. Researchers found that eating two kiwis one hour before bedtime was associated with “significantly” improved overall sleep time, sleep efficiency, and ability to fall asleep more quickly.
My following fun fact is that golden kiwis have three times more vitamin C than an orange – so they are an absolute nutrient powerhouse – and we know vitamin C is essential for immune function, so they are a great thing to add in around now with winter colds and flu lurking.
They are also highly heart-healthy. Because they have soluble fibre, which can help reduce cholesterol levels, and a hefty dose of potassium, which can help with fluid balance and blood pressure. One study found that by eating three kiwis daily, participants exhibited lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure than one apple a day. It might be time to change that age-old expression about an apple a day to a kiwi a day!
Kiwis – Leave The Skin On!
Kiwi skins are edible and very nutrient-rich. They may not look inviting, but they are packed with nutrients and perfectly safe and healthy. Research has shown that eating a whole gold kiwi, including the skin, provides 50 per cent more fibre, 32 per cent more vitamin E, and 34 per cent more folate.
Tip: It may be easier to choose gold kiwifruit over green kiwis since the former have smooth, hairless skin that is more palatable.
So, if you have gut issues, sleep challenges, or you’re simply looking to improve your health, perhaps kiwi fruit is something you may benefit from!Dietitian Recommendation 😉
Number 2 – Enjoy Nuts Daily
My next superfood is nuts. Some people avoid eating nuts as they are concerned about the high-calorie content and potential weight gain. However, research suggests that consuming nuts daily can help manage weight and provide other health benefits.
Nuts contain high amounts of fibre, and their structure makes it difficult for the body to absorb all the calories they contain. For instance, one serving (1oz or 28g) of almonds has 170kcal (according to the package), but only about 129 calories are absorbed by the body.
Another study with over 50,000 people found that eating nuts daily was associated with less risk of weight gain.
In other studies, nuts were shown to reduce cholesterol, improve sperm quality, make people feel fuller for longer and stabilise blood sugar levels. Their benefits are far-reaching.
Nuts provide healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Each type of nut has unique benefits, so the best thing to do is eat various kinds. That way, you can reap all the advantages.
Tip: Maybe get almonds one week as part of your weekly shop and pistachios the next, or buy a bag of mixed nuts to help bring in the variety. For the healthiest option, choose plain, unsalted varieties (not the ones covered in chocolate) for most of the time anyway.
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3. Oily Fish – One Serving Of Oily Fish A Week
Oily fish provides us with an important fat called omega-3, which has numerous benefits.
Omega-3 fats are most well known for being good for our heart. But what really motivates my clients to get in their oily fish is when I discuss how good they are for your skin.
Everyone wants younger healthier-looking skin. Many people will fork out on expensive moisturizers to put on their skin but eating oily fish is like moisturising from within. People with really low intakes of Omega 3 can get very dry flaky skin and dull hair.
Omega 3s help maintain healthy skin moisture levels, supporting the skin barrier and reducing inflammation. They contribute to the natural oils produced in the skin, which offer smoothing and softening benefits by coating the outer layer of the skin and preventing moisture loss.
And as I mentioned, omega 3s are anti-inflammatory so that they can help with any inflammatory conditions. Oily fish are an important step in my anti-inflammatory diet plan.
They also have been shown to help depression, cancer, cholesterol and even migraines. It’s worth noting that oily fish also provides vitamin D, a nutrient we are shown to be lacking in.
We get some omega 3 in plants like flaxseed and walnuts but it’s a different type of omega 3 to the kind in oily fish. So oily fish really is king. And oily fish is usually your coloured fish so think salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines. So try to have 1-2 servings of oily fish each week.
If you are a vegan or you don’t eat fish you can get the same type of omega 3 from an ALGAE-based omega 3 supplement. You want to look for one with about 450mg EPA and DHA per daily adult dose.
4. Dairy– Three Times A Day.
We know that dairy has impressive levels of calcium and that it’s good for our bones. But there is another reason why I believe it’s a superfood and why I’ve added it to this list.
But first going back to the calcium. Dairy is a fantastic calcium source and when dairy is compared against a calcium supplement, the impact on bone health is significantly better when consumed through dairy. This is because of a whole nutrient matrix within dairy. Dairy provides an array of bone-supporting nutrients like protein and phosphorus and these are all working together with the calcium.
However, it’s the iodine that dairy contains which makes it a superfood in my opinion.
Research is showing that our iodine intake through food isn’t good enough. Iodine has many roles in the body including a central role in how our thyroid works (which is linked to our metabolism), as well as brain function. And we don’t get iodine in many foods. In fact, we really only get it in seaweed, fish and dairy. So if you don’t eat seaweed (which many people don’t) or you don’t eat fish very often, then striving for three portions of dairy a day is a good idea.
5. Pulses & Legumes – a few times a week
And my last superfood is pulses and legumes. So beans, peas and lentils.
If you ever heard the saying, “beans, beans are good for your heart, beans, beans they make you fart” well, there is truth here. They are good for your heart!
Additionally, they may help protect against certain types of cancer, such as bowel cancer.
These foods offer a lot of fibre and some protein, and they’re versatile and inexpensive. So, if you’re not already including them in your diet, there’s really no reason not to start. You can easily add a tin of chickpeas or kidney beans to stews, bolognese, curries, stir-fries, and soups. There are so many ways to incorporate them into your meals.
Our gut bacteria love pulses and legumes and its important to keep our gut bacteria happy – because they do a lot for us. I have a whole series on gut health coming up so make sure your subscribed so you don’t miss when that comes out.
Hi there! My name is Maria, and I am a Registered Dietitian practicing in Ireland and Bermuda. I have extensive experience in helping clients lower their cholesterol levels through dietary interventions. I hope you found the article informative and beneficial. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Additionally, if there are any other topics related to nutrition that you would like me to cover in my upcoming articles, please let me know. I would be more than happy to help.
Stay happy and healthy 💚
Your Registered Dietitian
Check me out on YouTube!
🎥 Visit my YouTube Channel to learn more about my approach to eating.