The last few years has seen a surge in superfoods – foods that many people have never even heard of have suddenly become best sellers on the market. People are rushing to cram their diets full of foods that they think will make them thinner and healthier. Kale, quinoa, spinach and chia seeds are some of the most popular health foods at the moment.

Just how ‘super’ are they really? We take a look..

 

KALE

kale

Pros

  • Kale is rich in fibre, and so helps your body with digestion.
  • The Vitamin K in Kale can fight off the Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial for healthy skin and eyes.
  • Kale is full of Iron. Iron promotes healthy circulation, by producing enzymes and haemoglobin.
  • It has anti-inflammatory benefits, as it is rich in Omega 3. This will reduce the pain of arthritis and joint-pain, and relieve asthma suffers.
  • Zero fat! Therefore assists in lowering cholesterol.

Cons

  • Hyperkalaemia is a disease resulting from too much potassium. The high levels of potassium in Kale can lead to this disease, which causes fatigue, muscle weakness, chest pain and diarrhoea.
  • The high level of fibre can also cause diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
  • As is has zero fat, if you make it a main part of your diet you can have calorie deficiency and your body will start to break down.
  • Sorbitol has been found in kale. Sorbitol is an indigestible sugar.

 

QUINOA

THK-Quinoa-1-2

Pros

  • Quinoa is 58% Manganese. Manganese is found in trace numbers in the body. It boosts your metabolism, helps to absorb calcium and regulates your blood sugar. It also produces connective tissue and bones.
  • For every 100g of quinoa, 7g of that is fibre. The fibre will lower your cholesterol.
  • Quinoa is full of amino acids, which will assist in muscle building.
  • It is high in protein and carbs – perfect if you are trying to gain muscle or need something to wake you up.
  • High in calcium for healthy teeth and bones.

Cons

  • May have anti-oxidant properties, so take caution is you are eating other anti-oxidant foods.
  • Has a natural coating of saponins, which can lead to stomach irritation. Therefore must be washed properly.

 

 

CHIA SEEDS

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Pros

  • High in fibre. When added to water they form a gel that aids digestion
  • Contain calcium, magnesium and boron. Not only do they promote strong teeth and bones, but also stop cravings and supress hunger. Chia is great for weight loss, especially belly fat.
  • Gluten-free complete protein with a higher protein volume than a grain. Stabilizes blood sugar and give you an energy boost.
  • The colloid-type fibre maintains water volume and keeps you hydrated.
  • 64% omega-3 fats and alpha-linoleic acids. These are a natural anti-inflammatory. They also help mental focus and fight depression.

Cons

  • You can be allergic to chia. The allergy can go from a mild rash and hives to a swelling of the mouth and tongue. If you are sensitive to mustard seeds, you may be allergic to chia seeds.
  • Blood thinner. Chia can make you bleed more if you have a cut. Therefore, you must stop eating chia 5 days before any procedure that may involve blood.
  • As it is high in fibre it can leave you bloated and gassy.
  • Chia seeds have addictive qualities.

 

 

SPINACH

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Pros

  • One of the many anti-oxidants found in spinach is Beta-Carotene. This particular anti-oxidant has been proven to help fight off many different types of cancer.
  • Spinach is great for your eye health
  • It has an anti-ageing property as it promotes good eye sight and rejuvenates the skin.
  • Increases muscle efficiency. Spinach reduces the amount of oxygen required to power muscles by 5% for 300g of spinach.

Cons

  • Fibre levels can lead to bloating, gas, cramping
  • There is a high level of oxalates present in spinach. If you eat spinach with other high oxalate foods such as nuts and soy then your body can produce kidney stones.

It is obvious that each of these foods has multiple health benefits, yet some also have some dangerous side-effects. The key with these foods is to have everything in moderation. Enjoy these foods as part of a healthy balanced diet and you will earn the benefits.

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