The Dubai food doctor - advice on how to get your power food fix
What’s on enlists the help of a nutritionist in Dubai to advise on power foods including avocado, banana, green tea, walnuts and flax seeds.
Power foods supply at least three nutrients in significant amounts. Nancy Bhatia, lifestyle and nutrition analyst, explains the benefits of these vitamin-packed goodies and what they can fix.
Key nutrients: Good fats, fibre, folate, vitamin C
Who knew the creamy avocado with the highest fat content among all fruits could be a power food? All the fats in avocado are healthy fats, and it strikes a perfect balance between Omega 3 and 6. Not all fats are bad. Good fats aid brain development and protect against heart conditions. Besides adding great flavour and texture to dishes, avocados also give a sense of fullness and help to avoid over eating.
Tip: Replace salted processed butter with avocado on your multigrain toast.
Key nutrients: Calcium, proteins, vitamin B complex, phosphorus
A storehouse of prebiotic, friendly calcium source for lactose intolerant people. Yoghurt is fermented milk and fermentation creates an infusion of healthy microorganisms that help you digest food and ensure you will have regular bowel movements. Yoghurt is a natural detox for the gut and also leaves you with acne-free skin, healthy hair, and strong nails and bones.
Tip: Replace your desserts with plain yoghurt and fruits. This is the best way to add natural fibre to your diet
Key nutrients: Plyphenols, cathechins, fat burners, antioxidants
Green tea is effective at fat burning, which is why it is popular with weight watchers, heart patients and athletes. Green tea is a stimulant, but unlike caffeine, which drains your body of water and energy. Since it has antioxidants, green tea can combat cancers, and lowers your risk of developing diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cardiovascular diseases. Green tea also helps kill bacteria in the mouth, which leads to bad breath.
Tip: Add a spoon of honey and a dash of lime and ginger to boost the flavour and kick-start your metabolism.
Key nutrients: Phosphorous, fibre, natural sugar, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6
The phosphorous helps in calcium retention. This is particularly important for children and women over 40. The fibre makes it easy to digest and relieves constipation caused by stress and irregular sleep patterns. The natural sugar gives an energy burst when consumed before a workout. The natural sugar is also a mood calmer. Potassium helps to cure blood pressure, and the body requires manganese and vitamin B6 during metabolism and energy breakdown. Moreover, a banana is cheap and both easy to carry and eat.
TIP: Add sliced banana to low fat yoghurt with cinnamon and cardamom powder.
Key nutrients: Healthy fats, fibre, minerals
Flax seeds enhance the nutritional value of almost everything you eat, be it sandwiches, cereal, salad or nuts. Flax seeds have benefits in controlling blood sugar due to their good quality fat and fibre content. Their antioxidant properties help protect the body. They also help to prevent high blood pressure and depression because they contain fatty acids that help to regulate the happy hormone. It protects against the oxidative cell damage, thereby giving healthy skin and silky hair.
Tip: Sprinkle flax seeds over your sandwiches to double the nutritional value.
Key nutrients: Omega 6, proteins, minerals, healthy fats
These nuts are a powerhouse of protein and healthy fat. Faster muscle recovery, cholesterol control, decreased hunger pangs, blood sugar regulation, and sharper brains are among the many benefits of eating walnuts. They are a super food because just one handful of them can provide you with the benefits of at least ten apples.
Tip: Sprinkle walnuts over your salad and yoghurt desserts to add protein to your meal.
So, can superfoods can fix everything? Caroline Bienert (carolinebienert.com), nutritional therapist, has her say…
There are certainly foods that can positively affect your overall wellbeing, but your body needs to be in good condition in order for these foods to start working. Superfoods are not a miracle cure by any means, and if you don’t take good care of your body and your health, then eating them will not suddenly make you fit and healthy. But if you have a healthy lifestyle and diet, then superfoods are an awesome addition. Berries act as anti-oxidants; wheatgrass is an alkaline food that is helpful because a slightly alkaline blood pH level is said to keep our immune systems in tip top condition; and maca, a vitamin-rich Peruvian root, is an energy booster.