What if I told you there was a surprising superfood which may help to slim your waistline, not your wallet?
Forget the exotic ingredients and crazy claims of diet gurus and health marketers, a true super food is any food that’s affordable, nutritious and tastes amazing. So without further ado, let’s bring on the surprising superfoods!
Surprising Superfood No. 1: Stinging Nettles
Better known as a cause of painful childhood mishaps than for any potential health benefits, these common garden weeds are actually a nutritious and tasty vegetable.
The Ancient Greeks used stinging nettles as a diuretic, to help reduce water retention and ease bladder complaints. And until recent times traditional remedies have recommended that women take nettle tea to relieve bloating before the start of their period or during pregnancy.
A word of caution however: some people report finding that nettle tea actually causes water retention, rather than relieving it. Compounds founds in nettle leaves harvested late in the season may harm the kidneys, if taken in excessive quantities.
Whether or not you fancy the thought of sipping a witch’s brew that makes you desperate for the loo, dishes prepared with fresh nettle won’t make you pee.
Cooked nettle has a taste similar to mild spinach and is rich in iron, calcium and vitamin A, which makes it a surprising superfood.
However, unlike spinach it is essential to cook nettles before you eat them! Cooking destroys the tiny stinging hairs, which give stinging nettles their name and reputation.
Tender young nettle leaves make a great substitute for other greens and are absolutely free to forage!
If you live in the UK, the best time to pick nettles is early in the spring beginning in April into mid-May.
By summer the nettles with have become too large and coarse for cooking with, although you may still want to harvest and dry the leaves for use in teas and tisanes.
Surprising Superfood No. 2: Potatoes
The humble potato gets a bit of a bad reputation in these days of low-carb living. But it shouldn’t do! Potatoes are a true low-key, surprising superfood. A nutritional powerhouse packed with potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese, as well as a generous helping of vitamin C and B vitamins.
Potato also helps to create the feelings of satiety and fullness, that clue us as to when we should finish eating at the end of a meal.
Maybe because potatoes are so delicious when they’re cooked with salt, fat and rich sauces, their nutritional potential is overlooked. But potatoes are a very versatile ingredient which can be prepared in a large variety of ways… not just fried, salted and slathered in sauce.
And, if you’ve never heard of potatoes? You’re in for a real treat.
Surprising Superfood Number 3: Oysters
More usually associated with romance and luxury than with health and well-being, oysters are our final surprising superfood.
Their reputation as an aphrodisiac may have to do with their high zinc content. Zinc deficiency can effect testosterone levels, which can be detrimental to male fertility.
As well as zinc, oysters are high in selenium and iron.
They are also a great source of lean protein. Just as importantly, fresh oysters are cheaper than most people think when you buy them to prepare at home. All of which make oysters a surprising superfood from the seaside!
Oysters are best served raw, to preserve their delicate and uniquely maritime flavour. A fresh oyster should smell like clean sea air, or a rocky shore in the moments just after the tide has gone in… not like a fish port in the middle of a heatwave.
The taste and texture of an oyster will vary depending on where the oyster was cultivated. The only accompaniment necessary for a good, fresh oyster is fresh lemon juice or a quick mignonette, to balance the briny saltwater flavor.
Oysters may or may not help you in the bedroom, but they should certainly have a place in your kitchen.