by Stephen Kelly
Imagine you’re stranded on a desert island that just might be a portal to another dimension. You’d probably hope to stumble upon fresh native foods that are not only nutritious and versatile, but free of chemicals and pesticides. You would need healthy foods for strength in case of attacks by a mutant cult living on the other side of the island.
The good news is that such superfoods are easy to find, and we’ve made a list of what we consider the top five. Wholesome and packed with enough antioxidants for ten people, these foods represent nature’s medicine cabinet: they’re good for what ails you.
Moreover, they’re also delicious and could easily become a staple of your diet. This list of foods were judged by:
- Taste, fragrance, aesthetic appeal
- Ease of availability
- Nutritional richness
- High antioxidant levels
- Packs multiple health benefits
- Decreases risk of diseases
Obviously, the last two criteria were of upmost importance, but availability became the greater determining factor. What’s the sense in recommending a hip new superfood when you have to go to the Himalayas to get it? Rather, items here can be found at most supermarkets, health food stores, farmer’s markets and on line.
Quinoa: If whole grains are the “Justice League” of foods, then the mighty quinoa is undoubtedly Superman. Quinoa is considered a ‘complete’ food because it contains enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and a whopping 9 amino acids. A half cup of quinoa has 5 grams of complete protein, more than any other grain. And if that weren’t enough, quinoa may also help with heart and cardiovascular health, is thought to curb migraines, and may help prevent breast cancer, diabetes, cataracts and atherosclerosis.
Green Tea: The powerful health benefits of green tea have been known for centuries. Green tea is a leading fighter in the battle against a laundry list of ailments, including cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, infections and high cholesterol levels; it may also help rebuild impaired immune systems, prevent tooth decay and increase metabolic rates. While recommended daily intake differ, it’s generally agreed that four to five cups a day is needed to take full advantage of green tea’s many powers.
Barramundi: Barramundi is an aboriginal word that means ‘river fish with large scales,’ and that’s exactly what they are. A staple in its native Australia, barramundi is naturally high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. But unlike other large, bony fish like salmon or tuna, barramundi feeds mainly on plankton, and so is almost completely free of mercury and other contaminants. Barramundi also contains qualities that are thought to prevent asthma, atherosclerosis, arthritis, heart disease and skin conditions. Light with a moist texture and mild, buttery flavor, barramundi is a versatile cooking fish that’s great pan-fried, grilled, steamed or broiled.
Apples: It seems that an apple a day really will keep the doctor away. Loaded with Vitamins A, B, C and high amounts of fiber, apples are a rich source of the powerful antioxidants flavonoid and polyphenols, which may help prevent asthma, cancers of the lung, breast, colon and liver, and Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart diseases. Apples are also thought to help regulate bad cholesterol, diabetes and weight management and may protect bone health. A major part of an apple’s health benefits come from eating the skin, but make sure you wash it first.
Flaxseed: Like green tea, the enormous health benefits of flaxseed have been known for thousands of years. But its reputation as a superfood is still well deserved, as flaxseed contains 27 identifiable cancer preventive compounds. High in fiber and Omega-3 amino acids, flaxseed is also thought to protect against cancers, particularly breast and prostate. It may also lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, enhance the immune system, regulate blood sugar levels, help with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and increase calmness under stress. It also acts as a natural laxative, something that could come in handy the longer you spend on that island.
While these foods rank high on our list of superfoods, other fare like asparagus, garlic, mangosteen, lentils, nuts, oatmeal and tofu also pack a mighty nutritional punch. So whether you’re lost on a weird island or just living a normal life, adding a few of these to your regular diet will give you the healthy edge.