How to eat healthily the whole year round
Want to take seasonal eating to the next level? Health and lifestyle coach Safia Morsly-Fikai explains how. Sam Wylie-Harris reports
Summer is the ideal time to 'eat the rainbow' and pack your plate with colourful, nutrition-packed ingredients, from seasonal fruit and berries to home-grown salad and vegetables. Nature serves up 'superfoods' all year round, however; it's just a question of getting familiar with each season's finest.
But, with our unpredictable climate, what should we be eating when the weather changes, so we're in good health 24/7?
"While it's important that we include superfoods in our diets all year round for their nutritional value, at certain points in the year our bodies naturally lack certain nutrients more than others due to seasonal changes," says Safia Morsly-Fikai, health and lifestyle coach for Nurture You (www.trynurtureyou.com).
Here, she shares her tips on how to introduce healthy foods to suit the seasons.
Bee pollen: An extraordinary superfood, it acts as a great source of protein and contains more amino acids than beef. In appearance, it comes as a little orange ball made by honeybees and takes them about eight hours a day for one month to make a teaspoon dose, and each pellet contains more than two million flower pollen grains. Pick the organic version to avoid pesticides. It's also a great ingredient to include in smoothies for an extra boost.
Cordycep mushroom: Used by professional endurance athletes, cordycep streamlines your body's energy use by increasing blood flow to your liver and other organs, improving overall oxygen use. Additionally, cordyceps is thought to minimise fatigue and maximise stamina. Dried cordyceps can be added to soups or tea.
Raspberries and mint: Raspberries are an antioxidant powerhouse. They have a low glycaemic index (low in sugar). For a refreshing flavour, add a dash of mint. It may not sound like anything new, but mint can be used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach aches, chest pains and even IBS. It can also be used as an essential oil for headaches or nausea during the summer heat.
Swiss chard: A leafy green Mediterranean vegetable, it tastes a bit sweet and is very easy to include in your diet. Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, it has anti-inflammatory properties. It's also an excellent source of vitamins C, E, A, manganese and zinc.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a root that doesn't look too dissimilar to its cousin, ginger root and contains chemicals that both prevent inflammation, and fight it once inflammation takes hold.
Holy basil: A plant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems) for thousands of years and it's now making its way into the world of superfoods. It helps the body counteract the effects of stress, resist fatigue and exhaustion by supporting the adrenal glands and the immune system, helping to eliminate toxicity. It also contains many anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and can be mixed with green tea for extra flavour.
Reishi mushrooms: Highly regarded in Chinese medicine, they're said to nourish and support adrenal function. Best known for promoting health immunity, resistance to colds and infections, and reducing inflammation, it also helps support the body's natural abilities to detoxify. Can also calm the nervous system and promotes deeper, more relaxing and restorative sleep.
Wheat grass: During winter (aka the cold and flu season), it's important to keep a strong and balanced immune system. Wheat grass, an amazing nutrient-dense superfood, helps detox and reduce inflammation, whilst offloading toxins - helping to avoid infections. It also acts as a great source of vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. The benefits help increase energy, improve blood sugar levels and detox the liver, whilst even helping to calm eczema, psoriasis and sores.