Image: 123rf / Marilyn Barbone

A superfood may be defined as food that is considered especially nutritious or otherwise good for your health. You may think of superfoods as something from expensive, organic specialty stores, but this isn’t always the case.

Take duck, for example. According to celebrity nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan, as quoted by Lifehacker Australia, duck contains 80 per cent more iron and 65 per cent more zinc than chicken. Even though duck breast is fatty, most of the fat is under the skin – which you don’t have to eat – and even if you do eat it, half of it is monosaturated fat, the healthier kind.

Another common superfood are cashew nuts, common in Thai cuisine. They are rich in magnesium and monosaturated fat, and may reduce the risk of heart disease, Dr McMillan says. Unless you are allergic, she highly recommends working nuts into your daily diet.

Not all superfoods are exotic, uncommon eats from far-off countries. Most can be found at supermarkets, and some, like duck and bok choy, may even be served at hawker centres in Singapore. Of course, be sure to watch out for the rest of your diet as well – steer clear of the usual suspects like deep fried food and sugary treats, or all the superfoods you eat won’t make any difference.

1. Lentils

Lentils are rich in protein and one of the best sources of plant iron. They also contain low-glycemic carbs, which don’t give you that sleepy effect after you eat them. Lentils can be cooked in soups and salads, and are found in Indian cuisine.

2. Duck

Duck contains 80 per cent more iron and 65 per cent more zinc than chicken. Most of the fat in duck is found under the skin, which you don’t have to eat. Instead of the usual duck rice or dock noodles, try a different option, like Vietnamese duck rolls.

3. Bok Choy

These veggies are rich in antioxidants, calcium, and B-group vitamins. Bok Choy provides many of the same benefits as cabbage. Besides Chinese soups and stir-fries, bok choy can also be found in Vietnamese pho.

4. Cashew

Cashews contain more iron and zinc than other nuts and are rich in magnesium and monosaturated fats. Cashews are common in Thai cuisine, or they can be eaten on their own.

5. Spices

Spices like cinnamon and turmeric are rich in antioxidants and may also have antibacterial properties. Look for spices like cumin, coriander, chili, cinnamon, turmeric and garlic, common in curries.

6. Parsley

Parsley is packed with vitamins C and K, and also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for your eyes. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes like tabouli contain liberal amounts of parsley, so if you can’t find it at the supermarket, you can eat it in these food.

7. Rocket

Also spelled roquette and alternatively known as arugula. Rocket also contains high levels of vitamins C and K, antioxidants, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Rocket is a regular fixture in salads, pizzas and pastas.

8. Tomato

The humble tomato contains high levels of antioxitants that may reduce cancer cell growth and may prevent prostate cancer in men. Pureed or concentrated tomato is even better, such as when it is in a sauce. However, ketchup is unlikely to have the same effects.

9. Octopus

Octopus has hardly any fat and a similar amount of protein when compared to an equivalent amount of steak. It is rich in vitamins B6 and B12, and is also a good source of omega-3 fats. Octopus salad, or octopus pasta with tomato puree, are good options to cook this seafood.

10. Salmon

The poster child of omega-3, salmon is one of the best sources of the fatty acid needed for heart and brain health. Salmon can be cooked in green curry, baked, grilled, or even eaten raw as sashimi.


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