Introduction to Superfoods: Part II

October 19th, 2017 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

By: Juliette — Intern at Siam Organic

This is a continuation of my previous post on the different types of superfoods used in Jasberry superfood pasta. In the last post, I covered Jasberry rice, goji berries, tumeric, acai berry, and spirulina. This post includes the remaining four superfoods in Jasberry pasta: moringa, matcha green tea, chia seeds, and quinoa.

Moringa

Moringa leaves and pods are mostly eaten is India and Africa. Moringa is very high in antioxidants, with an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of 11,900 µmol per 100g. It also contains nutrients that include protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron. Moringa also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which means it can fight against the many chronic diseases caused by inflammation. Research has also proven that Moringa lowers cholesterol levels in the blood, which as a result lowers the risk of heart disease.

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown green tea leave. It contains antioxidants and has an ORAC level of 1,253 µmol per 100g. Matcha also has high levels of an amino acid called L-theanine, which is higher in matcha than in other types of green tea. Research has indicated that L-theanine may contribute to an increase in alpha waves in the brain, which cause the brain to relax and to reduce incoming stress signals. Matcha is even good for one’s mood — L-theanine has been shown to increase the feel-good chemicals in your body. Finally, matcha has also been linked to improving memory and concentration, and may improve brain function while reducing age-related cognitive decline.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are natively grown in South America. Many years ago, the Aztecs and Mayans ate these seeds since they provide sustained energy over long periods of time. “Chia” in the Mayan language actually means “strength”. Chia seeds have the ability to absorb a lot of water, which makes your belly feel full, and the high soluble fiber content of chia also slows the absorption of food. The small size of the seeds shouldn’t fool you in regards to nutrients, because they are packed with it. In fact, they are considered to be one of the most nutritious foods in the world, full of fibre, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients.

Like in all the other superfoods, chia seeds are also high in antioxidants. They contain 9,800 ORAC units, and this high level helps to protect the fats in the seeds from spoiling.

28 grams of chia seeds (1 serving) contains 137 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrate. From those 12 grams of carbohydrate, 11 grams are fibre. Since fibre does not raise your blood sugar and does not require insulin to be disposed of, chia isn’t like many other types of carbohydrate — the 1 gram that is left is the only true carb within chia seeds. This is very low and makes chia a low-carb friendly food. In addition to this, fiber is also an important component of maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Also, chia seed is packed with an incredible 14 % of protein .

Chia has also been shown to provide health benefits among diabetic people. In a research with 20 diabetic patients, one group was given 27 grams of chia seeds for 12 weeks, and the other group received 37 grams of wheat bran for the same time period. In the group that got the chia seeds, blood pressure went down and inflammatory markers also went down by 40%.

Quinoa

Quinoa was first eaten by the Incas and was considered the most important grain they had at the time. Quinoa is technically a seed, but is mostly treated as a pseudo-grain, as one prepares and eats quinoa like most other types of grain.

Quinoa contains high levels of two flavonoid molecules (plant antioxidants), quercetin and kaempferol. These molecules have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant in several studies.

Furthermore, quinoa is extremely nutritious for a gluten-free food. Research indicates that replacing typical gluten-free ingredients like tapioca, potato, corn and rice flour with quinoa drastically improves the nutritional content of a diet with a high level of vitamins, minerals, and protein. In fact, quinoa is one of the few plant foods that is a “complete” protein, containing all essential amino acids.

Quinoa also has a very low glycaemic index, which is the measurement of how quickly foods increase your blood sugar levels. The glycaemic index of quinoa is 53, which puts it in the lowest category. Foods that are low on the glycemic index help improve metabolic health by reducing blood sugar levels, regulating insulin levels, and lowering triglycerides.

Finally, quinoa, just like all the other superfoods, is high in antioxidants and has an ORAC level of 3,200.

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