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You have to admit, superfood is a fantastic (and often dubious) description when it comes to labelling an edible foodstuff. Just the word ‘superfood’ conjures images of fruit and veg possessing magical, heroic properties.
It also poses the intriguing question:
As much as I hate being the bearer of bad news, alas not. And as much as ‘superfoods’ might also invoke the prospect of being presented with mysterious and exotic food from distant, outlandish locales, that too couldn’t be further from the truth.
Superfood then, my friends, is just another word for good that’s good for you. The general definition of a superfood is any food that contains a high concentration of nutrients and anti-oxidants.
Remember your mum admonishing you and warning you and saying you wouldn’t grow up big and strong if you left your broccoli? Well, she had a point.
Superfoods can also very easily be grown in your very own back garden. In fact, they’ll grow in practically any location with a growing season of three months or more. Grown from seed, some of them will provide with you with ample sustenance all year round.
Here then, are some of the most common superfoods for your garden, your growing, and your eventual delectation.
Broccoli is probably the best known of all the superfoods. Most commonly grown in gardening plots, a few of its many benefits include being a great source of antioxidants, reducing cholesterol, regulating blood pressure, reducing the likelihood of heart disease. It is very high in Vitamin C and dietary fibre.
A great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folic acid, iron, iodine and antioxidants. Italian flat leaf parsley will grow all year round. If you’re growing it yourself you also need to be patient: it takes about a month to sprout.
Did you know there are over 100 varieties of carrot? Well you do now. The favourite food stuff of Bugs Bunny, carrots are not only good for your sight but also slow down the aging of cells, contain Beta CArotene and Vitamin A which protects the skin, and contains anti-cancer properties. They are loaded with fibre…containing almost no starch.
4) Brussels Sprouts
Destined to forever be those overcooked mini cabbages prodded apathetically around your plate on Christmas day, sprouts are one of the most impressive long season garden superfoods. In addition to loads of Vitamin K, they also contain more glucosinolates that combat cancer and detoxify the system than other vegetable.
They also taste great when they are roasted with bacon…seriously..here’s the recipe
Technically neither a herb or spice but a member of the onion and leek family, garlic is a common, flavoursome addition to many modern dishes. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, is a natural antibiotic, antifungal, antimicrobial, is good at detoxifying the body, and improves cardiovascular health. All that, plus it keeps the vampires at bay.
Popeye loved the stuff, and so should you. It’s an easy plant to grow, providing edible leaves throughout the season as well as providing some of the highest concentrations of Vitamins A, C , E, K, Bs,lutein, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc and folic acid possible.
There’s nothing more appealing than the mouth- watering vision of glistening red, plump and juicy tomato. In fact, these orbs of unctuous juiciness continue to fire heated debate at competitions the world over. They’re jam-juicily-packed with Vitamin C, antioxidant, and light acids that aid digestion.
8) Green Beans
Again, an easy superfood to grow outdoors and indoors, green beans are great for combating kidney stones, arthritis, and are packed with minerals,
One of the most beautiful of all the freshly-grown garden incumbents, cabbages only need to be sprayed with a biological insecticide or covered over to protect them from worms. Superfood health qualities? They reduce cholesterol, provide anti-inflammatory nutrients, can help prevent cancer, are high in Vitamin B for energy and Vitamin C which keeps your skin looking youthful and fresh.
And if growing this bowel-bustingly impressive array of superfoods with all their health benefits wasn’t temptation enough, how about this one - it saves you some hard earned money too.
So the benefits of growing your own superfoods alongside those perennials and shrubs are inescapable and undeniable: they’re good for you, they boost nutrition levels, and the self-sufficient route eliminates any unnecessary spending.
So what are you waiting for? Get growing!
Have you grown your own superfoods? Share your comments below.
Bio: Gavin Harvey is a fitness fanatic who reaps the rewards of growing his own super fruit and vegetables. Writing for online garden centre Coblands, he’s keen to spread the word about nutrition.