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What are the top super foods to look out for in 2018?

26th March 2018

We've all heard countless stories about superfoods in the media over the past few years, and it seems the list of these magical foods we should be eating grows every week. What are the best superfoods, however, and what is it that makes them so special? While there are numerous foods that have been described as superfoods, this article aims to highlight some of the most beneficial and explains why you should be eating them this year.

Superfoods should be incorporated into your daily meals and snacks for optimum results, and should be treated as a regular part of your diet rather than just eaten occasionally when you're on a health kick. All the superfoods in this article are readily available, easy to cook, and complement a number of popular everyday dishes. There's no reason to change your eating habits in order to incorporate superfoods into your diet - most meals can benefit from the addition of one or two of the superfoods from our list.

Onions

Onions are omnipresent and readily available at every supermarket, greengrocer and corner shop, so it might surprise you to learn that they are classed as a superfood. The humble onion is packed full of nutrients and contains high levels of quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant that can actually help protect and strengthen your body's damaged cells. Onions can also help raise your good cholesterol levels, as well as lower your blood pressure. In addition, they can help thin your blood, reducing your risk of developing blood clots. It's not hard to see why onions are rated so highly by nutrition experts!

Onions are extremely easy to add to your diet. They can be added to pasta sauces, thrown into stir fries, roasted in the oven with root veg or Mediterranean vegetables, or served sliced and raw in salads. They're incredibly versatile and tasty, so it's simple to incorporate them into your daily meals.

Garlic

Most people know garlic is good for them, but they might not realise it's a superfood. Garlic gives a boost to your immune system and promotes the growth of white blood cells. These are your body's natural way of fighting germs, so it's important you give them all the help you can. Garlic can also slow down the growth of "bad" bacteria, as well as fungi and yeast in the body. If you don't have any fresh garlic to hand, or don't often use it so don't like to buy whole bulbs that will only go to waste, you'll be pleased to learn that dried garlic is also effective as a superfood. Garlic can help reduce harmful LDL cholesterol in the body, as well as lower blood pressure, so this is therefore the perfect food for anyone who suffers from high blood pressure.

Garlic can be easily added to many dishes. Add fresh garlic to pasta sauces, or roast it in the oven then spread it on toast or bread. Roasting it takes away its heat and gives it a delicious sweet flavour. You can also add it to stir fries or add it to soups and casseroles for added flavour. Adding roasted garlic to mashed potato is another great way to up your garlic consumption.

Broccoli

Broccoli is great for boosting your levels of vitamin C and magnesium, meaning it is perfect for those who could do with a little help fighting off viruses or infections. While you should eat broccoli regularly, aim for extra portions if you're run down or battling a cold.

Broccoli is versatile and easy to cook. Its mild flavour means it can be added to many dishes and won't overpower the rest of your ingredients. Steam it if you like it to remain crunchy, or boil it for a few minutes if you prefer a softer texture. Stir fried broccoli is particularly tasty, but cut or slice it into thin, small pieces to ensure it cooks. It's also delicious roasted. If you think you aren't a fan of broccoli, try cutting it into florets, drizzling with olive oil and roasting it in the oven until it starts to turn brown. The texture and taste is completely transformed, and it's a great addition to any main course.

Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the most fashionable ingredients of the last few years and its popularity shows no sign of waning in 2017. In fact, it's more widely available than ever and many chain restaurants now feature it prominently on their menus. Quinoa is high in protein and boasts healthy fats, making it a perfect everyday food for all ages. It also contains lysine - an important amino acid - and other nutrients and minerals including folate, zinc, copper, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and potassium. That's quite a list for such a small food!

It's easy to cook, and simply needs boiling. While it doesn't have too much flavour itself, it has a texture not dissimilar to couscous and can have any other flavours added to it. Serve it as a side dish with tasty roasted vegetables mixed into it, add it to soups or salad for an extra protein hit, or make it into a delicious bake by mixing it with your favourite Tex Mex sauce and a tin of Mexican beans, covering in cheese and baking in the oven.

Kale

Another very fashionable food, kale is enjoying a lot of attention at the moment. It looks a little like spinach, but takes more cooking. It is full of essential minerals and vitamins, including vitamins A and C. These two in particular have great anti-aging properties, meaning they can help keep you looking younger for longer. It also contains a nutrient called lutein, which brightens your eyes and boosts your complexion. In short, kale is the superfood to load up on in 2017 if you want to look younger and healthier! In just a single serving of kale, you'll find over half of your recommended daily vitamin C allowance.

Kale is extremely versatile. Boil it, steam it, add it to stir fries, or roast it in the oven if you want it extra crispy and tasty. Add it to a light creamy pasta sauce with a squeeze of lemon juice for a delicious and nutrient rich supper.

Spinach

You might think of spinach as fairly boring and not the most exciting food, but it has properties that propel it up the list of foods you should be eating in 2017 to keep healthy. It contains both antioxidants and phyonutrients, as well as vitamins C, E and K, folate, beta-carotene and iron. Spinach is very versatile and you can buy it fresh or frozen, meaning it's easy to always have some in to add to your meals.

Baby spinach is great in salads, and it has a very mild flavour that won't overpower other ingredients. Spinach takes very little cooking - in fact, it just needs to be wilted with a drop of water for most dishes. Add it to pasta dishes or curries, or use it with feta in pies, tarts or bakes for a Mediterranean taste. Spinach is a breakfast staple and it goes extremely well with poached eggs. Serve it wilted with perfectly poached eggs on a traditional English muffin for a classic breakfast dish.

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