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5 simple superfoods that contain many useful components

5 simple superfoods that contain many useful components Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Ukrainian cuisine, as well as some other European countries, can boast simple yet nutritionally robust options that rival the renowned benefits of goji berries or chia seeds, according to the Take Care of Yourself medical community.

Defining superfoods

Olena Livinska, a Ph.D. in biology, highlights that unlike other regulated food categories, the concept of superfoods lacks standardized oversight and is primarily rooted in marketing rather than scientific origins. Nevertheless, this term has firmly established itself as a descriptor for foods rich in nutrients, biologically active, and beneficial to health.

While the term superfood often conjures images of exotic imports like goji berries or chia seeds, Ukrainian and other slavic culinary traditions and indigenous harvests impress with a diverse array of flavors and nutritional richness.

Superfoods common in Ukraine

Buckwheat

Packed with proteins, slow-digesting carbohydrates, fiber, and B vitamins, buckwheat stands out as a balanced dietary choice. Additionally, it is a rich source of minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

Whether enjoyed as a porridge or soup, buckwheat offers a well-rounded intake of valuable components for the body.

Beetroot

Beetroots serve as excellent sources of slow-digesting carbohydrates, fiber, folic acid, and manganese. Furthermore, they contain biologically active compounds, including nitrates that contribute to lower blood pressure, and pigments like betalains with anti-inflammatory properties - a valuable addition to diets for various chronic conditions.

Beetroot-based dishes, such as Ukrainian borshch, salads, and beet kvass, enrich the diet with beneficial nutrients.

Pumpkin

Pumpkins provide ample amounts of vitamin A, along with vitamin C and potassium. Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, unsaturated fatty acids, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. Their versatility allows for a wide range of culinary applications, from soups and salads to baked goods and beverages.

Pumpkins can be stored well into late spring, offering a great and nutritious ingredient for various dishes.

Fermented cabbage (Sauerkraut)

Livinska explains that sauerkraut not only contains substantial amounts of vitamin C and K, like fresh cabbage, but also lactic acid bacteria. During the fermentation process, these bacteria consume sugars present in the cabbage, producing lactic acid. This natural biopreservative inhibits the growth of spoilage microorganisms, ensuring the product's extended shelf life.

Additionally, the fermentation of cabbage results in valuable microbial metabolites, including B-group vitamins and short-chain fatty acids.

Walnuts

Walnuts serve as excellent sources of protein, fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, folic acid, vitamins B1 and B6, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. The abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids makes walnuts a valuable addition to diets aimed at preventing heart diseases. Incorporating walnuts into salads, sauces, desserts, and snacks offers a yummy and healthy treat.