There is no need to travel far for exotic fruit or venture into dense forests for rare berries – superfoods can also be found in your home kitchen. Discover some of the superfoods that are commonly used in the Israeli kitchen.
Every day a new superfood is introduced into our lives and the Internet is bustling with endless articles and studies on the food of the hour that is claimed to possess the perfect nutritional composition. Sure, we would all be thrilled to find a magical food that ensures us immortality, perfect abs or wrinkle-free skin, however reality is slightly different.
What is a superfood?
Suoerfood is a non-scientific term that is used to describe foods with a nutritional content that is beneficial to our health. These foods are believed to be particularly high in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.
Before you rush to buy an exotic superfood, bear in mind that although certain foods have been labeled as superfoods, they do not necessarily contain important nutrients that are not available in foods that are familiar, locally available and not less important – tasty.
Our household superfoods
Legumes: offer an abundance of nutritional benefits – they contain protein of vegetable origin, complex carbohydrates and dietary fibers and are even low in fat. They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as: calcium, iron, magnesium ans potassium. Despite their superb nutritional composition, many still refrain from incorporating them into their daily diet for various reasons, such as digestive gases.
The fact is that our body adapts to the digestion of legumes, so that the gradual introduction of legumes into the family diet significantly minimizes the occurrence of gas. Soaking the legumes in water and/or sprouting them also does the trick.
In view of the plentiful nutritional benefits of legumes and in order to encourage their consumption as part of the daily diet, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has declared 2016 as the year of legumes.
Common varieties of legumes: chickpeas, soy beans, mung beans, lupin beans, red lentils, green lentils, black lentils and more. Naturally, chickpeas play a big part in the Israeli diet and are found in almost every home in Israel.
Nuts and seeds: although these foods have a relatively high fat content, they are a good source of recommended and healthy fats. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium and iron and some even contain omega 3 and antioxidants.
Common varieties of nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecan, hazelnuts, macadamia, Brazil nuts and more.
Common varieties of seeds: sesame, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and more.
In this case, too, Israeli kitchen excels, and raw tahini (which is made of sesame seeds) is an essential ingredient for most of us. In addition to its great taste and popularity with kids and adults alike, it is a good nutritional source of healthy fats, calcium, iron, zinc and antioxidants. These ingredients are beneficial to our health and their consumption promotes good eating habits.
How to enjoy all this goodness on a daily basis
The contribution of these foods to a healthy, rich and well-balanced diet is not surpassed by that of any other superfood. Legumes and seeds are available in a wide range of dishes, allowing the entire family to enjoy the nutritional benefits. For example: Mujaddara (rice and brown lentils), ground flaxseed in yogurt, a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts in a salad, raw tahini as a spread, Edamame as a light meal, a date and almond snack and more.
Prepared foods are also readily available as a great option for incorporation legumes and seeds into our diet, such as hummus spreads with a high content of raw tahini, as a convenient way for the entire family to enjoy the nutritional benefits of a superfood.