Superfoods, what are they exactly? Well firstly, they don't fly faster than a speeding bullet or have a big S on them. Superfoods are foods with a high concentration of vitamins and minerals that are said to be good for us. Searching for information on superfoods in relation to psoriasis was quite difficult though, as most of the information I found was focused on other conditions.
However, when you read up about foods that promote healthy skin you find that many of these foods are also good for us in other ways. It seems that omega 3 and vitamins C, D, E and K which all promote healthy skin, have also been advocated as having a role in maintenance of a healthy blood pressure and heart. It makes sense to me that all this must be connected, keeping your body healthy must help all round and not just one organ specifically. As I have said many times before, if you stay healthy it is likely that your largest organ, your skin, will react accordingly. I don't know if it is true, it just makes sense to me.
Now back to the foods themselves. Well I could list everything out but we’d be here for a while, so I have concentrated on certain foods and will show you how to buy them and use them in different meals so you don’t get bored of the same recipe. For a reliable source on superfoods, you can always refer to this NHS page.
The foods I have chosen to create recipes for are:
- Kale; High in vitamin K which is often used in many skin care treatments also.
- Broccoli; High in vitamin C & A and easy to include as part of a weekly Sunday roast.
- Beetroot; High in iron and folate with the added benefit of magnesium and other antioxidants.
- Carrots; Rich in vitamin A and antioxidants said to give your skin a healthy glow.
- Avocado; You see this in many skin care products although I found the evidence on how this could promote healthy skin scarce.
- Berries; Strawberries, Blueberries and Blackberries, all high in essential vitamins and blueberries are said to help your brain power. Whether that is true... I forget.
- Dark Chocolate; Yes you read it right. Dark chocolate is thought to reduce inflammation. A delicious treat and potentially good if you have psoriatic arthritis too.
Now, on to the good stuff – The Food. Throughout the following recipes you will find a huge variety of superfoods and other healthy additions, too many to list in this post, so if you want more ideas you can check out this list of 50 superfoods.
Let's start with breakfast
I did something similar for Christmas but I've made it a little healthier this time by leaving out the bacon. Avocado mash is made up of one avocado, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped red chilli, chopped red onion, lemon juice, mint and coriander. You can make this to your taste; mash up the ingredients using as little or as much of what you like the most and serve on toast. It is a great fresh way to start the day. The addition of mint can help your metabolism whilst fresh coriander contains a number of antioxidants to help fight disease and said to help reduce bad cholesterol, so it's double whammy with the avocado. Coriander is also said to reduce blood sugar levels, reduce anxiety and improve sleep. So maybe this could even be a tea-time snack.
Sticking with the idea of something you can do your way; a super vegetable soup is just the ticket. My base soup was carrot, swede, potato and onion. All chopped roughly to make it rustic and no stock needed as I added dried oregano, parsley and coriander. I let this cook for a good couple of hours and it makes its own stock. Just cook off the onions and carrots for a few minutes to start and then add the rest of the veg and top up with water. The starch in the potatoes will thicken it up nicely. To make it a little ‘cheffy’ I chopped fresh coriander and spring onions and put these in the soup bowl before pouring on the steaming hot soup. Just don't forget your seasoning. I always say adding a little salt to fresh food is good, we do need salt in our diet. Also I found that black pepper is also a superfood that can improve digestion and stimulate fat cell breakdown.
The next day, I added sugar snap peas and beetroot to this, but the options are endless. You could spice it up by adding a super spice, turmeric. Just add the turmeric to a pan with a little water to cook it off and add your soup and heat through. Or to get some omega 3 in, just add some flaked salmon. If you like some low fat protein, small shreds of chicken or turkey will also go with this soup.
The one pot super roast (almost)
You can do this in one pan for one person; I made it for two though so it became a two pan roast you make on the hob. Start by halving some new potatoes and using a little rapeseed oil (or another healthy alternative) brown off the potatoes but try not to move them around too much so you get a nice colour, then flip them over when brown on one side. Add chopped onions and let these soften. I then added a gravy using low fat granules and layered purple sprouting broccoli on top. Turn the heat down and cover so the veg steams. Whilst this is on, take two pork loin steaks and brush with oil. Cook in a fairly high sided frying pan and season. Get a nice colour to them and remove from the heat to rest. Whilst the pork is resting add chopped kale to your veg pan. Again, do not stir this in, just lay it on top and let it steam. Give it about 3-5 minutes depending on how soft you want it and then serve everything up. From start to finish this takes about 30 minutes so it can even be a mid-week treat.
It has probably become clear in my posts that I love making my own coleslaw. It is easy, less fattening that most shop bought slaw and so much tastier. Again, it's something you can play with as you don't need to do the same thing twice. For my superfood slaw I used kale, red onion and red cabbage. Cabbage is in the same family as kale and offers many of the same benefits although not as concentrated. Slice the kale leaves and discard the stalks then finely slice. Finley slice the red onion and red cabbage and put everything in a bowl. For a dressing, this time I went for extra virgin olive oil, a dash of cider vinegar, a teaspoon of both Dijon and wholegrain mustard and a little honey. Whisk the dressing by hand to form an emulsion and then pour onto the slaw. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over at the end for an added zing.
Now coleslaw on its own would be a bit boring so I sliced fresh chicken breast and pan fried it with chopped beetroot. The slaw will actually keep for a couple of days and amazingly the chicken and beetroot leftovers were lovely cold the next day too.
Now for the treat
I loved making this dessert, although when I first went shopping I had no idea what to make so I just wandered around and looked for inspiration. Strangely, this idea came from a Muller Corner and the fact that I spotted one of my favourite fruits, Sicilian blood oranges, on the shelf. So I ended up with a blood orange yoghurt with mixed berries and dark chocolate. It is so easy to make. Take a 500ml pot of fat free Greek style yoghurt and add the juice and grated zest of one blood orange and icing sugar to taste. Whisk it up and put in the fridge where it will thicken up a little.
In a bowl, add a mix of berries – any that you like will be fine. I hulled and quartered strawberries and added blueberries and blackcurrants. Then spoon over the yoghurt. It's good for a snack just as it is. If you want to dress it up a little you can add some pomegranate seeds and shaved dark chocolate on top. Who says healthy can't be a treat.
I hope this gives you inspiration to get out there and cook your own superfoods.
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-07632. Date of preparation: February 2017