Dave Shaw 's Opinion

NZ dietitian, performance nutritionist and health expert. Dave does his best to make sense of what we eat.

Dave Shaw: 11 foods to supercharge your diet

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Check out our list of super foods to boost your green smoothie. Photo / Thinkstock
Check out our list of super foods to boost your green smoothie. Photo / Thinkstock

Getting the most out of what we eat allows us to get the most out of everyday.

One of the best things we can do for optimal health is "supercharge" our diets, a term coined by Mission Nutrition. This means including foods that help provide the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate, fat and essential micronutrients for every meal and snack.

Supercharging your diet doesn't necessarily mean eating "superfoods", after all, these trending goods aren't always what they're cracked up to be.

Try some of the following foods to create powerful new combinations.

Ground LSA
A formulation of ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds, that often sits silently on the shelf.

Its humble possession of heart healthy omega-3 fats, fibre and protein, makes this a perfect nutty-sweet addition to your breakfast yoghurt and fruit or smoothie. It can be a little expensive, but you only need to add a teaspoon to reap the benefits.

Probiotic yoghurt
Not all yoghurts are made the same and not all probiotics are bred the same. But growing evidence backs the benefits of probiotics - small bacteria cultures thought to improve the health of our gut. When combined with wholesome yoghurt, you're getting a lot more nutrition than you bargained for. I'd recommend Bliss or Symbio.

Coconut flour
Health nuts have gone coconut crazy, but coconut flour does have some benefits over conventional flour. It's gluten free and a whopping 40 per cent fibre, although can be a bit pricey. Use it as a flour substitute in any recipe like baking and shakes.


Photo / Thinkstock

Extra virgin olive oil
Despite the controversy about saturated fat, we all agree monounsaturated fats are good for us. Olive oil is an excellent source and the perfect addition to salads and vegetable dishes. Be careful of the cheaper varieties as these can be diluted with cheaper oils. Your best bet is to choose an extra virgin olive oil from a reputable manufacturer.

Five bean mix
Do you remember the schoolyard rhyme? "Beans, beans they're good for your heart, the more you eat the more you toot? ...." Nostalgic wisdom that still holds true. They're packed full of fibre, protein and quality carbohydrate. Try adding them to salads and meat dishes.

Ancient grains
If you're bored of adding rice, pasta or potatoes to bulk up your meal and fill your belly try replacing them with ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth. They're high in protein and possess a surplus of micronutrients, boosting them up the grain hierarchy of healthfulness. Unfortunately, like most alternative foods, they tend to be on the expensive side. As a cheaper choice, you could try brown rice.

Fish oils
If you don't regularly eat fish (say once a week), especially fatty fish like salmon, then fish oil supplements can help provide a potent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Be careful though, the DHA and EPA levels (the most important omega-3s) vary from product to product. Always buy from a reputable manufacturer.


Photo / Thinkstock

Eggs
If you want to experiment, there really is no more versatile food packed full of protein and fat-soluble vitamins. Eat eggs on their own or use them to go crazy in the kitchen with thing likes quiche, fritters, frittatas, egg and avo on toast, egg fried rice, egg salad ... the options are endless.

Protein powder
Most of us get enough protein through our diets, so supplements aren't necessary. However, our busy lifestyles can often restrict our access to healthy protein sources, making supplements convenient option. There are many out there, but if you like to take on a wholefood approach, these can be good options - 180 Nutrition, Nuzest and Red8.

Walnuts, macadamias and Brazil nuts
Nuts are nutrient packed - full of healthy fats, fibre, protein and a bundle of micronutrients. You don't need to eat loads, just a handful a day is enough to supercharge your diet. It can be a good idea to buy a mixed bag so you get the most from all the nut varieties - try Mother Earth or Nice&Natural.


Photo / Thinkstock

Water
It doesn't have any protein, fat or carbohydrate so you may be wondering what water is doing in this list? Bottom line, if we don't stay hydrated, we can't make the most out of anything we eat. Water is your best choice, so keep a bottle close at hand whenever you can.

Dave Shaw

NZ dietitian, performance nutritionist and health expert. Dave does his best to make sense of what we eat.

Dave works in public health and alongside some of New Zealand’s top athletes. Whether it's for vitality, performance, identity or spirituality, Dave loves the way food brings people together. He believes that no one diet is the cure for our growing rates of chronic disease, but a diet based on wholefoods is the perfect start. Always keeping up-to-date with current evidence and food trends, Dave is a relentless researcher for how we should eat and likes to challenge what we may think about nutrition.

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