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The REAL superfoods

Do not believe the hype – when it comes to our food, the simplest and cheapest ingredients, in their natural state, are all you need. Just go with your gut, argues our Nutrition Editor, Eve Kalinik

Food is there to be celebrated. We have access to a variety of produce in its most natural state, and with this gift comes a huge and health-giving host of nutritional benefits. The traditional farming calendar, which includes celebrations around the spring equinox and harvest festivals, champions the humble fruit, veg and grain. We’ve always eaten what the earth gives us – in season, local and fresh. What our ancestors couldn’t eat, they pickled, but it was about cooking from scratch with wholesome ingredients and very little processing.

Fast-forward to the modern day and we have created a world that revolves around convenience-based meals and having any food available at any time. Eating a mango in winter, or being able to ‘cook’ a meal in the microwave in five minutes, are the norm. Ready meals, pre-packaged, pre-chopped and pre-washed fruit and veg have brought us to a point where we barely recognise the food we eat. Rather than thinking about the foods themselves and where they come from, there has been an overwhelming trend towards self-diagnosed food intolerances and sensitivities. Food intolerances are omnipresent these days and, in some cases, legitimate. But, often, it’s a case of misguided blaming, vilifying and eliminating foods haphazardly in an attempt to feel healthier and improve digestion. The ‘free from’ aisle is bursting at the seams but, with that eschewing of entire food groups, might we be missing out on a whole heap of nutrition by turning our noses up at some of the most basic foods in the neighbouring aisles? Take sourdough bread and unpasteurised cheese, or the humble spud, for example. More to the point, might these ‘free from’ alternatives harbour ingredients that are less healthy than their all-inclusive and usually more affordable originals?

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Psychologies January 2017 - How To Be Charming