Eat well, feel well!

Lynda McFarland from Athlone Nutrition Clinic offers quick and easy recipes and advice to incorporate into your daily regime to help you feel and look great

Native Irish super-foods

Usually when we hear the term “super-food”, we think of foods imported from South America or Asia but there are an abundance of highly nutritious foods growing in or produced in this country.

In his 1939 book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, dentist and nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price wrote of his belief that physical degeneration occurred when people moved away from their native diets and necessary fats. He travelled the world visiting cultures as diverse as the Masai and Jalou tribes of Kenya, the Maori of New Zealand, the Aborigines of Australia, the Andes Indians and Jungle Indians of Peru, the Eskimos of Alaska, and the inhabitants of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and the Gaeltacht in the West of Ireland, among many others. He found that modern conditions and illnesses such as headaches, fatigue, allergies, heart disease, and cancer did not feature in those cultures adhering to their native indigenous diet, but once a typical Western diet of processed foods was adopted, even within a single generation, these same cultures started to experience all of the above.

Two weeks ago I gave some recipes which made good use of all the lovely Irish apples available to us at the moment, so this week I am going to follow up with some additional ‘Irish super-foods’.

Fish: living on an island surrounded by water, our ancestors would have eaten a lot more fish than we are currently consuming. Fish, particularly oily fish such as mackerel, is a nutrient dense food rich in essential fatty acids necessary for proper brain and nerve function.

Seaweed: rich in iodine, seaweed rarely makes an appearance on today’s plates which is unfortunate because iodine deficiency is on the rise and can contribute to poor detoxification, digestive problems and hypothyroidism. Quality Sea Veg from Donegal have a lovely range of dried seaweed foods in health stores.

Honey: local honey is invaluable in terms of its nutrient content and immune boosting benefits. View as a medicinal food and source a high quality version from a local bee-keeper. High in B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Try Meadowsweet Apiaries in Ballinahown.

Blackberries: growing in hedgerows at the moment – get out foraging for all that quality vitamin C along with their antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.

Nettles: another food for free – nettles really should not be ignored; add to soups or make nettle tea to avail of their high iron, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C content. A great food for stamina and boosting energy levels. Pick the young leaves at the top.

Lynda will be giving a cookery demo on Native Irish Super-Foods at the Rude Health show in the RDS this weekend. See www.rudehealth.ie

Lynda McFarland @ Athlone Nutrition Clinic specialises in balancing blood sugar levels to naturally achieve weight loss; digestive issues; mental health/behavioural issues; cardiovascular health and hormonal issues. See www.athlonenutritionclinic.com or phone (090 ) 6470897/ (087 ) 7927471.

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