If there’s anyone we trust to give us tips on a healthy diet it’s Natasha Corrett. We’ve been pouring over every last word of her blog and cooking our way through her Honestly Healthy cookbooks, so who better to ask what we should be eating to give our diet a serious boost? We sat down to chat to Natasha over a chia seed cupcake and nabbed some tips on the best superfoods and how to use them.
The bug buster - Acai
Acai is the berry you need on your radar to boost your immune system as it is packed with a potent hit of vitamin A to keep niggly colds at bay. “I like using acai powder in salad dressings for a delicious fruity kick,” says Natasha, “It’s full of antioxidants, fibre and minerals such as calcium and iron.”
The mood enhancer - Raw cacoa
As a self-confessed chocoholic, Natasha cites cacoa as her favourite superfood: “I love the taste of chocolate so I use cacoa in baking to get my fix.” Cacao is the raw from of the cacao bean whereas the roasted and processed form is called cocao. Cacao is a rich source of resveratrol, the antioxidant that’s also found in red wine. It also boosts the brain’s levels of endorphins and serotonin, which both help to pep up your mood.
The skin saviour - Spirulina
The queen of the superfoods, spirulina is one of the best plant-based protein sources out there so it’s a great way for vegetarians to up their intake. Spirulina is also your skin’s new BFF as it’s great for drawing out toxins and giving you that covetable glow.
The sugar substitute - Lucuma
Addicted to sugar? Try lucuma. It comes from a yellow fruit that has a sweet, caramel flavour (yum) and in its powder form is a brilliant natural sweetener that is packed with nutrients. It’s a powerhouse of minerals like potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure) and zinc (great for maintaining healthy hair and nails). “When I’m craving something sweet I add lucuma to my afternoon smoothie,” says Natasha who also likes to bake cookies and cakes with it.
The brain booster - Chia
If you can’t face fish oils, chia is a fantastic source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for healthy nerve function. We were lucky enough to sample some of Natasha’s freshly baked chia and flax carrot muffins (scroll down for the recipe) which taste like an indulgent treat but are actually vegan, gluten, wheat, dairy and refined sugar free. Cupcakes that are good for you? Yes please.
If you find the idea of pills hard to swallow and don't spend half your life in Whole Foods you can incorporate all of these superfoods into your diet using powders. We love Bioglan’s range (from £6.99, hollandandbarrett.com). The acai powder works wonders for packing nutrients into a smoothie, while the cacoa powder is our new secret weapon for healthy, sugar-free baking.
Natasha Corrett's Chia + Flax Carrot Muffins Recipe
2tbsp ground flax & chia seed
6 tbsp water
100ml coconut blossom syrup or agave
60ml melted coconut oil
125ml tinned coconut milk
80g apple purée 80g
70g coconut cram (the cream off the top of the tin)
1tsp vanilla essence
Zest of 1 lemon
175 grated carrot
140g gluten free flour (doves or bobs mill are good brands)
100g almond flour
1/2tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
70g chopped dates
50g chopped pecans
Butter cream icing:
100g coconut yogurt or milk
150g vegan butter
4 tsp powdered sugar
½ vanilla pod or ¼ tsp essence
Pre-heat your oven to 175°C
Line your muffin tray with cases
Grind up the chia and flax mix in a spice grinder or blender.
Weigh out your gluten free flour, almond flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and xantham gum into one bowl and mix together.
In a seperate bowl add your ground chia seed to the water, mix and leave to soak for 1 to 2 minutes until it becomes a thick gloopy texture. Mix in the coconut blossom syrup (or agave), coconut milk and apple purée until smooth. Then add the coconut oil. Once mixed stir in the lemon zest and grated carrot.
Slowly stir in the dry ingredients to your wet until completely incorporated then mix in the chopped dates and walnuts.
Spoon the mixture into the 12 muffin cases.
Then put into the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until they become a dark brown colour. Leave to cool.
Blend together the icing mixture until it is a creamy texture and smear over the top of each muffin. Sprinkle dried fruit, sesame seeds or chopped nuts over the top.