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Everything You Need To Know About Chia Seeds

You may have seen them on Instagram, noticed them in your local supermarket, or read about them in a health-food magazine, but chia seeds are not a new superfood and have a rich history dating back as far as 3500 BC. 

chia seed

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are the teeny-tiny black-brown seeds of a desert plant whose scientific name is Salvia hispanica, or more commonly just chia. Salvia hispanica is a member of the mint family, but it is not grown for its leaves and instead is cultivated for its nutritious seeds. 


Once mature, chia plants can grow up to 5ft 9 inches tall, with each of their long stems bearing thick green leaves and producing blue, tube-shaped flowers in the spring. During the flowering season, chia plants are an essential food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies and encourage a wide range of important insects to visit their scented blue flowers. Once the flowering season is over, the chia plant loses its flowers and focuses its energy on producing tiny seed pods, each housing several chia seeds. 

Where Do Chia Plants Grow?

Chia plants are native to Mexico and Guatemala and thrive in hot, dry climates. Although Mexico and Guatemala are still key chia-producing countries, the seeds are now cultivated in Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Northwestern Argentina, and the southwestern United States, with more countries taking up chia production as demand increases. Originally, chia plants were only able to be cultivated in hot desert-like climates; however, this is starting to change as new cultivars of Salvia hispanica emerge. These cultivars can tolerate cooler temperatures and will produce flowers and seeds in less than ideal conditions. 

How Are Chia Seeds Grown And Harvested? 

Chia plants still grow wild across many regions of Mexico and Guatemala but are now more intensely cultivated for their precious seeds. Chia farms often look a little like cornfields, with the chia plants planted in uniform rows to allow for easy movement between the crop. Chia plants are annuals, and once sewn will go from sprout to flowering plant in 100 and 180 days. After the flowering season is over, it takes just a few weeks for the chia plant to make its seed heads; which then dry in the summer sun before being harvested. 


In days gone by, chia seeds were harvested by hand, but today, this job is made easier thanks to machinery. A commercial chia field can produce anywhere between 1000 lb and 2,100 lb of chia seeds per acre, depending on growing conditions, and so the use of machinery has dramatically sped up the harvesting process. Once the chia seeds are ready to harvest, special machines run along the chia plant rows, gently removing the plant’s seed heads so they can be taken for processing. At the chia processing plant, the chia seeds are passed through various sieves to remove their seed pod and clean them of dust, dirt, and other foreign contaminants like rocks and bugs. 

 

White Chia Seeds Black Chia Seeds

 

Is There A Difference Between Black and White Chia Seeds?

The vast majority of chia seeds that are grown, harvested, and sold are black-brown, but you may have also come across white chia seeds. White chia seeds are often sold at a premium price which has led many consumers to believe that they are superior to ordinary black chia seeds. Unfortunately, this isn’t true, and white chia seeds are actually identical to black chia seeds in virtually every way apart from their colour. The strange white coloration of white chia seeds can be easily explained by genetics. White chia seeds are produced by chia plants with white rather than blue flowers. These plants display a recessive gene for white coloration. Because the white colour gene is recessive, it is often suppressed by the dominant blue colour gene and so is much rarer to find. 

Are White Chia Seeds More Nutritious?

Some online retailers claim that white chia seeds are more nutritious than black chia seeds, but this simply isn’t the case. Analysis of both white and black chia seeds has found their nutritional composition to be almost identical, with only very marginal differences between the two. These differences are so slight that they could be caused by growing conditions or other growth factors rather than the colour of the seed. 

Do White Chia Seeds Taste Different? 

Chia seeds have minimal flavour as it is, and white chia seeds are no different. Both black and white chia seeds have a very mild taste, and most people cannot discern between them. 

So Why Do People Buy White Chia Seeds?

If white chia seeds are nutritionally the same and taste the same as black chia seeds, then why do people pay more money for them? The answer is simply down to preference and aesthetics. Some people simply prefer the look of white chia seeds over black chia seeds, especially if they are trying to create a vibrant coloured chia pudding or wish to hide the chia seeds in baking or cooking. 


How Good Are Chia Seeds Good For You? 

Whether you choose to buy white or black chia seeds, one thing is for sure - you’re eating a highly nutritious seed that is exceptionally good for you. Here are just eight of the health benefits associated with eating chia seeds. 

8 Health Benefits Of Eating Chia Seeds


Chia Seeds Are A Rich Source Of Antioxidants 

Antioxidants are molecules that fight harmful free radicals in the body. If left to their own devices, free radicals can cause cells to mutate, leading to cancer. Antioxidant-rich foods, like chia seeds, have been proven to reduce the impact of free radicals on the body, slowing down signs of aging and reducing a person’s risk of developing cancer. Chia seeds contain two essential antioxidants, kaempferol, and quercetin, both of which have been proven to possess anticancer properties and display heart-protective effects.


Chia Seeds Are Filled With Fiber

Fiber is often overlooked but is essential for good gut health and a diverse microbiome. Recent studies have begun to highlight the importance of the gut to overall health, meaning that fiber-rich foods, like chia seeds, are coming into the limelight. Just a one-ounce serving (28g) of chia seeds contains a massive 11g of fiber, meaning that they are 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the world’s best fiber sources. 


Chia Seeds Can Help You Lose Weight

Although chia seeds may not be a miracle weight-loss food, their nutritional composition makes them a beneficial food to consume if you are trying to lose weight. Packed with protein and boasting an impressive amount of fiber, just a small amount of chia seeds can help you feel full longer, reducing your hunger drive and overall calorie intake. 


Chia Seeds Contain A Lot Of Calcium 

Believe it or not, chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of calcium. A one-ounce serving provides 18% of the RDA for calcium, gram for gram, making chia seeds a better calcium source than most dairy products! If you’re dairy-free or vegan, then chia seeds are a great way to ensure your bones have the calcium they need. 


Chia Seeds Can Help To Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

If you have diabetes, then chia seeds are a fantastic food to eat because they effectively improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. The high-fiber content of chia seeds means that they are absorbed slowly by the gut, preventing a sugar-spike. 


Chia Seeds Can Reduce A Person’s Risk Of Heart Disease

Like other nuts and seeds, chia seeds are a heart-healthy food and are packed with beneficial fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds are so good for your heart that they can actually help to lower the blood pressure of individuals with hypertension, ultimately reducing their risk of heart disease. 


Chia Seeds Are High In Omega-3

When it comes to healthy fats, omega-3 is the one you want. Gram for gram, chia seeds are higher in omega-3 than salmon and are a brilliant omega-3 supplement for people on a plant-based diet. 


Chia Seeds A Packed With Plant-Based Protein 

Finally, we couldn’t forget to mention that chia seeds are an excellent protein source. Roughly 14% of a serving of chia seeds is made up of protein, which is very high for a plant-based protein source. For this reason, chia seeds are an easy way to pack extra protein into your diet and can be added to smoothies, cakes, and protein bars to increase their protein content. 




Can Chia Seeds Help You To Lose Weight? 

Although chia seeds provide dozens of health benefits, many people focus on their ability to help with weight loss. More than 1.9 billion people are overweight globally, so, unsurprisingly, the media tends to focus a lot on weight-loss-friendly foods. Unfortunately, not all of the foods pushed by the media do help people lose weight; however, chia seeds are one of the foods that can. 

Why Are Chia Seeds Good For Weight Loss?

Although chia seeds may not ‘melt away’ belly fat like advertised in some magazines, they can help people to lose weight by making them feel full and helping them to eat in a calorie deficit. 


Burning more calories than you consume is the only way to lose weight; therefore, individuals must eat in a calorie deficit. Unfortunately, eating in a calorie deficit can be very difficult because it often leaves individuals feeling hungry; this is where chia seeds come into their own. Chia seeds are packed with protein and full of indigestible dietary fiber, which means that just a small amount can help keep you feeling full for longer. What’s more, chia seeds can absorb up to 10X their weight in liquid, turning a small one-ounce serving of chia seeds into a hearty-looking snack with minimal calories. In addition to helping dieters to feel full and eat less, chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants and can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce an individual's blood pressure. These are two common health issues found in overweight people. 


Are Chia Seeds As Good For You As Flaxseed?

Although it’s clear that chia seeds are an extremely healthy food, they come up against some stiff competition from flaxseed which has sparked an online this or that battle between the two seeds. 

What’s The Difference Between Flaxseed And Chia Seed

The primary difference between chia seeds and flaxseed is that they are entirely different seeds that come from entirely different plants. While chia seeds are the tiny black-brown seeds of the Salvia hispanica plant, flaxseeds are the slightly larger, flatter brown seeds of Linum usitatissimum. Looking a little closer at each seed, there are also some critical differences in their nutritional profiles, which we have highlighted below: 


Chia Seed (28g)

Flaxseed (28g)

Calories 

137

150

Carbohydrate

12g

8g

Fiber

11g

8g

Protein

4g

5g

Fat

9g

12g

Omega-3

4,900mg

6,400mg

Omega-6

1,600mg

1,700mg

Manganese

30% of RDA

35% of RDA

Thiamine

11% of RDA

31% of RDA

Magnesium 

30% of RDA

27% of RDA

Phosphorus

27% of RDA

18% of RDA

Selenium

22% of RDA

10% of RDA

Copper 

3% of RDA

17% of RDA

Calcium

18% of RDA

7% of RDA

Iron 

12% of RDA

9% of RDA

Zinc,

7% of RDA

8% of RDA

Potassium

1% RDA

7% of RDA 


As you can see, both chia seeds and flaxseed have their strengths and weaknesses, but they’re not too dissimilar from one another. While chia seeds may be a better calcium source and are higher in fiber, flaxseed is a clear winner when it comes to omega-3’s and is also a better source of manganese and copper. In an ideal world, it would be best to add a small amount of both chia seed and flaxseed into your diet, but if you have to choose one or the other, then you may want to do so based on the nutrients that are most important to you and your taste preference. 



How To Buy Good Quality Chia Seeds

Buying good quality chia seeds can be a bit hit or miss. Although chia seeds may all look the same, there are three significant differences between good quality and low-quality chia seeds. 

  • Cleanliness 

There’s nothing worse than thinking you got a good deal on some cheap chia seeds and then opening the bag to find debris or bugs mixed in with your seeds. Chia seeds must undergo a series of cleaning processes before they are packaged for sale, but not all chia seeds are processed to the same standard. Cheaper chia seeds may not have undergone the same rigorous cleaning process as better quality chia seeds, leaving room for dirt, dust, rocks, and bugs to end up in the finished product. 

  • Organic Status

Another critical thing to consider when buying chia seeds is whether they are organic or not. Organic chia seeds have been grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals, meaning that pollinators like bees and butterflies were not harmed during the flowering season, and the resulting chia seeds have not had a chance to absorb any toxins. Organic chia seeds can be a little more expensive than non-organic chia seeds but generally are of better quality. 

  • Maturity 

Many people don’t realize that chia seeds can be mature or immature. Immature chia seeds are a consistent brown color rather than a speckled brown-black, are smaller in size, and have less nutritional value than mature seeds. These smaller, immature chia seeds will often fail quality control tests for high-quality chia and therefore end up being sold on more cheaply.

Is it Possible To Buy Affordable Quality Chia Seeds?

As chia seeds have become more popular, there’s more diversity in the market. This means that there’s now more competition, and chia seed prices have begun to fall. It’s therefore not uncommon to see very affordable, high-quality chia; you just need to be careful about who you buy from. Here are our tips to help you buy good quality inexpensive chia seeds.

  • Read Customer Reviews

When it comes to buying anything online, reviews are your best friend. If there are no reviews on the website, then it’s safer to give the product a miss. If there is a review section, then take a moment to browse what other customers have said. Generally, if there were any problems with the product, such as debris or pests in the bag, then this will have been highlighted, and you can take your business elsewhere. 

  • Check To See If The Seeds Are Mature

It’s difficult to check the maturity of chia seeds online, but some suppliers will provide a sample. If you can’t get a sample ahead of placing an order, then once again, reviews are your best friend, and you may want to order a smaller amount first until you can check their quality. If you’re buying chia seeds in-store, then take a look at the seeds before you buy them and check that they are brown-black and not just plain brown. 

  • Always Look For An Organic Certification

Finally, for the best quality chia seeds, always look for organic certification. Organic chia seeds tend to have been farmed to higher standards than non-organic seeds, and this shows in the end product. 




How Should You Store Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are a great store cupboard staple, but how do you store them? The good news is that chia seeds are one of those pantry items that rarely go bad, meaning that you can store them for quite a long time before encountering any problems. That being said, keeping your chia seeds correctly will extend their life even further and can also protect them from unwanted pests. 

How Long Do Chia Seeds Last?

Chia seeds can last a long time, thanks to their protective and edible seed husk. For this reason, some people believe that whole chia seeds will never go off, but this isn’t entirely true. When stored in good conditions, whole chia seeds can easily last two years in the pantry, often even longer, and this can be more than doubled if you place them in the fridge or freezer. Once chia seeds have been ground into a meal, they are no longer protected by their seed husk and therefore only have a pantry life of two weeks. 

The Best Way To Store Chia Seeds

Chia seeds will go bad more quickly if exposed to open air, direct sunlight, moisture, or high temperatures. For this reason, the best way to store your chia seeds is in an airtight container, away from the sun, in a cool and dry place. If you don’t plan to eat your chia seeds for a while, then a vacuum-sealed container can make them last even longer. If you can’t store your chia seeds in a cupboard away from the light, then it’s best to place them in an opaque container. 


If you’re storing chia seeds for the long-haul, then freezing them is the ultimate preservation method. Before freezing your chia seeds, place them in an airtight bag or container and try to remove as much air as possible. 

How To Tell If Your Chia Seeds Have Gone Bad

Although chia seeds rarely go bad, when they do, they are unpleasant to eat. Here are three signs that your chia seeds have gone bad. 


  • Pests
  • Unfortunately, it’s not just humans who like to eat chia seeds. Pests such as meal moths will seek out chia seeds if they are not sealed correctly and will lay their eggs. Once hatched, the meal moth larvae feed on the chia seeds until they transform into moths, and the cycle starts again. It’s usually fairly obvious if meal moths have gotten into your chia seeds, keep an eye out for your seeds moving, grubs, moths, or strange debris. 


  • Mold
  • If your chia seeds aren’t sealed or have been sealed with moisture inside the container, then they will probably go moldy. Mold comes in many shapes and sizes but generally looks like a white powder on your seeds. If your chia seeds have gone moldy, you will need to throw away the whole pack as the mold spores will contaminate the entire supply. 


  • Rancidification 
  • Finally, although it may take chia seeds a long time, they will eventually go rancid. Rancidification occurs when chia seeds are exposed to the open air and cause their fatty acids to oxidize. Rancid chia seeds have a nasty odor and will also taste bitter and unpleasant. If you think your chia seeds may have gone rancid, then the best way to check is to grind a small sample in a pestle and mortar and smell them. 

     

    chia pudding

    6 Ways To Add Chia Seeds Into Your Daily Diet 

    The best way to stop your chia seeds from going off is to eat them! Thankfully, chia seeds are a super versatile ingredient, and so this isn’t difficult to do. Here are just six ways that you could start adding more chia seeds into your daily diet.

    Bake With Them
    Chia seeds are an inoffensive baking ingredient and can be used in virtually any baking recipe. With little flavor, they can easily be hidden in sweet or savory bakes, adding extra protein and nutrients without changing the flavor. If you’re baking with chia seeds, then remember that they absorb a lot of liquid, and so you may need to adjust your recipe to accommodate.


    Use Them As A Salad Topper
    Seeds make fantastic salad toppers, adding texture, flavor, and nutrients to your meal. While pumpkin and sunflower seeds may be popular seed topping choices, chia seeds are also a great seed to add to the mix.

    Make Them Into An Egg Replacement 

    Did you know that chia seeds are often used as an egg replacement in vegan baking? That’s right, if you’re trying to go egg-less or have run out of eggs, then a tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water can create an egg-like binder. 


    Use Them On Your Breakfast

    Chia seeds are great sprinkled onto oatmeal, yogurt, and even cereal. They add some much-needed texture and also provide a boost of nutrients to help you start your day. We like to keep a jar of our favorite seedy sprinkles close by to make it easier to add them to all of our favorite dishes.

    Make Chia Pudding

    If dry chia seeds don’t float your boat, then try making them into a chia pudding. Chia pudding fully utilizes the chia seed’s ability to absorb 10X its weight in liquid, turning a small dry seed into a voluminous gelatinous pudding. Another great thing about chia pudding is that it has little to no flavour, making it a great carrier for sweet dessert flavours like berries, chocolate, or vanilla. \


    Drink Your Chia Seeds

    Finally, if you’re really struggling to incorporate chia seeds into your food, then try adding them to your drinks instead. Chia seeds can help to thicken smoothies and also add important fibre, protein, and fats. 


    3 Simple And Delicious Chia Pudding Recipes 

    If all this talk of chia seeds has left you hungry, then get stuck into one of these three chia pudding recipes. The great thing about chia pudding is that it’s so versatile. We love these three flavours, but you can go wild, adding virtually any flavours you like and topping your puddings with all manner of delicious ingredients. 

    Chocolate Chia Pudding 

    You can’t go wrong with chocolate-flavoured pudding! This recipe uses cocoa powder to achieve a chocolatey flavour, but you could also use chocolate protein powder or make chocolate milk out of melted chocolate if you prefer. 


    Ingredients: 

    • ½ a cup of organic chia seeds
    • 1.5 cups of plant-milk of your choice (we like almond)
    • 3 tbsp of agave nectar or maple syrup 
    • ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder 
    • 2 squares of vegan dark chocolate 
    • ¼ teaspoon of salt 

    Method:

      • Add your cocoa powder, agave nectar/maple syrup, salt, and vanilla to a small bowl and give them a gentle whisk to combine.
      • Next, slowly add your plant milk a little at a time, continually whisking to prevent lumps.
  • If you want to portion your chia pudding into glasses or ramekins, then split your chocolate milk into four at this stage. 
  • If you’ve split your chocolate milk into four equal servings, then you now need to do the same with your chia seeds before adding them to your containers. 
    • Give everything one last mix before covering and placing your pudding into the refrigerator for four hours. 
    • To help your chia puddings to set evenly, you may want to give them a gentle stir after the first 30 minutes.
    • After four hours, your chia seeds should have absorbed your chocolate milk, and your pudding is ready to eat.
    • For a little extra indulgence, finely grate some dark chocolate over the top. 

    Very Berry Chia Pudding

    Fruity chia pudding is a brilliant way to eat some of your five a day while also getting a healthy hit of protein, antioxidants, and fiber. We’ve used blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries in this recipe, but you could substitute these out for whatever berries you like. In fact, why stop at berries! You could even make this recipe with mango or pineapple.


    Ingredients: 


    • ½ a cup of organic chia seeds
    • 1.5 cups of plant-milk of your choice (we like almond)
    • 3 tbsp of agave nectar or maple syrup (add more or less depending on the sweetness of your berries)
    • ½ a cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
    • ½ a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
    • ½ a cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
    • ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

    Method:

    • Add your berries to a bowl. If using fresh berries, then gently squash them a little to release more of their flavor. 
    • Add your sweetener of choice and vanilla before pouring in your milk. 
    • To your berry-milk mixture, add in your chia seeds and stir to combine. 
    • Cover your chia pudding and place it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours. This chia pudding needs a little longer for the flavors to develop.
    • We recommend letting this chia pudding swell as one large pudding and then portioning it afterward to ensure an even distribution of berries and chia seeds in each serving. 
    • Serve cold and top with more fresh berries.

    Carrot Cake Chia Pudding

    For a healthier take on carrot cake, this chia pudding fits the bill, and it looks decadent too when topped with chopped walnuts, raisins, and lemon zest. 


    Ingredients:

    • ½ a cup of organic chia seeds
    • 1.5 cups of plant-milk of your choice 
    • 3 tbsp of agave nectar or maple syrup 
    • 2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
    • 1 large carrot
    • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 
    • A pinch of salt 
    • ¼ cup of raisins
    • ¼ cup of chopped walnuts 
    • Zest of half a lemon 

  • Method: 
    • Peel your carrot and take off the top. Set aside a small piece to grate for a garnish. 
    • Add the rest of your carrot to a blender with your plant milk, vanilla, sweetener, cinnamon, salt, and blend until the carrot has turned to a pulp. 
    • Portion your chia seeds into four ramekins or glasses and then top with your carrot cake milk. 
    • Give everything a good stir, and then cover your chia puddings and place them in the fridge for 4 hours. 
    • To help your chia pudding set evenly, you may want to stir it after the first 30 minutes. 
    • Once set and ready to eat, grate some extra carrot over the top and add raisins, chopped walnuts, and lemon zest to garnish. 



    Can You Eat Too Many Chia Seeds?

    Once you discover the versatility of chia seeds, you may find yourself adding them to everything. Still, it’s important to remember that chia seeds are very high in fiber and so adding too many into your diet could leave you with some unpleasant side effects. 

    How Many Chia Seeds Should You Eat?

    Although there’s no set serving size for chia seeds, it’s recommended that people start by only consuming one-ounce a day. This can be increased over time depending on how your body reacts to the excess fiber. 



    What Happens If You Eat Too Many Chia Seeds?

    Eating too many chia seeds will usually only result in digestive discomfort. This is because chia seeds are 40% fibre. Like other fibre-rich foods, side-effects from eating too many chia seeds are usually bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. 

    Other Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Chia Seeds

    Most people who eat too many chia seeds only experience an upset stomach, but there are a few other side-effects to be aware of. 


    Dry Chia Seeds Can Cause Choking 

    You may have seen the story online about a man who ate spoonfuls of dry chia and then drank a glass of water and ended up in the emergency room. This is because the dry chia seeds he consumed swelled in his esophagus and caused a blockage. We don’t recommend eating spoonfuls of chia seeds dry; they’re much tastier when added to your meals or swollen into a chia pudding.

    Chia Seeds Could Interact With Some Medications

    Because chia seeds can help reduce blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar levels, they could enhance the efficiency of medications trying to do the same job. If you’re taking blood pressure or blood sugar medications, then it’s best to speak to a doctor before adding chia seed into your diet.


    Some People Can Be Allergic To Chia Seeds

    Chia seed allergies are very rare, but they do exist. If you’ve never eaten chia seeds before, then it’s best to start with a small amount and work your way up slowly. On your first time trying chia seeds, keep an eye out for any allergy symptoms such as itchy lips or swelling of your mouth and throat. 


    So there you have it! We hope you enjoyed learning about chia seeds and the benefits that they can bring to your diet. If you’re ready to try them for yourself, then check out our high-quality organic chia seeds. 

    November 12, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: Seeds

    How to Buy Superfoods Affordably to Save Money

    We’re all aware that we should be eating more healthy superfoods in our diet for maximum health benefits, but the harsh truth is that sometimes frozen pizzas, processed meals, and junk food are cheaper to buy. If you’re on a tight budget but are keen to clean up your diet and eat more superfoods, then here’s a list of our top tips to help you buy them more affordably. 

    affordable superfoods cheap superfoods
    • Steer Clear Of Powders And Supplements

    Superfood powders and supplements are often the most expensive way to buy superfoods. Not only do you pay extra for them to be processed into powder or supplement form, but you also pay a premium for their superfood marketing, and you’ll need to buy real food on top to make yourself a proper meal. Instead, buy whole food ingredients and use them as a basis for your meals. 

    • Stick To Simple Everyday Superfoods

    Although açai berries, avocados, and maca powder may be trendy, many less sexy everyday superfoods pack just as much nutrition. Ditch overpriced kale for cheaper broccoli, swap açai berries for blueberries, and get your healthy fats from nuts and seeds rather than avocados. 

    • Buy Your Fruit And Vegetables Frozen   

    Although we’re made to believe that fresh fruit and vegetables are best for us, the truth is flash-frozen produce is just as healthy and nutritious. More often than not, bags of frozen broccoli florets are cheaper than whole heads of broccoli, and frozen wild blueberries are much less expensive than fresh, especially when they’re out of season. As well as saving you money, buying frozen fruit and veg is also a great way to reduce food wastage and in many instances will cut down your preparation time too. 

    • Buy in Bulk

    If you have plenty of storage space available, then another great way to save money on your superfood shop is to buy ingredients in bulk. Superfoods like nuts and seeds are often much cheaper in larger pack sizes and can be eaten over several weeks or even months if you store them correctly. Check out our online store to see our fantastic selection of nuts and seeds. 

    • Buy In Season

    Lastly, superfoods are always cheap when they are in season as they have far lower transportation costs. Try to shop for local and seasonal superfood ingredients rather than buying imported fruit and vegetables when they’re not in season in your country. Buying in season is also a great way to reduce your environmental impact and will help to ensure you get a variety of nutrients from different food sources. 


    So there you have it - our five top tips for buying superfoods without blowing your grocery budget. 

    November 12, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: superfoods

    Everything You Need to Know About Dried Figs

    Figs are one of the world’s most ancient fruits and have been widely consumed by humans for many thousands of years. In fact, the edible fig was one of the very first fruits to be cultivated by humans, and we have evidence of fig cultivation dating back to 9200 BC! With such a long and rich history, it’s unsurprising that figs also feature prominently in many religions. The fig holds important symbolism in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism. In these religions, it represents a variety of things, including peace, fertility, and prosperity. 

    everything to know about dried figs

    Where Do Figs Grow?

    Of all the figs harvested each year, 90% of them are sold as dried figs. Dried figs have a much longer shelf life than fresh figs, making them easier to transport and store. Dried figs start their lives as the plump, fresh fruit of the common fig tree. When mature, the common fig tree can grow to be 33 ft tall - that’s as tall as a three-story building!


    The common fig tree is native to the Middle East; however, it is now grown all over the world. Today, Turkey is the top fig-producing country, producing almost double the yield of Egypt, which takes second place. Some of the other top fig-producing countries include Algeria, Iran, Morocco, Syria, the United States, Brazil, Spain, Tunisia, Albania, and India. 

    How Are Dried Figs Produced?

    Unless they are sold quickly as fresh figs, the vast majority of figs harvested each year are sold dried. Drying fruit is an age-old practice designed to preserve the fruit by reducing microbial activity and minimizing physical and chemical changes. 


    There are two ways to dry figs. The first is to allow them to dry in the sun, and the second is to process them using machinery. Here at Ayoub’s, we favor the traditional method of sun-drying to preserve our figs. Sun-dried figs retain more of their natural shape, and we believe they also have a much deeper flavor. 

    What’s the Difference Between Sun-dried and Processed Figs? 

    Before the invention of machinery and large-scale factories, figs were all preserved using the sun. Sun-drying is one of the oldest ways to preserve fruit, relying on the natural climate to drive away excess moisture. The problem with sun-drying figs is that it requires a hot climate and patience. For this reason, some fig producers now use machinery to process their figs, allowing them to dry much larger harvests in a shorter amount of time. 


    It can be difficult to tell how your dried figs have been processed. Some retailers will declare this information on their website or on their packaging, while others won’t. Sometimes it is possible to tell whether a dried fig has been sun-dried or processed by looking at its shape. Sun-dried figs tend to retain more of their natural roundness, while processed dried figs often look flattened where they have been laid on a conveyor belt. 

    Where to Find Sun-dried Figs

    If you’re looking for high-quality sun-dried figs, then look no further. Here at Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts, we champion a variety of sun-dried figs, including dried Turkish figs and dried Black Mission figs. If you can’t choose between the two, check out our assorted fig mix containing Persian, Californian, and Turkish figs - can you taste the difference? 



    Are Dried Figs as Healthy as Fresh Figs?

    We know what you’re thinking - “why would I eat dry fruit if I can buy fresh fruit?” After all, isn’t fresh fruit healthier than dried fruit?


    If you have access to fresh figs and enjoy eating them, then by all means - tuck in! But don’t disregard dried figs together. Dried figs are a quick, easy, and nutritious snack that can be eaten on the go almost anywhere. 


    It’s a very common misconception that dried fruit is somehow less healthy than fresh fruit, when the truth is, high-quality dried fruits without any added sugar have a virtually identical nutritional profile to fruits in their fresh state. 

    What Happens When You Dry Fresh Figs?

    When figs are dried, either in the sun or during processing, they are allowed to dehydrate. Removing water from figs during the dying process prevents them from rotting while leaving behind all of their nutrients. During the drying process, it’s only the water content of figs that changes, and the rest of their nutritional profile remains the same. The reason why dried figs taste a little different from fresh figs is that their flavor has become more concentrated. This happens because they shrink when dehydrated, and their sugar content is no longer diluted by water. 

    Are Fresh Figs Better for You Than Dried Figs?

    The only reason why fresh figs are considered better for you than dried figs is because they appear to contain less sugar when compared side-by-side with dried figs. 


    A single dried fig contains no more sugar than a single fresh fig. The confusion occurs when people compare 100g of dried figs with 100g of fresh figs. Because dried figs have had their water removed, there are more of them in every 100g. This makes dried figs appear more sugary and more unhealthy than fresh figs when analyzed by weight.


    We don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t eat a dozen fresh figs in a sitting, so we wouldn’t consume a dozen dried figs either. To account for their water loss, a serving of dried figs is generally considered to be around ½ to ⅔ of a cup, which is approximately 4 figs. Dried figs are very high in fiber, which means that eating too many of them can cause an upset stomach. To prevent gas, bloating, and diarrhea, eat dried figs in moderation and drink plenty of water. 

    How to Eat Dried Figs in a Healthy Way

    If you’re a little suspicious of dried fruit or have been told that dried fruit will make you gain weight, this isn’t true so long as you stick to a healthy portion size. Depending on the size and variety of the dried figs you’re eating, a typical portion size will often be somewhere between a ¼ and ⅔ of a cup. 


    If you like to buy your dried figs in bulk, then weigh out your portions before you start snacking to help prevent you from accidentally overeating. 


    If you’re on a calorie-controlled diet and are trying to lose weight or have been told to limit your sugar intake, then dried figs can still be incorporated into your diet. Just be mindful of their sugar content and adjust your portion sizes accordingly. 


    If you’re new to dried fruit and are adding dried figs into your diet for the first time, then don’t be alarmed if it takes your gut by surprise. Dried fruit contains a lot of fiber which can take a few days for your stomach to get used to. If you often find that you get bloated after eating dried fruit, then reduce your portion a little and remember to drink plenty of water. 

    health benefits of dried figds+`


    Five Health Benefits From Eating Dried Figs 

    Aside from still being a fruit and contributing to your five-a-day, dried figs also provide a number of other amazing health benefits. Here are just five of the things that make dried figs so great. 

    • Dried Figs Are Very High in Fibre 

    • According to health experts, 95% of people don’t consume enough fibre in their regular diet. Dried figs are an excellent source of fibre, with 3.5oz providing a massive 40% of an individual’s recommended daily intake. While you shouldn’t rely on figs as your only source of fiber, a handful of dried figs a day can give you a boost towards meeting your fibre goals. 
    • Dried Figs Are Rich in Calcium 

    People tend to forget that cow’s milk isn’t the only source of calcium. Dried figs are a particularly rich plant-based source of calcium and contain high magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus levels, which all work together to help prevent bone loss. Whether you’re vegan or not, eating a portion of dried figs on a daily basis will help to ensure that you’re getting enough calcium in your diet. 

    • Dried Figs Can Help You to Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Although dried figs may be calorie-dense, when eaten in moderation, they make a great weight-loss snack. Because dried figs are high in fiber, they help to keep you feeling full for longer, and because they’re full of natural fruit sugars, they’ll help to curb your sweet cravings and keep your diet on track. If you tend to reach for candy, chocolate, or cookies, then give some dried figs a try instead. 

    • Dried Figs Can Help to Make Your Hair and Skin Glow

    We are what we eat, and so it’s no surprise that eating more healthy fruits and vegetables can make us glow from the inside out. Dried figs are a particularly great fruit to eat if you’re trying to improve the health of your hair and skin because they contain high levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants help to fight free radicals, slowing down the aging process and protecting your skin and hair from the effects of sun damage. 

    • Dried Figs Can Help You Control Your Blood Sugar

    While dry figs may be quite high in sugar, they’ve been proven to help stabilize blood sugar levels. Dried figs are also rich in vitamin E and a range of other bioactive compounds with proven anti-diabetic properties. When consumed in moderation, dried figs make a very healthy snack for diabetics and could help to prevent or even reverse their type-2 diabetes. 

    So Are Dried Figs Good For You? 

    We think it’s pretty clear that dried figs have a number of health benefits to offer and should definitely be considered as a healthy snack. Their high levels of fibre make them ideal for people with diabetes or people looking to lose weight, while their vitamin and antioxidant content help to improve the overall health and fight signs of aging. 

    Four Ways to Incorporate More Dried Figs into Your Diet

    While dried figs taste great on their own, we understand that some people will need to get a bit creative in order to fit more dried figs into their diet. Here are just four things that you can do with dried figs. 

    • Create Your Own Personal Figgy Fruit and Nut Mix

    Fruit and nut mix is the ultimate snack. Whether you need a pick-me-up in the office, a post-workout snack, or something to graze on while watching a film, fruit and nut mix is a healthy option to choose. 

    There are dozens of different dried fruits that you can incorporate into your fruit and nut mix, including sticky, sweet dried figs. When making your fruit and nut mix, chop your dried figs up into small bite-size pieces, and don’t be afraid to toss in some other dried fruits too for some variety. 

    • Make Figgy Cakes or Muffins

    The natural sweetness of dried figs makes them a perfect dried fruit to include in your baking. When cooked, dried figs have an almost caramel taste and can act as a very convincing sugar substitute. The next time you’re craving oat and raisin cookies, or blueberry muffins, try using dried figs instead. 

    If sweet cakes and bakes aren’t your cup of tea, then dried figs also work very well in more savoury dishes. Try adding them to a goat's cheese tart or even throwing a few into your tagine instead of dried apricots.

    • Make a Dried Fig Jam

    While whole dried figs are already fairly versatile, turning them into a jam will open up a whole new world of culinary opportunities. Fig jam can be mixed into cakes, spread on bread, eaten alongside meat, and makes a fantastic accompaniment to cheese! Here’s how to make your own fig jam.

    • Add 28oz of dried figs to a saucepan, cover with four cups of water and bring to a boil. 
    • Once boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the figs to plump up for about 30 minutes. 
    • Use a slotted spoon to remove your dried figs from the water. Keep the water to one side. 
    • If your dried figs have stems on, then remove these now that the figs are soft. 
    • Chop your dried figs roughly and set them aside. 
    • Next, add the juice of two lemons, three cups of sugar, and the reserved fig liquid to a saucepan and bring these to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. The juice should thicken slightly. 
    • At this point, add in your chopped figs and then simmer for a further 15 minutes. 
    • At this point, add in vanilla or any other flavorings that you like before ladling the mixture into sterilized jam jars. 
    • To preserve your fig jam for a more extended period of time, process your jars by canning them in a hot water bath for ten minutes. 
    • Add Dried Figs to Your Bliss Balls

    Finally, another great way to snack on dried figs is to blend them into your bliss balls. Certain varieties of dried figs are pretty moist, especially if partially rehydrated. These dried figs can be used in place of dates when making bliss balls or finely chopped and added in with your other ingredients. 


    We’ve already written a post about bliss balls and how to make them, which should help you create your own.]

    Turkish figs

    What’s the Difference Between Black Mission Figs & Turkish Figs?

    Black Mission figs and Turkish figs are two of the most popular varieties of dried figs. While they may both be figs, they have very different flavor profiles, and you may find that you prefer one over the other. 

    What are Black Mission Figs?

    Black Mission figs earned their name thanks to the Franciscan missionaries who first planted them in California in the 18th Century. 


    Black Mission figs are easy to identify because of their distinct dark purple skin, making them appear black. Black Mission figs are a very popular Californian variety and are exported all over the world. When dried, Black Mission figs have a gummy internal texture, which makes them perfect for desserts and soft without rehydration. 


    If you’re buying dried Black Mission figs for the first time, then don’t panic if you see a little bit of white powder on their skin surface. This white appearance is caused by the fig’s natural fruit sugars and isn’t mold. If you don’t like the white spots, then they can be removed by gently wiping or washing your figs, but they are entirely natural and edible. 

    What are Turkish Figs?

    Turkey is one of the oldest producers of figs, and for this reason, Turkish figs are prized as some of the best in the world. Turkish figs tend to have much paler skin than Black Mission figs, giving them a light green or almost white appearance.

    Which Type of Dried Fig Should You Buy?

    If you’ve never had a dried fig before, then we’d suggest buying our assorted fig mix. By purchasing an assortment of dried figs, you’ll be able to see firsthand how different each variety is and learn those that you favor. In Ayoub’s dried fig assortment, you’ll find figs from California, Persia, and Turkey. 

    How to Soften Dried Figs

    Depending on their variety and how much they have been dried, dried figs can either be sticky and chewy or quite firm. If you prefer softer dried figs, then the easiest way to soften them is to partially rehydrate them. Dried figs can be partially rehydrated using water or milk; simply place your dried figs into the liquid and allow them to soak it up. When they’ve reached your preferred softness, don’t throw the liquid away! Fig water and fig milk are both tasty to drink. 


    Where to Buy High-Quality Figs in Canada

    There’s a big difference between cheap, low-quality dried figs and high-quality dried figs. Poor quality figs tend to be bland and mushy, while high-quality sun-dried figs are fruity and sweet with an almost caramel-like taste. 


    If you love dried figs, then finding high-quality dried figs is a must. Here are a few places that you can find high-quality dried figs in Canada 

    • Whole Foods Market

    Whole Foods Market is definitely a more premium-end supermarket, so their products tend to be on the more costly side. That being said, sometimes you get what you pay for, and when it comes to dried figs, you can pretty much guarantee that Whole Foods will have sourced some of the best. If you also like your dried fruit to be organic, Whole Foods will likely stock a selection of organic options. While it may not be affordable to stop by Whole Foods Market regularly, if you’ve got a craving for dried figs, then they’re a good place to go.  

    • Amazon 

    We hate to admit it, but Amazon has become a great place to find high-quality pantry ingredients. In recent years, Amazon has become the one-stop online shop for virtually anything, including dried fruits. If you’re going to buy dried figs from Amazon, then pay close attention to the product descriptions and make sure that you look for verified customer reviews. For every high-quality pack of dried figs on Amazon, you bet there’s going to be a poor quality pack on there too, but if you do your research and know that you can trust their suppliers, then Amazon is a great place to shop. 


    • Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts

    Of course, we couldn’t list the best places to buy dried figs without mentioning ourselves at Ayoub’s.  If you're looking for delicious sun-dried figs, then look no further. We stock a wide selection of figs graded at the highest quality, including Turkish figs, Black Mission figs, and our fig assortment. Our figs are sun-dried for maximum flavour, and they never have anything added to them because they don’t need it! Whether you want 1lb of dried figs or 3 lb, we’ve got you covered and can even accommodate larger bulk orders. Wherever you live in Canada or even the United States, our dried figs are available to buy online, so you can sit back and relax knowing that the best dried figs are going to be delivered straight to your door. If you’re more of an in-person shopper, then we’d love to welcome you into one of our Ayoub’s stores, where you’ll find our full range of delicious hand-roasted nuts and dried fruit. 


    Although we may be biased, we have to say that we’re confident that we have some of the very best dried figs in the whole of Canada. But wherever you choose to buy your dried figs from, we hope you enjoy them! 


    How Should You Store Dried Figs at Home

    So you’ve gone out and bought yourself a huge bag of dried figs - now what? Unless you plan to eat them all in one go (which isn’t advisable), you’re going to need to store your dried figs until you can use them. 


    While the drying process is designed to help preserve fresh fruit for longer, it won’t stop it from going bad altogether. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to properly store your figs so that they stay delicious until the very last one. 

    The Best Place to Store Dried Figs

    The best place to store dried figs is in the pantry. However, to prevent them from becoming too soggy or any pests from getting into your fruit, we recommend storing your dried figs in an airtight container once the bag is open. When stored in the pantry in an airtight container, dried figs can last for up to 12 months! 

    Can You Refrigerate Dried Figs?

    If you live in a very hot or humid country, then you may want to store your dried figs in the fridge. When stored in the refrigerator, dried figs can last for up to 18 months - though we don’t think they’ll be around for that long! To prevent your dried figs from becoming rubbery or too soggy, store them in an airtight container. 

    Can You Freeze Dried Figs?

    If you’re a fan of freezing things, then you'll be happy to learn that dried figs can be frozen. Unfortunately, freezing dried figs can alter their texture a little, and so we only recommend it as a last resort. If you need to use up a big batch of dried figs, then consider making it into a jam instead!

    How to Tell if Your Dried Figs Have Gone Off 

    When correctly stored, dried figs can last a very long time, but they do eventually start to go off. If you’re worried about your dried figs and think that they may have gone bad, then here are some things to check. 

    • Do They Smell?

    If you open the bag or container and give it a sniff, does it smell? Dried figs should smell sweet and fruity. If your dried figs smell musty or stale, then they may have started to go off. 

    • Do They Have Any Visible Signs of Mold

    A white powdery coating on your dried figs isn’t necessarily molding. When figs are dried, their natural fruit sugars can crystallize on their skin, causing a white bloom. The key to telling this apart from mold is to take a closer look. Crystallized sugar will look like tiny crystals, while a mold is usually fluffy. 

    • Do They Taste Funny?

    Lastly, if your figs smell ok, and they look ok, but you’re still not convinced, then a taste test will be able to determine the fate of your figs. Take a small bite and see whether your figs taste good or if they taste bad. Your body is pretty good at telling you when something isn’t right, so trust your gut and throw out any dried figs that have been in the pantry for a long time and that no longer taste right. 

    How Many Dried Figs Can You Eat Per Day?

    Like most dried fruit, dried figs can be extremely moreish, but it’s very important not to eat too many in one sitting as they can give you an upset stomach. 

    What is a Portion of Dried Figs?

    If you’re trying to work out how many defied figs you should eat, then the first thing to do is to check the packet. Most packaging will give a suggested serving size. Alternatively, another easy way to work out how many dried figs you can eat is to think about how many fresh figs you would eat in a sitting. You probably wouldn’t sit down and eat 12 fresh figs, so don’t eat 12 dried! Most people stick to 3-4 dried figs per sitting, which equates to about ¼ cup. 

    What Will Happen if You Eat Too Many Dried Figs?

    If you’ve eaten too many dried figs, then don’t panic! The reason why it isn’t advisable to eat more than three or four dried figs in a sitting is that they are very high in fibre. Consuming too much fibre can cause your stomach to have a bit of a meltdown, and you may experience bloating, gas or diarrhea. If you think you may have eaten too many dried figs, then drink plenty of water and lay off the figs for a couple of days to allow your body time to get back to normal. 

    How to Prevent Yourself From Eating Too Many Dried Figs

    As lovers of dried figs ourselves, we know how hard it is to limit your portions of dried fruit. However, if you regularly find yourself overeating dried fruit, then we’d recommend weighing out your snack sizes first and maybe even cutting up your dried figs to trick your brain into thinking you’ve eaten more than you really have. Alternatively, mix your dried fruit in with some nuts or another snack to help you feel more satiated. 


    So there you have it! That’s everything you need to know about dried figs. If you found this article interesting check out our piece on Everything You Need To Know About Goji Berries

    October 26, 2021 by Gillian Brady

    Eight Tasty Ways To Add More Ginger Into Your Diet

    Aside from being delicious, ginger also offers a myriad of potential health benefits. It’s great at relieving nausea, is a proven anti-inflammatory, a potent antimicrobial, an antioxidant, and a painkiller, with potential anti-cancer properties thrown in the mix too. So whether you’re suffering from morning sickness or have painful menstrual cramps, are trying to reduce chronic inflammation, or reduce symptoms of an inflammatory disorder, then it’s worth adding a bit more ginger into your diet. Here are eight tasty ways to eat more ginger! 

    eat more ginger
    • Brew A Cup Of Ginger Tea

    Ginger tea makes a great winter warmer and is the perfect way to soothe a sore throat or an upset stomach. You can find ginger tea bags in most health-food stores, but it’s just as easy to make a fresh cup using some freshly grated ginger root. Check out our post on ginger tea here for more information. 

    • Keep A Bottle Of Ginger Water In The Fridge 

    Ginger water is essentially the cold version of ginger tea. Simply steep freshly grated ginger in cold water, and you’ve got yourself a refreshing summer beverage with the added benefits of ginger. If you like things bubbly, then try using sparkling water instead of still. 

    • Make A Ginger Infused Oil 

    Ginger oil not only tastes great but is the perfect partner for sore muscles too. Use it in your cooking for a subtle ginger flavor, or massage it onto the skin as a topical balm. When applied to painful muscles, the active compounds found in ginger work their way into the bloodstream, reducing inflammation and providing pain relief. 

    • Swap Sweets For Candied Ginger

    Suppose you have a sweet tooth and often find yourself snacking on junk food, swap out sweets for more nutritionally dense candied ginger. Candied ginger will still satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth and provide you with the health benefits of fresh ginger. 

    • Try Ginger Syrup 

    If you ever have a go at making candied ginger yourself, then it’ll leave you with some delicious tasting ginger syrup. Drizzle it over pancakes or try it in cocktails; just don’t throw it away! 

    • Make A Ginger Pickle 

    If you’re looking for a way to make your fresh ginger last for longer, then you have to make your own ginger pickle. Ginger pickle can be made using vinegar or alcohol to create the perfect zingy accompaniment to virtually any main course dish, and when stored correctly, it lasts forever too!

    • Add Ginger To Your Smoothies 

    If you haven’t tried it already, then the next time you make a smoothie, add in a knob of freshly peeled ginger root. If you like the flavor of ginger, then make it the star of the show, or if you’re less keen, then use a more reserved amount and let other ingredients do the talking. 

    • Get Baking With Ginger 

    Last but not least, don’t forget that ginger works terrifically in cakes, bakes, and cookies. Try adding some crystallized ginger to your next batch of muffins or a teaspoon of ginger powder to your next cake for an uplifting ginger flavor. 

    October 21, 2021 by Gillian Brady

    What Are The Best Keto-Friendly Snacks?

    keto snacks

     

     

    To stay in ketosis on the keto diet, most people can only eat between 20g and 50g of net carbohydrates a day, with some people needing to consume even less. With this in mind, it is essential to adapt your way of eating, including the foods you snack on. Here’s a quick list of some of the best keto-friendly snacks to give you some inspiration. But before you say ciao to your favorite carbs, read these things to know before starting the keto diet.

    Nuts

    If it’s simplicity you’re after, then nuts are the perfect keto snack option. Nutrient-dense, high in fat, and providing a tremendous dietary fiber source; nuts such as pecans, brazils, macadamias, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts make the perfect keto-friendly nibble. If you’re a fan of pistachios, and cashews, don’t panic, these nuts may be slightly higher in carbs, but can still be enjoyed in moderation on the keto diet. The key to enjoying nuts without breaking your keto-carbohydrate limit is to always weigh out your portion and to stick to raw and unsalted nuts where possible so that you can avoid any sneaky sugar or suspect ingredients in their seasoning. As well as being a great snack on their own, nuts can also be incorporated into lots of keto recipes and even blended into a delicious keto-nut butter! If it’s nuts you’re after, then look no further than our fantastic selection here at Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts. 

    Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds

    Another convenient, nutritious and delicious keto-friendly snack is a healthy portion of pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Crammed with antioxidants, heart-healthy fats, and essential vitamins, both pumpkin and sunflower seeds contain low levels of carbohydrates while still providing a good source of dietary fiber. Here at Ayoub’s, we stock a range of pumpkin seeds, including raw and roasted varieties, both whole and shelled. If you’re eating seeds on the keto diet, then most sources recommended buying the shelled variety. 

     

    Boiled Eggs

    Eggs are a keto-friendly staple and make a great snack. Packed with good fats, a healthy portion of protein, and vitamin B, a boiled egg is often a lot more satiating than it looks and can help to keep you feeling full until your next proper meal. If you want to increase the fat content of your boiled egg, then eat it with some full-fat mayonnaise or with some slices of creamy avocado. If getting more protein in your diet is important to you, you may want to check out this article.

    Crudites and Tahini 

    Although you may not be dunking a breadstick into your tahini, vegetable sticks make a delicious, crunchy, and satisfying alternative. Cucumber, celery, carrot, and broccoli sprouts are some of the most popular crudites to choose from, but you can dip virtually any keto-friendly vegetable into tahini and it will make a delicious snack. Although at first glance, some vegetables may seem a little too high in carbohydrates, this is usually because they are high in fiber. Once you have subtracted their fiber content, you will usually find them much lower in net carbs. Although it’s easy to snack on crudites as they are, the best keto-friendly snacks are always high in fat, so be sure to dunk them in some delicious tahini, hummus, or nut butter to increase their fat content. 


    So there you have it - four super delicious and straightforward keto-friendly snacks to keep you satisfied between your meals. What are your favorite keto snacks? 

    Stuck for recipes? Here's 6 keto recipes that you're going to love!
    October 01, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: diets

    7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Cashews

    7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Cashews

    Besides being one of the richest and creamiest tasting nuts, cashews are also incredibly good for you. Eating just a portion of these tiny little nuts a day can provide many fantastic health benefits, here are just seven of them!

    Health benefits cashews
    • Cashew Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight

    Cashews may be calorically dense, but they can actually help you lose weight when eaten in moderation. Cashews contain high levels of monounsaturated fat, which helps to mobilize stored fat and turn it into free fatty acids that are easier for your body to burn. What’s more, cashews are also a great source of the trace mineral copper, which can positively impact your metabolism. 

    • Cashews Can Help Regulate Your Blood Pressure

    Like many other nuts, cashews can help to lower levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood and increase good (HDL) cholesterol levels. They’re also a great source of potassium and magnesium, which help to relax blood vessels and counteract the effects of high sodium. 

    • Cashews Can Help To Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

    Raw cashew nuts are naturally low in sugar and high in fiber, which makes them a great food for people with diabetes. Eating a portion of cashew nuts a day could help to prevent type-2 diabetes by reducing sugar spikes and keeping blood sugar levels more stable. At present, more research is needed into the benefits of cashews for diabetics, but initial studies have been promising. 

    • Cashew Nuts Can Help To Prevent Heart Disease

    Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The good news is that nuts such as cashews can help to prevent heart disease by reducing overall cholesterol levels and keeping blood vessels clear. Although cashew nuts may contain a lot of fat, it’s important to remember that the kind of fat in cashew nuts is the good, monounsaturated kind that actually helps to keep your heart healthy.

    • Cashew Nuts Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Stroke 

    By keeping blood vessels healthy and reducing blood pressure, cashews help prevent heart disease and lower the risk of stroke. Cashews are particularly helpful at preventing hemorrhagic strokes caused by weakened blood vessels because they contain reasonable amounts of magnesium, which can help reduce blood pressure. 

    • Cashew Nuts Are A Good Source Of BCAA’s

    While cashew nuts may contain less protein than other nuts, they still pack a potent amount of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. In fact, they contain more valine than peanut, almonds, and walnuts! These Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) help muscle tissue recover after strenuous exercise and are often supplemented by bodybuilders. 

    • Cashews Are Great For The Keto Diet

    Although cashews may contain more net carbs than some other nuts, they are a great source of healthy fats and can help to reduce the cholesterol levels of those on the keto diet. When eaten sparingly, the beneficial micro-nutrients in cashew nuts out-weigh their slightly higher carb content, making them a nutritious snack to incorporate in moderation. 


    So there you have it! These are just seven of the excellent health benefits of cashew nuts. Did you know all of these? 

    September 28, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: cashews

    Superfoods: Everything You Need To Know

    What Are Superfoods?

    The term “superfood” first appeared in a Canadian newspaper in the year 1949. Given the way the word is used today, you might assume that it was used to describe a vegetable or some new brand of health drink, but in reality, it was actually used to reference the nutritional properties of a muffin! From the late 20th century onwards, the term “superfood” became a common marketing tool in the food and drink industry and was used to sell everything from baked goods to fad diets. Today, there is still no set definition for the word, but rather than promoting muffins and fad diets, it is now almost exclusively used to describe foods with extraordinary nutritional value.  

     superfoods

    So Are Superfoods A Hoax?

    Learning that the word superfood is little more than a marketing term can be disappointing, but the words origin and historical misuse shouldn’t be used to dampen the fact that many numbers of real superfoods do exist. Rather than disregarding superfoods altogether, we need to be smarter when faced with superfood marketing and wiser with our own food choices. 


    The truth is, the word superfood is an instant opportunity to add value to a product. By calling a product or food a ‘superfood,’ brands can charge more for them. For this reason, it is essential to look beneath food and drink marketing statements to assess how super the superfoods we eat really are. To make matters worse, influencers and social media platforms can drastically affect certain foods’ popularity, elevating them to a superfood status simply because they are photogenic. We’ve seen this firsthand with foods like avocado, which once were seen as high-fat and unhealthy and now are sold on toast for premium prices in health-food cafes across the world. 

    How To Be Superfood Smart

    To avoid being sucked into a false superfood hype, it is critical to separate what we know for a fact from what we are told in superfood marketing. At the end of the day, a food’s nutritional makeup is what matters most when determining if it deserves to be labeled as a superfood, not how photogenic it is or whether it is perceived as exotic. When choosing which superfoods to buy, do your research first and don’t take the marketing, you see at face value. 


    What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Superfoods?

    Whether you see the word ‘superfood’ to mean healthy or a hoax, it is impossible to deny that some foods can provide more health benefits than others. Dozens of the world’s most nutritious foods are labeled as superfoods - mostly fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes with the occasional animal product like salmon and greek yogurt. There are no set nutritional entry criteria for food to enter the superfood world. Therefore, the health benefit you can expect to see can vary depending on which kinds of superfoods you eat. Here’s an example of some of the health benefits you could experience if you were to eat a wide variety of superfoods on a regular basis. 

    Improved Digestion

    Superfoods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes all contain a healthy dietary fiber dose, which helps keep your digestive system moving. Without sufficient fiber in your diet, you risk starving your good gut bacteria and depleting your gut microbiome, which can cause digestive issues, constipation, bloating, and even certain types of cancer.  

    Better Heart Health

    Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD), also known as Coronary heart disease, remains the leading cause of death worldwide, killing almost nine million people each year. IHD is caused by a buildup of fat and cholesterol in the coronary arteries, ultimately leading to a heart attack. The good news is, eating more superfoods like nuts and seeds can help reduce your risk of IHD by lowering harmful LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and clearing fatty deposits in the arteries. All in all, this makes it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body and reduces a person’s risk of a heart attack. 

    A More Efficient Immune System 

    Another fantastic health benefit of eating superfoods is a more efficient immune system. Superfoods, in general, all contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, which all improve immune function. 

    A Happier Mood

    The food we eat affects not only our bodies but also our mind. Healthy superfoods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes can all help balance pesky hormones and can even help the brain to recover from injury. There’s also increasing evidence that eating a balanced diet filled with whole foods can help to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. 

    Improved Energy 

    Finally, alongside all of the other health benefits listed above, eating an abundance of superfoods is also linked to greater energy levels. This is because superfoods are often helpful in maintaining steady blood sugar levels, preventing the dreaded post-lunch slump.

     

    best superfoods




    What Are The Best Superfoods To Eat?

    Truth be told, the best superfoods to eat are those you like and those you can afford - it’s as simple as that! There are dozens of superfoods out there, with new ones added to the list all the time. Often those with the highest profiles are foods like sea vegetables, blue-green algae, chlorella, and acai berries because they have catchy names and look fancy on superfood lists, but in all honesty, the best superfoods to eat are those you already have in your home. Here are some everyday superfoods that you may already have in your fridge or pantry. 

    • Oats

    Virtually everyone has oats stashed away somewhere in their cupboard. Affordable, accessible, and versatile, they’re a tremendous introductory superfood that everyone can start adding to their diet. They’re high in soluble fiber, which can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, and are also a great plant-based protein source. Try adding them to your smoothies, making good old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast, or using oat flour for healthier baking, 

    • Blueberries

    All berries are superfoods, but blueberries are one of the best! Their vivid purple skin is packed with more antioxidants than acai berries, goji berries, or raspberries, and you’re far more likely to find them in your local grocery store. Eat them raw as a snack, use them frozen in your smoothies, or try them dried as a replacement for candy. 

    • Broccoli 

    Broccoli never gets the love it deserves despite being one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables in the world! That’s right - broccoli is actually better for you than kale and is probably one of the healthiest things you can eat. Try it steamed with a sprinkle of slivered almonds for some delicious crunch. 

    • Olive Oil 

    Another everyday cooking ingredient that rarely gets the appreciation it deserves is olive oil. People tend to focus on other more trendy oils like avocado or hemp oil when one of the healthiest oils has often been sitting in the cupboard all along. Packed with the antioxidant vitamin E and containing less polyunsaturated fat than avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil makes a delicious salad dressing mixed with lemon and some wholegrain mustard. 

    • Almonds

    Here at Ayoub’s, we’re nuts about all nuts, but almonds are one of our favorites. A rich source of heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals, you really can’t go wrong with a handful of almonds as a snack. For something a little more exciting, why not try lime and saffron almonds or spicy almonds with a kick of chili heat. 

    • Pumpkin Seeds

    There are so many super-seeds out there, but one of the cheapest and most easily accessible varieties are pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are like little nutrient bombs; each is packed with vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fat and tons of dietary fiber. If you’re eating a pumpkin or squash, then scoop out the seeds and roast them yourself, or alternatively, buy the seeds ready roasted. 



    Let’s Take A Moment To Appreciate Nuts And Seeds

    If you haven’t guessed it already, we think nuts and seeds are great and really are one of the few real superfoods. They may not be brightly colored or incredibly photogenic, but nuts and seeds are some of the most nutritious foods around and have been eaten for their health-giving properties for centuries. Still not convinced? Here are just five reasons why you need to give nuts and seeds some more credit.

    • They’re A Great Source Of Plant-Based Protein

    It’s undeniable that animal agriculture is a significant contributor to global climate change. Although we’re not saying that everyone should go vegan, we do think that it’s important to know a few great plant-based protein sources, and nuts and seeds are two of them. A 28g serving of almonds contains a massive 6g of protein, while the same serving of pumpkin seeds contains 5.8g, and if you have access to chia seeds, then they’re also excellent, with two tablespoons containing 4.69g of protein. 

    • They’re Packed With Antioxidants

    It’s not just berries that contain antioxidants; nuts and seeds are great at fighting free radicals too. Walnuts have particularly high levels of antioxidants, ranking second out of 1113 foods for their antioxidant content! 

    • Your Gut Will Thank You

    Eating processed foods can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Swapping out chips and candy for a healthy serving of nuts and seeds will do wonders for your gut and help restore your microbiome. The reason why nuts and seeds are so good for your gut is that they contain a high amount of fiber, which feeds your good gut bacteria. 

    • They’re Easy To Come By

    Unlike some more exotic superfoods, nuts and seeds are generally very easy to come by and are also quite affordable. Because they pack so much punch into their tiny stature, you only need to eat a small amount of them to feel their benefit, which means they’ll last you longer too. 

    • They’re Full Of Healthy Fats

    Last but not least, nuts and seeds are some of the best sources of monounsaturated fat. This good kind of fat can actually help to reverse the effect of eating too much bad fat by lowering your cholesterol levels and cleaning out your arteries. 


    As you can see, nuts and seeds have a lot going for them and deserve to be recognized for the nutritious, delicious, and healthy snacks they are. 



    The Low-Down On Superfood Powders And Supplements

    Increasingly, more and more superfoods are being turned into powders and supplement tablets. Although we have nothing against the sale of superfood powders and supplements, we do think it’s important to be aware of their pros and cons. 

    The Pros Of Superfood Powders 

    Superfood powders and supplement tablets have three main selling points - they’re convenient, don’t go off, and you don’t need to taste them. 

    Convenience

    We live in a world where convenience is very important and time is valuable. For people who don’t have the time to chop and wash kale, grate ginger or crush garlic, consuming these superfoods in powder or tablet form is much easier.

    Shelf Life

    One big complaint with fresh fruit and vegetables is that they tend to go off very quickly. Unless you’re shopping frequently and eating whole fresh foods every day, this means that you could end up with a lot of food waste. Superfood powders and supplements don’t have the same kind of shelf life and can last out of the refrigerator for weeks or even months. 

    Palatable 

    Let’s face it, not everyone likes the taste of kale or broccoli, and so the idea of being able to consume their nutrients in powder or pill form is very appealing. Green powders can be blended into chocolate flavored smoothies, and tablets can be swallowed with no taste at all, making them an easy way for fussier eaters to consumer superfood nutrients. 

    The Cons of Superfood Powders

    Although superfood powders and supplements can definitely benefit some people, they’re not always better than merely consuming whole foods. First and foremost, superfood powder products are often expensive, not to mention their nutritional content can be altered through processing and making them too easy to eat can lead to an overconsumption of specific vitamins. 

    Cost

    By taking whole foods like kale and turning them into a powder, brands can stick a costly superfood label on their product. This superfood tax, coupled with the cost of production, often makes products like powders and supplements very expensive for what they are. 

    They May Not Be As Nutritious  

    Another important thing to understand is that drying out and powdering a whole food can change its nutritional composition. Depending on the way that certain powders have been produced, they could be less nutritious than they claim to be, and it’s also much easier to missell a powder than to sell a fake bunch of kale. 

    It’s Easy To Overdose On Certain Vitamins

    Finally, adding a scoop of green powder here and another one there may seem harmless, but if you add too much of any superfood into your diet, then you risk over-consuming certain nutrients. To avoid overdosing on vitamin powders, always stick to the recommended serving size.

    So Which Is Better?

    Ultimately, we believe that eating whole foods is always going to be better for you than eating processed powders or supplements. However, if eating whole foods isn’t possible, then superfood powders or pills are a good alternative when used correctly. 


    Four Easy Ways To Encourage Yourself To Eat More Superfoods 

    So you’ve decided to give superfoods a try - good on you! Now you just need to start eating them. Bringing new foods into your diet, especially healthy ones, can be a bit challenging, especially if the foods you are replacing are loaded with addictive sugar or fat. Here are some simple ways to incorporate more superfoods into your diet. 

    • Start By Upgrading One Meal 

    Rather than overhauling your whole diet, it’s easier to start with just one meal. Why not try swapping sugary breakfast cereal or toast for oatmeal topped with berries or a superfood smoothie? Swap sandwiches at lunch for a superfood salad, or bring in a couple of new superfood vegetables to your evening meal.

    • Sprinkle Super Powers On Your Food 

    Nuts and seeds like chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds make generous superfood sprinkles, as do dried blueberries and goji berries! Sprinkle them on your oatmeal, on yogurt, on cereal, on ice cream, or even on top of salads for an effortless nutritional boost. Make things easy for yourself by setting up a sprinkle station and placing your superfood sprinkles in plain sight, so you remember to add them to your dishes. 

    • Keep Snacks Super Simple

    Don’t go crazy on superfood snacks - keep them nice and simple. By far, the easiest and one of the healthiest super snacks to make is a simple fruit and nut mix packed with delicious dried fruit and nutritious nuts and seeds. Easy to eat, convenient, and filled with the nutrients you need to feel full for longer, fruit and nut mix ticks all the snack boxes without taking up too much of your time. 

    • Drink Your Superfoods

    Another easy way to consume more superfoods is to drink them. Ditch coffee for green tea, a turmeric latte, or some matcha, which are all packed with antioxidants. For a convenient breakfast or lunch on the go, get out your blender and make a super smoothie crammed with superfoods like kale, spinach, peanut butter, banana, and chia seeds.  

     

    superfood drinks




    How To Make Superfoods More Affordable

    Another widespread reason why people feel they can’t eat more superfoods is that they perceive them as being too expensive. The truth is, some superfoods are overpriced, but others are much more budget-friendly. Here are our top tips to help you eat more superfoods without breaking your budget. 

    • Choose Whole Foods Over Powders

    As we’ve mentioned previously, superfood powders can be helpful for some people, but they aren’t the cheapest way to consume superfoods. If you’re on a budget, then it’s always best to stick to real whole foods and to use them as the basis of your meal, rather than needing to do a full grocery shop and then paying for the price of superfood powders on the top.  

    • Choose Common Superfoods

    You don’t need to be eating exotic superfoods to feel their benefit. Some of the best superfoods are the most common ones like bell peppers, broccoli, nuts, and berries. Stick to superfoods that are available in your grocery store, and don’t feel as though you need to buy superfoods just because they’re hot on social media. 

    • Buy Your Fruit And Vegetables Frozen   

    Buying your fruit and vegetables frozen is a great way to keep your food costs down. Frozen produce is often much cheaper than fresh because it can be harvested when the produce is in season. Buying frozen is also an easy way to reduce your preparation time as most frozen fruits and vegetables are already chopped, peeled, and prepared, ready to defrost and eat. 

    • Buy Ingredients In Bulk

    Bulk buying is another simple way to make your money go further. Pantry superfoods like nuts, seeds, and beans can all be kept for weeks, months, or even years when stored correctly, so if you have space, why not buy a big bag and save yourself some money. 

    • Buy When Things Are In Season

    Last but not least, certain superfoods come down in price dramatically when they are in season. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries tend to be much cheaper when they can be grown locally, so stock up when they are in season and then switch to local winter fruits for the winter season. Buying your produce when it is in season is also better for the environment and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.



    Where To Buy Superfoods You Can Trust 

    Because superfoods are largely unregulated, it’s unsurprising that the superfood industry has seen its fair share of scams. Online scammers have sold fake superfood products, websites have overhyped the health claims of their products, and as a result, it is unsurprising that people are wary of buying superfoods as a result. 

    Seeing Through Superfood Marketing Statements

    One of the biggest problems with the word ‘superfood’ is that it is still used primarily as a marketing statement. Foods that bear the superfood label are often priced higher with little or no nutritional difference, and this has led to mistrust in the term. To avoid paying more for something just because it has been called a superfood, it is critical to look through creative marketing and to focus on the product that lies beneath. 


    On top of superfood inflation, customers also need to contend with false advertising in which companies may use inflated statistics gathered from experiments that are not credible. If a statistic looks too good to be true, then it could be. Where possible, look for the source of the statistic and take a look at what trial or experiment was conducted to reach the result.

    So Where Can You Buy Superfoods You Trust? 

    In our opinion, there are three key ways to ensure that you are buying superfoods you can trust, and they are:

    Stick To Buying Whole Foods Where Possible

    It’s much harder to sell fake kale than it is to sell phony kale powder. Where possible, try to stick to whole food superfoods as it is clear what you are buying and what you are being sold. 

    Check Customer Reviews

    Customer reviews can be beneficial because they tell you if other people have had any problems with the product or brand. If a retailer has no reviews on their site, then they could be new to the market, and it is difficult to know if you can trust them to deliver what they promise.

    Check For A Satisfaction Guarantee 

    Finally, the mark of a company that genuinely cares about the quality of the products they sell is an explicit satisfaction guarantee. Here at Ayoub’s, that means that anything you buy from us can be returned to us for a full refund if you are not satisfied with the product or do not believe it is up to our standards. If the company has a satisfaction guarantee, you can confidently buy from them, knowing that should the product not meet your expectations, you won’t end up out of pocket. 


    So there you have it - hopefully, these three tips will help you buy superfoods with more confidence. 



    Using Superfoods At Home - Recipe Section 

    To end this guide, we wanted to leave you with some of our favorite ways to eat superfoods, including three super smoothie recipes and a recipe for a delicious warm salmon salad. 

    Peanut Butter And Banana Superfood Smoothie

    Peanut butter and banana are two foods that go perfectly together. There’s a massive 34g of protein in this recipe, and you’ll only need five ingredients to make it! Simply add them all to your blender and whizz away. 


    • 1 cup of milk (or plant milk)
    • ½ a cup of greek yogurt 
    • 1 large banana 
    • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (or another nut butter)
    • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds 

    Smoothie Tip

    The thickness of your smoothie may vary depending on whether you’re using fresh or frozen banana and the thickness of your yogurt. If your smoothie is too thick, then add in more milk. If it’s too thin, then add in a tablespoon of oats at a time. Oats are a great way to thicken your smoothies, and they add even more protein too! 

    Green Superfood Smoothie

    Green smoothies are super nutritious and are the perfect way to hide leafy greens that you may not usually eat. In this recipe, we’re using spinach, but you could substitute this for kale if you’d rather. Although greens may not immediately scream protein, there’s a whole 33g in this smoothie thanks to the greek yogurt and chia seeds. Here’s what you’ll need:


    • 1/2 a cucumber 
    • 2 large handfuls of spinach 
    • 1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
    • 1 banana 
    • 2 cups of milk (or plant milk)
    • ½ a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt 
    • ½ an avocado 
    • A tablespoon of chia seeds

    Smoothie Tip

    Frozen fruit is often more affordable than fresh fruit, especially if the fruit is out of season. Remember, frozen fruit will make your smoothie thicker, and you may need to adjust your liquid content.

    Super Berry Smoothie

    The final smoothie recipe we wanted to share is this bright purple berry smoothie, which provides 30g of protein. Crammed with antioxidants, your body is going to love this nutritious drink! We’ve used blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, but you could use a bag of mixed frozen berries or substitute in whatever berries you like. You will need: 


    • 1 cup of frozen pineapple 
    • ½ a cup of frozen blueberries
    • ½ a cup of frozen strawberries 
    • ½ a cup of frozen blackberries 
    • 2 cups of milk or plant milk
    • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter 
    • ½ a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt 

    Smoothie Tip

    Sometimes berry smoothies can be a bit sour. Pineapple is a great way to sweeten a sour smoothie, or you could add in a banana. This recipe uses frozen fruit for a thick frappe like texture, but you could also use fresh fruit if you have it available. 



    How To Make A Warm Superfood Salmon Salad 

    This salmon salad recipe is extremely healthy because it is packed with nutritious superfood ingredients, including salmon, wild rice, sweet potato, almonds, kale, red onions, and pumpkin seeds. This is also the perfect salad recipe for people who don’t like salads because there’s not a lettuce lead in sight!


    Introducing The Superfood Ingredients You Will Need

     

    • Salmon (For protein, omega-3’s and vitamin D)
    • Wild Rice (Another source of protein as well as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc)
    • Sweet Potato (A great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6)
    • Chopped almonds (For heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber)
    • Kale (Packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and antioxidants)
    • Red Onion (A great source of cancer-fighting flavanols)
    • Pumpkin Seeds (Nutrient powerhouses providing protein, fiber vitamins, and minerals)
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Fantastic source of antioxidants and healthy fats that reduce cholesterol)
    • Apple Cider Vinegar (Antimicrobial and helps blood sugar regulation)
    • Lemon Juice (A boost of vitamin C and other vital phytochemicals)
    • Wholegrain Mustard (Rich in copper and iron and beneficial for cardiac health)
    • Honey (Beneficial for the immune system and boost energy levels)
    • Garlic (Excellent source of vitamin B6 as well as manganese, selenium, and vitamin C)
    • Black Pepper (Improves digestion and boosts the metabolism)

    How To Make This Delicious Salmon Salad Recipe

    One of the reasons why we wanted to share this salmon salad recipe is because it is so versatile! If you’re missing some of the ingredients, then no problem! If you don’t have kale, then you can use spinach or even steamed broccoli. If you’re missing the sliced almonds, then try pistachios or peanuts. You can even change the lemon vinaigrette for a salad dressing of your choice or the salmon for an alternative protein. We’re not here to make the rules - you do you - just keep superfoods in the forefront of your mind. 


     Preparing Your Salmon Salad

    1. In this recipe, the wild rice takes the longest to cook and so you’ll want to start cooking it right away. The best way to cook wild rice is to follow the instructions on the back of the pack, which usually involves simmering the wild rice on the stove for between 30-40 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry or don’t want to wait that long, then keep an eye out for microwave wild rice, which cooks in 60 seconds.)
    2. In the time it takes for your rice to cook, you should be able to prepare and cook all of the other salad components. Start by slicing your red onion into thin slices and placing them in a small bowl with ½ a cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of honey, and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt. Give everything a gentle stir and set aside for the red onion slices to quickly pickle. 
    3. For a simple lemon vinaigrette, combine a clove of minced garlic, a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard, the juice of one lemon, two tablespoons of honey, ½ a cup of olive oil, and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar together with two tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper. Adjust your dressing to your tastes, adding more lemon juice for acidity or honey for sweetness.
    4. So your kale is ready to go, give it a good wash and chop it into bite-size pieces removing any large, tough stems. If using baby kale, then your leaves should already be nice and tender; if they’re older, then you may want to give them a gentle massage first to soften them. If you’re using broccoli then, it will need to be steamed first.  
    5. Moving onto your sweet potato. Chop your sweet potato with the skin still on into small cubes (approximately ¼ inch square). Season with a little salt and pepper and then spread out on a baking tray. Roast at 200 celsius or 400 Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes or until soft. 
    6. Once your sweet potato is in the oven, it’s time to focus on your salmon. Rub your salmon fillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add your salmon fillet with the skin side facing down and cook for 4 minutes until the skin is nice and crispy. 
    7. After four minutes, skin side down, gently turn your salmon fillet, and cook for a further 3 minutes until cooked through. If you’re using a very thick salmon fillet, then this time may need to be increased. 
    8. If you’ve got your timings right, then your salmon, sweet potato, and wild rice should all be ready at roughly the same time, which means we’re ready to assemble the salad. 
    9. Drain your pickled red onion slices and toss them in a big bowl with your kale leaves, warm sweet potato chunks, freshly cooked wild rice, and a generous drizzle of your lemon vinaigrette. Mix everything until combined, and then add to your plate. Top your salad mix with a handful of chopped almonds and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds for some delicious crunch and texture before topping the whole dish off with your crispy salmon fillet.

    10. Enjoy!


    So there you have it - we hope you’ve enjoyed this quick guide to superfoods and now feel a bit more confident adding them to your diet.

    September 28, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: superfoods

    Salted Chocolate Cashew Cookies

    Sea-salt chocolate is all the craze these days, and for all the right reasons. These chewy, goo-ey salted cashew cookies are so good you’ll wish you found this recipe sooner. 
    September 22, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: recipes

    Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

    The perfect balance of sweet and salty goodness, these will be a go-to appetizer for your next dinner party! If you're not a fan of goats cheese, you can use feta!

    Ingredients:

    • 16 dates
    • 8 slices of bacon, sliced in half
    • 4oz goats cheese
    • Fresh/dried rosemary

    Method:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Slice the dates lengthwise on one side and remove the pit.
    3. Using a spoon, stuff the goat cheese into the each date and press the sides together to close.
    4. Wrap each date in a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
    5. Arrange evenly on a baking sheet with raised edges and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the dates and use the toothpick to flip each date. Bake for another 5-8 minutes or until browned to your liking, and turn the dates to the other side and repeat. Remove from the oven, place on a paper towel lined plate, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

     

    September 15, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: recipes

    Dark Chocolate Fudge Nut Brownies

    Here at Ayoub’s, our chocolate obsession has got us continuously coming back to this delicious little recipe. If you’re not a fan of cakey brownies then this is the one for you! Fudgey, nutty and oh so chocolatey....
    September 01, 2021 by Gillian Brady
    Tags: recipes