Newtrition: Which superfoods are good for you according to your body type?

While it’s common knowledge that having a proper nutritional diet is essential if you want to lead a healthy life, just what constitutes ‘proper nutrition’ is far more open to debate. So, where is the best place to start? As a rule of thumb, seek out the most natural items and, in particular, those that genuine nutritionists have deemed to be superfoods.


While there is no generally-accepted prescriptive definition of just what constitutes a superfood, the scientific community broadly concurs that term is applicable to any “nutrient-rich food that is especially beneficial for health and well-being.” Celine Beitchman, director of nutrition education and chef instructor at New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute, narrows it down further saying that superfoods are those that are “more nutrient-dense compared to their caloric value, allowing us to make the most of our calories.”

If a slight flight of fancy may be excused, it may be easier to envisage these body-boosting natural battery-rechargers as nature’s own superheroes – the Amazing Avocado, Wonder Watermelon and the like. Which one, though, is your personal health hero? Check below and match any enduring ailments with their natural nutritional nemesis…


Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure?
Do you get overly out of breath after exercise?
Do you find yourself panting after climbing stairs?
Have you been diagnosed as having a weak heart?


If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then maybe you should bite into a beet as soon as possible. Beets are packed with nitrates that, in turn, produce nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes and dilates the blood vessels, turning them into speedy highways for your nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood, resulting in better circulation and lower blood pressure.

They are also rich in betaine, a plant alkaloid, as well as Vitamin B, a combination that helps lower the level of homocysteine in your blood stream, reducing the risks of artery damage and heart disease. Beets, however, contain natural sugars – about nine grams per average serving – so diabetics are best advised to give this particular purple remedy a miss.


Do you suffer from frequent indigestion?
Do you get acid reflux after drinking alcohol?
Do you feel bloated even after a light meal?
Are your bowel movements not as regular as they once were?


Almost everybody has digestive problems occasionally, but should such symptoms persist, then maybe you should consider adding a generous helping of sauerkraut to your diet. While most people consider it only as a hot-dog condiment, it’s essentially fermented cabbage and contains a high level of ‘good’ bacteria – or probiotics –  that can help soothe the stomach and combat inflammation.

Some studies have also shown that probiotics may even help Crohn’s sufferers or those with ulcerative colitis. Sauerkraut also contains the kind of enzymes that help the body break down food into smaller, digestible components, which in turn helps to absorb nutrients.


Do you think your skin has lost its glow?
Is it somewhat dry and flaky?
Do you suffer from acne from time to time?
Is your beauty cupboard well-stocked with anti-wrinkle creams?


If you found yourself nodding in resigned agreement to one or more of the above problems, maybe it’s time to supplement your night creams and moisturising masks with a spoonful or two of avocado. While the beauty industry has famously co-opted this fruit in an array of creams, serums, lotions and oils, just consuming an avocado is every bit as effective (not to mention cheaper).

Packed with poly- and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (notably Omega 9), it helps regenerate damaged skin cells, resulting in an epidermis that’s epically dewy and firm. The Omega 9 fatty acids, for one, keep the top dermal layer moisturised, without giving rise to any excessive oiliness (which also cuts back on incidents of acne). And, if that wasn’t enough, avocados are also rich in potassium, lecithin and other skin-nourishing nutrients.

Immune System

Are you prone to persistent colds?
Do you find yourself coughing and sneezing constantly?
Do you find yourself catching infections rather easily?
Do your wounds take longer to heal than once upon a time?


If you find that most of these conditions strike a chord, then the bad news is your immune system is perhaps not as strong as it ought to be. The good news, however, is that help is very close at hand indeed – in fact, it’s only as far away as your nearest fruit bowl. Citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons – are all excellent sources of immunity-building Vitamin C. In fact, there’s 51mg in an average orange, 38mg in a grapefruit and 30mg in a lemon – making them the recommended go-to fruits in the run-up to Hong Kong’s famously long flu season.

While Vitamin C can’t actually prevent colds, research suggests it might reduce their duration and severity. Citrus fruits also help absorb another element that’s vital for your body’s immunity system – iron, a mineral that helps your body produce red blood cells. With the human body typically needing as little as 30mg of Vitamin C per day, one of the easiest ways of incorporating citrus fruits into your diet is by squeezing just the tiniest bit of lemon into your water or tong ling cha daily.

Text: Suchetana Mukhopadhyay