Luckily, there are a solid few that have stood the test of time and managed to stick around. In celebration, we thought we’d share the inside scoop on what makes these powerhouse ingredients so popular and why they feature in so many of our Mao classics!
To kick things off, let’s start with none other than the trend that has taken over many Irish dinner tables these last few years.. .sweet potatoes! The orange goddess of vitamin A, just one sweet potato holds as much as 438% of your daily value of vitamin A!
Not sold yet? Check out some of these whopping health benefits home to the sweet potato:
With so many functions of the immune system relying on vitamin A, it’s easy to see why sweet potatoes are a fantastic immunity booster. Regulating immune responses, vitamin A is paramount in fighting everything from common colds and flues to autoimmune diseases and illnesses like cancer. Simultaneously, the vegetable is packed full of other health boosting nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, iron and vitamin B6 and it doesn’t stop there! Also a homeowner to potassium, dietary fiber and niacin, we think it’s pretty safe to say the sweet potato has rightfully earned it’s place at the top of our list!
While so many things that taste sweet tend to cause blood sugar levels to spike, you can rest assured good ol’ sweet potatoes come in peace! While they truly deliver in terms of sweetness and flavour, panic not your blood sugar levels are in safe hands as despite their natural sweetness we can promise they remain low in sugar.
Whether you have a recurring throat infection or stubborn back pain, for many people, inflammation is the root of all health problems. A pesky but often treatable discomfort, inflammation can be a real source of pain. Enter to the rescue, vitamin A!
With antioxidant properties, vitamin A neutralises the body’s free radicals that would normally cause cellular damage. This prevents cells from becoming inflamed and putting the body under stress. While there are many vitamin A supplements out there, why not save yourself the hassle and go the natural (and tasty) route with sweet potatoes?! Instead of wasting money on supplements, remember you can get as much as 438% of your recommended daily vitamin A intake from just one sweet potato! We know which tactic we prefer!
Whether you go full throttle and eat sweet potatoes every day or simply include them in a salad every ow and then, keep up your intake of sweet potatoes and watch your skin and hair thank you! Essential for healing wounds and for cell renewal, vitamin A acts like a support system to skin cells and is key in terms of extra defense and overall healing of the skin barrier. In short, whether you have a dull complexion or a few pesky spots, a healthy intake of vitamin A is crucial! Helping the body to produce more collagen, vitamin A is also a handy little number for those of you looking to keep laughter lines and wrinkles at bay!
Last but by no means least, beta carotene in the form of vitamin A is also hugely important in the day to day function of eyesight. Along with keeping your eyes healthy, it is also useful in preventing eye defects such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Instead of forking out on health store vitamins designed to improve eye health, this tasty vegetable is ready and waiting to do just the very job for you! In short, whether your immune system is a little lack lustre or your skin needs a pick me up, there are more than enough reasons to reach for the sweet potato. Jam packed with goodness and a zillion other health benefits, it’s safe to say this is one craze that isn’t going anywhere!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard much ado about coconut milk for the last two years! Featuring in many of our Mao curries from massaman to penang, we are in full agreement that coconut milk has truly earned it’s place on our list of powerhouse ingredients! Aside from making everything taste delicious, coconut milk also packs a hell of a punch when it comes to health boosting properties so everybody wins!
Overall Health – while the coconut craze came out of nowhere and blind sided us all, we can vouch for the fact that it’s not without good reason! One of the top nutritional benefits home to coconut milk is that it supports a healthy heart.
Lauric Acid- A fantastic source of lauric acid, it contains healthy fatty acids which help improve good cholesterol levels. Simultaneously, it provides antiviral and antibacterial properties perfect for giving a pesky head cold the old one-two!
Weight Loss- Although coconut milk has a rich consistency, surprisingly enough it is fantastic for weight loss and even is helpful for those of you looking to tone up and build muscle! After exercise, your body muscles are in serious need of of nutrients, namely those of which are found in coconut milk. With potassium and magnesium, coconut milk helps broken down muscle tissue to repair and also grow back stronger. Amazing, we know! Containing healthy fats and possessing a rich and creamy consistency, it is also filling which helps those of us with a niggling sweet tooth or who enjoy snacking throughout the day!
Nutritional Benefits- Thankfully, coconut milk is as nutritious as it is tasty. Rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 along with minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium, there is a whole lot for your body to love about coconut milk! As an added bonus, those of you with a lactose intolerance will be happy to know that coconut milk is also completely free of lactose!
Last but by no means least, a food which has skyrocketed in popularity lately is none other than brown rice. A trend steadily on the rise, we are in full agreement that brown rice is fully deserving of its new popularity. While you might be aware that brown rice is a healthier takeaway option, take it from us, the list of nutritional benefits associated with it are endless!
If you’re planning on starting a health kick anytime soon, you’ll be happy to know it doesn’t have to be all leaves and berries! One of the best kept secrets about brown rice is that it is a healthy carbohydrate that the body can easily digest and even comes with a string of other health beneficial feats! Although filling, brown rice is a fantastic source of fibre and can actually promote weight loss and keep the body’s metabolism in check. A powerful antioxidant, brown rice also protects cells from oxidative damage during energy production and can even help prevent against illness such as coronary heart diseases.
Possibly the best kept secret home to brown rice is that germinated rice holds anti-depressant qualities. Essential amino acids such as glycerin, glutamine, and GABA, brown rice helps reduce messages sent to the brain associated with depression, anxiety and stress making it a powerful food source for boosting mental health.
Last but by no means least, did you know that regular consumption of brown rice can actually help lower your risk of developing diabetes? Just a half portion of brown rice a day can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by as much as 60%. Helping stabilize blood sugar levels, it’s the perfect alternative for diabetics. So whether you’re a health nut or you have a raging sweet tooth and a die hard love for comfort food, panic not, you’ll be happy to know you can actually maintain a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying some seriously great tastes and flavours. With a string of benefits from your skin and hair to your heart and even mental health, these foodie powerhouses are sure to see you straight.
Whether you make it a priority to gorge on each of these ingredients over the next few months or slowly introduce them into your diet, integrate these gems into your diet in some way or form.
Check out the full version of Mao’s delicious menu here to see these knockout ingredients in action!