Forget maca powder and goji berries, what about the nutrient-rich foods grown and raised in Ireland that are jam-packed with vital vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and healthy enzymes? You won’t know yourself once you eat these gems.

It’s January, so you’re probably blue in the face with people telling you about their New Year’s Resolutions to stick to a diet or start up some crazy new activity, like aerial yoga or extreme spinning, but we’re here with some common sense! Basic knowledge of superfoods grown and reared in Ireland.

What are superfoods you ask?

What exactly are superfoods?

What exactly are superfoods?

A superfood is defined as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” Now what could be more sensible a New Year’s Resolution than to get more of these glorious homegrown foods into you. Superfoods are foods with a dense concentration of vital vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, healthy enzymes or other healthy properties that help to treat, lower the risk of or prevent specific diseases and maladies.

Read more about Irish food and drink on IrishCentral here

Of course, superfoods that have become super-trendy over the last years come from exotic places – like maca powder hailing from Peru or goji berries from China – but what about the potential goodness of Irish grown fruit, veg, and even fish.

IrishCentral has pulled together a list of some home-grown Irish superfoods and explained exactly why they’re so good for you.

Beetroot

Beautiful beetroot.

Beautiful beetroot.

Beetroot a firm favorite for Irish salads and more recently as a roast veg side are brimming with nutritional value. The greens of this veg are especially beneficial and can be cooked just like spinach, boiled in a pot.

They are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. They’re also an excellent source in folic acid and a very good source of fiber, manganese, and potassium.

Beetroot is jam-packed with nitrates which, when ingested convert into nitric oxide aiding to lower blood pressure.

Oats

Humble oats.

Humble oats.

Love porridge? Then you’re in luck.

Oats are a great source of fiber, especially beta-glucan, and are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including B1, B5, iron, manganese and antioxidant plant compound. They are, in fact, the only source of a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, believed to protect against heart disease. They also contain large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber.

No wonder they remain one of Ireland’s breakfast favorites. Talk about setting you up for the day!

Read more: Wholesome porridge could help you live longer says experts

Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen.

Bee Pollen.

These strange little yellow granules, that happily to any salad, soup or even porridge, are a complete protein, incredibly rich in rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and anti-oxidants.

Bee Pollen is considered an immune system builder that enhances vitality, is a great brain booster, lifts brain fatigue, improves alertness and helps concentration levels over an extended period of time.

It’s also found to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help reduce stress levels due to its high magnesium and B vitamin content.

Wow! By the sounds of this, we’d like to jump in a Bee Pollen bath, please!

Seaweed

Seaweed on Irish shores.

Seaweed on Irish shores.

Those Japanese know what they’re at right!? Seaweed contains a whole boatload of vitamins and mineral including vitamin K, B vitamins, zinc, and iron, along with antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage.

Seaweeds contain lignans (naturally occurring chemical compounds), which have anti-cancer properties, and chlorophyll, a powerful, natural detoxifier that helps to draw out waste products.

It’s also low in calories and fat. However, it’s good to remember that consuming too much iodine, in the form of seaweed, could harm your thyroid function. Little and often is best when it comes to seaweed.

Read more: The health benefits of Irish moss

Salmon

Delicious salmon.

Delicious salmon.

The best brain food. Fish and shellfish are nutrient-dense and salmon is no exception, in fact, it’s the king. Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12, but it is their content of omega-3 fatty acids that receives the most attention. That’s what wins this oily fish’s reputation as a valuable “brain food”.

Read more: Irish smoked salmon over potato boxty pancakes recipe

Barley

Barley.

Barley.

Use it in stews, soups, as a replacement for rice or even porridge oats, there are plenty of ways to use this ancient food.

Barley contains important vitamins and minerals, including fiber, selenium, B vitamins, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin and more. It can with maintaining a healthy digestive system, lowering cholesterol levels and may even lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Read more: Clodagh McKenna’s Irish lamb stew with pearl barley recipe

Pumpkin

Pumpkin.

Pumpkin.

The much-loved Halloween centerpiece, the pumpkin contains vitamins C and E, as well as the antioxidant beta-carotene, a compound that converts into a form of vitamin A to assist in eye protection and the prevention of cataracts.

Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is converted to serotonin, a chemical associated with healthy sleep and happiness.

Read more: Warming fresh pumpkin soup recipe

Live E3 algae

Live E3 algae.

Live E3 algae.

A pretty new one to us, these blue-green sea-algae contains over 65 vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids, including minerals thiamine, riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin, biotin, and pantothenic acid. Vitamin B2 natural immunity as it strengthens the antibody reserves and body defenses, including the immune, endocrine, nervous, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems.

Snails

And lastly.... Snails!

And lastly.... Snails!

We know! Gross! But there’s a reason that fossils of cooked snails shells have been found in archaeological excavations proving that prehistoric humans had already figured out that snails are a great source of nutrition. Even today, following in the wise steps of the Romans, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French continue to eat the lowly snail.

Why? Snails contain essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and are a rich source of vitamins E, A, K, and B12. Magnesium helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.

And before you ask, yes Ireland has a snail farm!

Did we leave any superfoods grown in Ireland you’d like to have included? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read more: Reasons potatoes are a true superfood

H/T: Newstalk, BBC Good Food.

Looking to live your best and healthiest life? What about munching down on this Irish grown superfoods.Getty