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06/27/2014 12:25 EDT | Updated 08/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Oh Canada! 5 Superfoods That Are Uniquely Canadian

Oh Canada! While we may be known for some of our more decadent fare, like poutine and butter tarts, we are actually home to some of the world's greatest superfoods that can help keep up healthy all summer long! So even if this weekend may be more about BBQ and dockside beers, try including some of these healthy eats.

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Oh Canada! While we may be known for some of our more decadent fare, like poutine and butter tarts, we are actually home to some of the world's greatest superfoods that can help keep up healthy all summer long! So even if this weekend may be more about BBQ and dockside beers, try including some of these healthy eats.... You'll be glowing brighter than any firework display!

  1. Maple Syrup: the quintessential Canadian flavour, this sweet liquid is a concentrated dose of manganese and zinc, which both serve as antioxidants as well as keeping your immune system healthy. Not just for breakfast try using maple syrup as glaze for fish, to add a distinct flavour to salad dressings, or as a healthy sweetener in baked goods.
  2. Mustard: Did you know that Canada grows over 90 per cent of the world's mustard and is home to the biggest and oldest mustard mill? Mustard seeds are part of the brassica family, and just like their relatives, kale and broccoli, contain glucosinolates; a unique phytochemical that has been shown help protect against cancer. Ditch the French's or Grey Poupon and opt for a Canadian variety like Anton Kozlik's.
  3. Wild Blueberries: also known as "lowbush" these blueberries are native to Eastern and certain parts of Central Canada, and are prized for the intense blueberry flavour. Considered to have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among fruits, as well as impressive levels of Vitamins K and C, these berries are the ultimate summer indulgence. Look for them in farmer's markets in the upcoming weeks and use as you would the "highbush" varieties.
  4. Hemp Seeds: Grown in Western Canada, hemp is an extremely sustainable crop that can be grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides. A complete plant-based protein, and a source of essential fatty acids, fibre and trace minerals, hemp seeds add a great-tasting nuttiness to smoothies, salads and baked goods.
  5. Lentils: While lentils may be a staple in the cuisines of the world (think French and Indian), Saskatchewan is actually the world's largest exporter and the world's second largest grower of green lentils. Quick and easy to prepare, lentils provide a great source of protein and fibre, which help to keep blood sugar levels stable, energy levels high, and hearts healthy. Try using them in salads or vegetarian burgers, or plant-based pates.

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