HomeFoodWhat are the superfoods in our own backyard?

What are the superfoods in our own backyard?

Do you eat any bush foods? Could you even name any?

If the answer is no to both, then you may be doing yourself and your health a disservice.

Let’s go through some, and their amazing health benefits.


It’s probably one of the best-known bushfoods, but its health properties are only just becoming known, to us at least. Indigenous Australians have been eating them for thousands of years.

Researcher Sera Susan Jacob has recently published a paper exploring wattleseed and found this teensy seed should have a broader application as an ingredient.

“The legume is currently used as a flavouring ingredient because of its taste and aroma, but my studies show there are different ways to take advantage of its nutritional properties by using it as a major ingredient,” Ms Jacob told foodprocessing.com.au.

Ms Jacobs said wattleseed is high in protein, fibre and low in starch, but also has compounds with a lot of anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic benefits. 

It also has a low glycaemic index, making it suitable for diabetic foods and contains high concentrations of potassium, calcium, iron and zinc. In fact they have more iron than chickpeas.

However, while it’s still just usually used as a flavouring, we may be catching on. Food production of wattleseed tripled from about six tonnes in 2011 to 18.5 tonnes in 2020. 

Kakadu plum

This tiny fruit has the highest concentration of vitamin C in any fruit. And not by a bit. 

It has 2300-3150 micrograms of vitamin C per 100g of wet weight. If that means nothing to you, then for comparison oranges have 50mg/100g of vitamin C of wet weight. And that figure for the plum is only an average. Some fruits have been measured up to 5300mg/100g.

It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants, has some anti-inflammatory properties, is high in dietary fibre and is a good source of magnesium and calcium. 

It’s also quite the multitasker, as according to the University of Queensland a powder extracted from the plum can be used to extend the shelf life of frozen food and seafood.

The world is waking up to this fantastic little fruit, which is causing a few problems.

The extracted powder currently sells for hundreds of dollars a kilo, which naturally has made the raw product highly attractive.

As a result, the Northern Territory government created a five-year plan to manage the trees so they are not harvested out of existence. The plan ended last year, so it will be interesting to see how commercial production continues.  


Yet another weird little fruit that Australia does so well.

Flavour-wise, it’s very much like a tart peach, and indeed it is also known as the native peach, dessert peach or wild peach.

They are not quite the heavy hitter in the vitamin C department as Kakadu plums, but do have twice the vitamin C level of oranges. They are also a good source of vitamin E, folate, magnesium and calcium and a valuable source of iron and zinc.

From personal experience, they also make a mighty fine jam and are great stewed and then eaten with ice cream.

And that’s just the fruit. The seeds are recognised for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. But don’t just gnaw down on the seed. They have to be powdered first.  

Bunya nut

The bunya pine cone that produces the bunya nut was once considered an annoying waste product by European settlers, however Indigenous Australians have always highly valued this food.

We hope they catch on in the wider population more slowly, because the bunya pine is slow growing, and slow to fruit. Bunya pines typically only start producing ‘fruits’ – actually pine cones – once the tree is 25-30 years old and even then only fruits every two to three years.  

Bunya nuts are extracted from the fruits and were once a vital source of food for Indigenous Australians.

They are primarily starchy, not oily, and while low in protein and fat, they contain essential amino acids and are also a source of dietary minerals including magnesium, iron, manganese and copper.

Do you eat any bush foods? How do you cook them? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Can your diet improve arthritis

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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