I am sure everyone has heard the term “super-food”. Although it is not a term that is often used by dieticians or nutrition scientisits, it is used to describe various foods with particular health benefits. A lot of times this word gets tossed around readily and can be some what of a marketing tool. However some merit does hold true in the fact that these foods have disease preventing propertise and usually have high content of anti-oxidents, vitamins and nutrients. With so many super-foods being advertised to us, it is no wonder that it can be some what overwhelming. Foods that are marketed as a superfood are often more expensive, and health food companies such as Vega, package them and sell them in fancy bottles for expensive prices. If I consumed every super-food someone had suggested to me, my grocery bill would be huge, I’d be taking a million capsules each day and my morning smoothies with be nothing but various powders, vegetable juices and fruit. Although this is a close description to what my smoothie is, I have narrowed it down to adding only a few that provide health benefits that I am looking for.
How can you add “superfoods” to your diet?
Basically by eating a diet rich in antioxidents, nutrients and vitamins, there is no secret potion or magic food. It is all about eating a balaned diet with fruit, vegetables, whole-grains (or alternatives for gluten intolerant), and protein. A lot of people take vitamins to supplement nutrient they feel they might not be getting from their diet. A basic rule of thumb is eating a colourful diet, with as many vegetables as you can cram in. I also suggest following a “whole-foods diet”, in which you are essentially making everything from scratch. A whole-food is a food that is in itself, whole. There is nothing added to it. Eating prepackaged, premade foods often means you are consuming extra salt, sugar, and potential chemicals. By eating this way, essentially you are eating a diet rich in super-foods because these whole foods are packed with various vitamins, nutrients and antioxidents. However, that being said, there are some super-foods that you might have never heard of, or considered adding to your diet! Here are my favourites:
The reason Chia seeds are so beneficial is due to them being rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals such as:
-Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids
It contains antioxidants which can help eat up free radicals, improving tissue rejuvenation and decreasing inflammation. Chia seeds are high in dietary fibre so help to improve digestive health and encourage regulatory. chia seeds also create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach and can work as a prebiotic supporting the growth of probiotics in the gut.
The benefits are endless.. and I will let this article describe the rest of them:
Chlorella is a dark green single celled algae. Sounds absolutely delicious, I know! Chlorella is very high in protein and other essential nutrients, it is also a source of natural fat, and fibre. So what makes it a super food? Studies have been carried out about chlorella and this is the information that has been found, but not 100% conclusive.
1. It is a powerful detoxifaction aid and helps the body break down heavy metals and various toxins while strengthening the bodies immune response. The process of detoxification of heavy metals and chemicals in the blood can take 3-6 months to occur if a person is taken chlorella regularly. Chlorella binds to heavy metals and pesticdes and clears it from the system. Its high fibre content also helps in healthy digestion and keeps the digestive track regular. It also can help protect the liver by riding the body of toxins as the liver breaks down chemicals in our blood streams. These detoxing property can help prevent the development of cancer.
2. Can help reduces blood pressure and cholesterol level and balance blood sugars, thus helping to prevent cardiovascular disease
3. Due to its anti-inflammatory propertise it can help control the symptoms of auto-immune disorders such as ulcerative colitis, ulcers and arthritis.
4. It is rich in vitamin c and can help strengthen the immue system by stimulating tissue repair and growth.
5. Can help balance estrogen
6. It is natural alkaline and can help balance the pH in our bodies. Western diets tend be highly acidic due to our high intake of grains and animal proteins. A lot of cancers have been linked to blood being too acidic.
I chose to start consuming chlorella powder because I figured, why not. It is nearly a complete vegetarian protein, loaded with vitamin B complexes, and vitamin c. As a vegetarian it can hard to get enough protein, and enough vitamin b, so this is a great thing to add. The taste is very bitter, and the apperance is VERY green. I started adding a tbsp to my smoothe in the morning and I can’t even tell it’s there. I would recommend buying it in bulk instead of in a capsule form because it is a lot cheaper. I bought a bag for 12.00$ at my health food store. A lot of bigger organic companies are putting their name on it now which can drive the price up, bulk is the cheapest way to buy it.
For years I was plauged with dysmenorrhea, where I was left totally crippled the first day of my cycle from the pain of my cramps. Although they are not completely gone now, they are much more tolerable. What changed? I saw a Natural Path doctor who recommended adding maca powder to my diet. I had never heard of it, but I was game to try, and since I started taking it, I have noticed an incredible difference. What is maca powder? It is a root plant that is native to peru and is in a similar family to turnips. The root is ground up and dried into a powder. It is full of vitamins such as vitman B complex and C, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron. It also has two essential fatty acids, fiber, and amino acids.
Apart from it being a great nutritional support, it also helps balance hormones, which is why it helped my dysmenorrhea symptoms. According to my Natural Path, essentially dysmenorrhea comes from hormones being out of wack in a womans body during her cycle. Often times women who suffer this have higher estrogen levels, and lower testosterone levels. Maca works with the endocirne system which are the glands that secret hormones into the blood stream. Maca helps stimulate the body to produe hormones as well as hormone production regulation. It essentially helps the body balance the amount of estrogen, progestrone and testosterone it produces. For women with dysmenorrhea, it helps decrease the over-production of estrogen. It has helped my mum deal with menopause symptoms as well. On a side note, it also helps boost libido, and fertility in men and women. Sounds like a super-food to me!
How can you take maca? You can buy it in bulk as well and add it to your smoothies, but I have to worn you, the taste is very strong. Mixed in with my smoothies is about the only way I have found that masks the taste. Over the winter the amount of smoothies I consume has decreased, and so in turn so has my maca consumption, and my symptoms are back. I recently purchased capsules, although more expensive, but they are far more convient and I can ensure i am taking them every day.
Oil of Oregano:
Oil of oregano is extracted from fresh oregano leaves, and has various medicinal properities. It can be used topically, orally, and aromatically, all which have various benefits.
Oral: With flu season running rampant right now, I’m sure either you, or someone you know has caught the nasty virus. Oil of oregano can be a great way to help prevent the flu or the common cold. It is anti-viral as it helps the body stimulate white blood cell production, your bodies main defence system. It is also anti-bacterial giving you protection against harmful bacteria, but not destroying the good bacteria. It is an antioxidant which helps protect your body from the cell damage caused by free-radical. It can help the body rid itself of these harmful radicals, thus preventing various disease processes. It can help with inflammatory processes internally such as painful arthritis.
It comes in a liquid form and the taste is very strong. A few drops is all you need each day to get the benefits. I have been taking it sub-lingually (under the tongue) and chasing it down with dark chocolate almond milk! But please don’t take it everyday as it is acidic and can cause damage to your stomach liner.
Topically: It is an antifungal and can be used topically to prevent and treat fungal infections. It can also be applied to the skin to help reduce inflammation to skin irritations and redness.
Aromatically: If you have never used aromatherapy, I highly recommend it. It can be soothing and relaxing, and there are many different aromas that bare various health benefits. Oil of oregano when used aromatically can help loosen up and help eliminate uncomfortable builups of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tracts and sinuses.
I am sure everyone has eaten beets at one point in their lives. I personally do not like beets, but I have found ways to incorperate them into my diet through juicing, and shredding them over my salads.
1. They are full of potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid.
2. They help cleanse the blood, decrease the work on the liver and can help prevent certain types of cancer.
3. They are a natural anti-depressant as they contain betaine which has been used to treat depression. It also has trytophan wich relaxes the mind, similar to the effts of chocolate.
4. They are low in calories and high in sugar, but the sugar in beets is released into your system gradually so they energy is suistantable. This makes them a great food to incorperate for runners or athletes.
5. They also have naturally occuring nitrates which help premote cardiovascular health. Nitrates in beets are converted to nitrite and then into nitric oxide which jelps regualte blood pressure and promotes heart health. It also regulates vasodilation, which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow, allowing more oxygen to reach muscle tissue.
The easiest way to throw some in extra beets to your diet is Beet Boost! It is all natural beet powder that allows runners to get the benefits of nitric oxides quickly and deliciously!
Order yours with us for 15% off. Use RUNLIKEAGIRL at the check out!
So, those are my favourite super-foods. Take your pick and try adding something new into your diet! 🙂