Superfoods 101

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Want to jump start your energy and overall health? One of the best things I do for my own body on a daily basis is to incorporate superfoods into my morning ritual. I love incorporating these nutrient rich foods into smoothies and go-to snacks (without the guilt).

Superfoods contain extraordinary amounts of vitamins, can boost your energy and lead to better overall health.

 

Superfoods are truly the superheroes of the nutrition world and will help you to feel more satisfied with less cravings. When our bodies are clean, light and balanced our cognitive functions improve and our overall feelings of health and well being improve. There is a world of information out there about superfoods, but here are some basics and a great way to kick start a new morning ritual.

First off, you might be feeling intimidated and wondering what’s a superfood, where do I get them and how will they fit into my already too busy routine? We’re going to address all those concerns and learn how we can incorporate them into a morning ritual that will boost your immune system and won’t leave you hungry.

Once you start incorporating superfoods into your diet, you’ll realize how often you have been eating empty calories.

Converting your diet over to nutrient packed snacks and smoothies will leave your body feeling nourished and ready to take on the day! So where do we begin? I like to focus on my go to 10. These foods provide a wide spectrum of health benefits and also are becoming more preveliant in health food stores and simple to order online in the Amazon age! Ten may seem like a lot and trust me these ingredients may seem very expensive, but once you start working with them you’ll find a little goes a long way! You may pick a few to make an initial investment with but you’ll find they’ll last you quite some time and learning to incorporate them yourself you’ll save big time and money from having to buy them from health restaurants! Rather then listing these 10 alphabeticallly I’ve chosen to list them by ease of use and usage in my own life. Let’s just face it some ingredients you can hide in almost anything and others need to be cleaverly incorporated or require a greater dedication (or acquired taste)!

Superfoods-provide-amazing-health-benefits
Store your superfoods in glass mason jars to preserve health benefits and a modern kitchen.

Hemp Seeds

These are my go to and I find myself daily dumping them into my smoothies, yogurt or rolling a snack protein ball in them. Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis Sativa plant and are tiny, green, chlorophyll filled filament on the inside. Don’t worry you aren’t going to get high, the hemp seeds come from a variant of the plant that doesn’t contain THC. Hemp seeds are also sold in powder form as a protein powder.

Benefits:

Hemp is an outstanding source of protein and also a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp can also help with hormone balance and adding in minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc to the diet.

Maca

Maca is a root, related to the Mustard family, and found in Peru. Maca is absolutely one of my favorite superfoods to use because it can be added to almost anything without much detection. Maca comes in different colors and usually a powder form.

Benefits:

Maca is a powerful adaptogen which helps us to balance stress, as well as, hormones. Maca enhances our energy (without being a stimulant) and can enhance the bodies strength and stamina. Maca has also been credited with increased libido and decreasing anxiety. The superfood is a no brainer, easy add to your daily morning routine.

Lucuma

This exotic fruit grown in Peru is known in the native culture as “Gold of the Incas.” Since its not grown here in the US we can still obtain its amazing health benefits but obtaining it in its powder form, where the fruit has been dried at a low temperature and then ground into a fine powder.

Benefits:

Lucuma is high in antioxidants and can also be used as a natural low GI sweetener. Lucuma also has high vitamin content especially containing calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin C, niacin (B3), and fiber as well as fourteen essential trace minerals.

Goji Berries

Goji berries come from a shrub native to China and have a bright orangish red hue. Also known as the “longevity fruit” goji berries have long been used in Chinese medicine. Goji berries are typically sold in dried form and should always be purchased in the organic form as they can be especially subject to high levels of pesticide.

Benefits:

Goji berries contain over twenty vitamins and minerals and also are known to aid the immune system. As a side note, goji berries can interact with some blood pressure and diabetes medications, so its best to consult with a doctor before using these ingredients if you are currently taking these types of medications.

Açaí Berries

A small berrry with a dark blue to purple hue, and grown on a type of Palm tree in Central and South America. Açaí’s popularity has grown tremendously and is common in bowls and smoothies at health food restaurants and stores.

Benefits:

Açaí berry is extremely high in antioxidants which have been shown to retain these levels even when stored. These anti-aging properties also make it a popular ingredient in beauty and cosmetic products. Açaí contains EFAs (essential fatty acids) including omega-3, 6, and 9 and mono saturated fats. Açaí can be purchased in many forms including: freeze dried, liquid, and frozen “smoothie packs”.

Cacao

Cacao is the raw form of chocolate. It’s a favorite for obvious reasons and can satisfy your sweet tooth without all the guilt. My favorite forms of cacao to work with is the powder to incorporate in smoothies or the nibs when making protein bars or topping overnight oats.

Benefits:

Cacao takes the title as the highest magnesium food and also contains high levels of calcium and iron. Cacao also makes us FEEL good! It effects the central nervous system and increases serotonin levels in the brain. It also has almost double the antioxidants levels of Açaí berries, reduces bad cholesterol and protects the skin against inflammation. All this from what will become a treat in your diet! Yes, please!

Chia Seeds

A traditional Incan food, this small seed packs loads of energy in form of healthy fats and high in fiber. Chia seeds are readily available and a cinche to incorporate as they are tasteless.

Benefits:

Chia is high in Omega-3s (boasting 8x more then in Salmon), calcium, iron and antioxidants. Chia seeds in powder form are almost undedictable in soups, smoothies or bowls. Chia can also be soaked in water in order to make a gel. Chia seeds are able to retain about 8-9 times their weight, which make a great thickening agent without unnneccesary calories.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is an inexpensive power house that can be ground and added into your receipes. It is important to use this superfood in its ground form so that it can be absorbed properly into the body. Flaxseed has a mild, nutty flavor that can be almost undetictated when used in small quantities.

Benefits:

My yoga teacher used to call these the intestine scrubbers, as they provide about 30% dietary fiber and are great for colon health. Flaxseed is also known for being a source of fatty acids and vitamin E.

White Mulberries

White Mulberries are an herb that is used in medicine, typically to treat diabetes, but we can also use its fruit in cooking which is typically sold in dried form. White mulberries are native to China but were introduced into the United States back in colonial times.

Benefits:

Mulberries contain a rare antioxidant known as resveratrol, known to help prevent aging and help cardiovascular health.

Maqui Berry

Maqui berries are found in certain parts of South America and are a small intensely purple berry. Maqui berry can be purchased as a freeze dried powder and has a mild flavor.

Benefits:

Maqui berries have the highest level of antioxidants of any fruit ever tested! Their high levels of delphinidins help reduce the risk of degenerative diseases caused by inflammation, as well as, prevent colon cancer. And if that doesn’t make you a believer, they also contain vitamin C and are low in sugar.

Are you now sold on the overwhelming health benefits these small but mighty foods can bring to your health? Now that you know the why lets get to the how! For me, the easiest way to incorporate these, mostly dried powders, into my food is by adding them to my favorite smoothies, protein snacks and desserts.

Here’s a few ways to try.

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Starti your day off with a nutrient packed superfood smoothie.

 

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