Super Foods for Super Health

Super Foods for Super Health

We've all heard the "Super food" buzz word and some of us are not sure what it really means.  With the stresses of today, we all want and need to feel and be healthy; and to create a super system we need to incorporate simple foods that pack a wallop of essential vitamins and minerals.

Super foods typically have generous amounts of nutrients like fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants, all of which can help the body fight off disease, manage hunger and improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels and heart health.

Eating green has always been a go-to health benefit, whether it’s broccoli, kale, spinach or brussel sprouts.  But there’s an entire landscape of healthy foods you may not know about.  Most green foods, such as spinach and broccoli, are considered super foods because they contain large amounts of antioxidants. Green colored foods contain significant amounts of vitamin A, C and E as well as iron and zinc. These antioxidants protect your system from viruses, and Phytonutrients of green foods have properties help to boost your immune system, and protect you against cellular damage from the environment, and the processed foods we eat. This can be a concern for those with a family history of diabetes. What’s so great about green foods is that are very low in sugar and are packed with fiber and help to regulate your blood sugar levels during the day.

If that isn’t exciting enough, some of our favorite foods give us more nutrients than we can ever find in packaged foods or in restaurant dining. Knowing which foods can increase our body's immune system and bone strength is especially helpful because we can add these foods when ordering out or make sure we have them at hand to include in our meal planning

The almighty avocado: Described as a fruit, this super food contains 690 mg of potassium (compared to a banana with only 420).  Avocado is becoming the forerunner in fighting muscle cramps, calming the nervous systems and in preparing us for a good night sleep. Plus, they contain the healthiest of fats.  The fats found in avocados  assist in decreasing high cholesterol levels and help to moderate inflammation.

Apples and kale: We know from our childhood that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but it also helps to fight obesity, lower cholesterol, reduce risk of stroke, and ass protection from certain types of cancer. When paired with kale in a salad, we now add the benefits of  vitamin A, vitamin C, large amounts of calcium.

Spinach: Popeye had it right, it is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.  Adding more spinach to your diet can improve eyesight, healthy blood pressure, stronger muscles, the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, improve brain and bone health, bone strengthening and has anti-cancer benefits.

Brussels sprouts: One of the foods children might hid under their plates or tried to give the dog are brussel sprouts. However, they are a super food and have a large amount of vitamins A and C.  The great thing with brussel sprouts is that they can share the stage with other cancer fighting foods to strengthen our immune system and help fight off disease.

Hemp seeds: These little seeds are gaining speed as a “super” superfood. Hemp seeds are rich in minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Raw hemp seeds can be a snack after yoga or any workout, and can made into oil, grounded into meal or protein powder. Three tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds has about 165 calories, more than 14 grams of healthy unsaturated fats and almost 10 grams of protein. Because hemp seeds are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, they are a great addition to your diet to lower the risk of heart disease, boost energy and fatigue and are a great protein substitute for vegetarians.  Hemp is a variety of cannabis plant with a very high nutritional benefit.

Vitamin D:  The glorious Vitamin D has been known to reduce depression and regulate mood swings. Scientists found that depressed people who were given vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement. In studies of people with conditions like fibromyalgia, it was found after blood testing that a vitamin D deficiency was more common with people experiencing anxiety, mood disorders and depression. Vitamin D is also essential for bone and muscle growth, mineral adsorption and for overall immune system functioning, as well  as preventing osteoporosis, lowering blood pressure, regulating cholesterol levels, and may even protect against some cancers.One study has even identified an association between Alzheimer’s disease and vitamin D deficiency. You can naturally get vitamin D from a half hour in the sun, just make sure to use sunscreen to protect yourself from the harmful rays if you’re out longer than that.  Fish, yogurt, milk and fortified orange juice can also supplement your vitamin D intake, along with a supplement in pill form.

To assist you with the nutrition that is right for you, and be guided along the path of greater health, we offer the benefit of health coaching.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the right diet and exercise for your individual system, and we make it easy for you with a customized health and nutritional program.

 

Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie

Serves 1

The granola topping is optional, but I think it makes this smoothie a little more toothsome and filling. Feel free to swap baby kale for the spinach.

Ingredients

  1. 1 kiwi, peeled and cut into chunks

  2. 1 banana, peeled, frozen, and cut into chunks

  3. 1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach

  4. 1 cup unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk

  5. 1 tablespoon chia seeds (or 1-2 tablespoons gluten-free oats)

  6. 4-5 large ice cubes

  7. Granola (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine the kiwi, banana, spinach, almond milk, chia seeds, and ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with the granola (if using).

By Turnip the Oven