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What in the world are superfoods? These foods are called superfoods because yhey are low in calories, but are packed with nutrients. This would be in contrast to foods with empty calories, such as potato chips or even sodas. These food items are high in calories but low in nutrients.
Superfoods are also a great sources of antioxidants. Oxidation is a chemical process that occurs when an element is exposed to oxygen. For example if you combine iron with oxygen you get iron oxide.
There is also oxidation that occurs in your body. It’s called oxidative stress. Oxidation in the body results from free radical formation. Free radicals can form from ordinary metabolic processes in your body or from environmental exposures like cigarette smoke or general air pollution.
Excessive free radicals or oxidation cause diseases like cancer. Oxidation in your skin cells accelerates aging. This is why smokers can look older with more wrinkles. It’s even proposed that grey hair is partly a result of oxidative stress.
You can see this phenomenon in our presidents. Have you seen how the younger ones like Bill Clinton and President Obama started their terms with regular hair and by the end they have much more grey hair?
Some examples of antioxidants are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
You can get these antioxidants as supplements. But not all supplements are created equal and there is some research showing risks to taking some of these antioxidants in excess. Generally they come more concentrated as a supplement than they do as a food source. But for the most part, with the exception of a few supplements, most times you want to get your nutrition from food and not supplements. I spoke on this issue in podcast episode 23 when I talked about what supplements do you really need.
Here is a list of my top 10 superfoods
Do you eat any of these? These foods among others are loaded with nutrients and low on calories. Try adding them to your diet if you aren’t already eating them or adding more.
Here are few uncommon superfoods that you may not have in your panty. You can get these from health food stores, or you can also order them on Amazon. If you have Amazon Prime, you can get many of them delivered to your door in two days with free shipping. Wouldn’t love to save some time from making trips to the grocery store?
Here are some uncommon superfoods that I think would be great to add to your diet. And these superfoods are super because they contain antioxidants as well as other nutrients.
In addition to antioxidants, Chia seeds are loaded with omega fats, protein, and dietary fiber. They have a mild nutty flavor and, since they absorb liquid, they give you a satisfied feeling of fullness.
They look like little tiny grey seeds; similar to bird seed. How do you eat them? You can grind them up and add them to your food or you can make chia pudding.
Chia pudding can make a great breakfast time. It has a similar texture to tapioca pudding and may take some getting used to if you don’t like tapioca pudding. When the seeds swell they form these chewy beads.
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and put it in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight. Since you are using the unsweetened almond milk, it’s not going to be sweet. But you can sweeten it up with some fruit or granola.
Hemp is a well-balanced, vegetarian protein source that includes all of the essential amino acids. Not only is hemp one of the best vegetarian sources of protein, it’s easy for the body to digest and assimilate. Hemp is a great vegetarian source of omega fatty acids as well. So if you don’t eat fish or want to take fish oil, hemp is another source. It’s not as dense in omegas, but it is a source. To eat it, you can sprinkle the seeds on salads or add them to smoothies to get some protein in your smoothie. They don’t absorb liquid like the chia seeds, but if you can grind them similar to flax seeds and dust them on your food. Just 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds will add 11 grams of protein to your smoothie.
Raw Cacao Nibs:
This is a good way to get “natural” chocolate chips. Cacao nibs are made from raw cacao beans that are taken from the tropical cacao fruit.
You know how you hear that dark chocolate is good for you? This is because it has a higher concentration of cacao. If you go to your grocery store, you probably see those bars that are 70% – 90% cacao. However, even these bars have some added sugar to make them attractive to the masses. But you can skip these commercial preparations and go straight to the source with the cacao nibs. If you like dark chocolate they are intense.
You can grind the nibs and add them to a smoothie for a chocolate tasting green smoothie. It really does taste like a dark chocolate smoothie.
If you want an afternoon superfood treat, make a trail mix with shredded coconut, raw cacao nibs, dried cranberries, and a nut of your choice.
Maca is a plant that grows in Peru. In their culture was believed to increase stamina, boost libido, and combat fatigue. Couldn’t we all use some more stamina? Today it is believed to improve energy and sexual stamina in men (I guess women don’t need stamina?). These claims have not been established with research. Regardless of whether or not it does these things, it is still rich in nutrients.
It looks like a root kind of like ginger but it’s round in shape like an onion. You can buy it as a root and roast it or add it to your food like chopped up in a stew. Or you can buy the powder and add it to foods. Pregnant women breastfeeding women should avoid Maca as not enough is known about its effect on the babies.
The maqui berry is a fruit of a shrub grown in Chile. It contains an abundance of things such as vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium just to name a few. The powder has a tart, fruity flavor that’s a delicious addition to juices, smoothies, and desserts.
Goji Berries have a ton of stuff in them including: carbs, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. They look like little dried up cranberries.
Ounce-for-ounce, goji berries contain more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, and more iron than soybeans and spinach. This iron source is key for women. If you are menstruating and have heavy periods, you may be anemic and low on iron. Anemia makes you feel tired and low on energy. As a working mom you need all the energy you can get.
The problem with iron supplements is they can be very constipating. So Goji berries are a great source of iron for you. Munch on these goodies as your afternoon snack. If you don’t want to eat them whole, you can grind them up and add them to your food.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other foods that can be considered superfoods. But I wanted to make you aware of some sources that you might not have thought of otherwise and are easy to integrate into your diet.
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