Friday, April 10, 2015

Super Duper Super Foods

I am not just on this journey to shed the pounds. Clearly, being morbidly obese {ouch...I hate even typing that} it is NECESSARY for me to lose weight. But more than that I really want to heal my body and feed it well. I want to not just eat to live, but eat to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. I think that most everything we need to be nourished properly has been provided by God in nature. That is why I am trying my best to work towards a way of eating that includes mostly clean, unprocessed foods. It won't happen overnight. But I am taking baby steps to get there.

I am totally fascinated by all the super foods and what they do for your health. There are all the run of the mill super foods - spinach, blueberries, almonds, salmon, etc. All delicious, great for you and easily accessible. And then there are the more exotic super foods. Ones that, until recently, aren't as well known or accessible. Of course many are becoming trendy and well known so it is easier and more affordable to get your hands on these power packed goodies.  In the last few weeks I ordered a handful of these super duper super foods and wanted to share with you what they are and why they are beneficial. Be looking for upcoming posts featuring these different ingredients. We are using them in all kinds of fun, delicious ways!

What are they and why are they good for you?

Acai Powder: First of all, it's pronounced uh-sigh-ee. Yes, I said it wrong forever too. Acai is a small, dark purple berry of a palm tree that grows throughout the tropical regions of Central and South America. It has a flavor that's somewhere between chocolate and wild berries, and its abundant (and super healthy) omega fatty acid content gives acai a unique and creamy texture. Acai has a high antioxidant profile as well as protein and fiber which help to keep you feeling full throughout your day. Some potential benefits include battling free radicals, cardiovascular health, and digestive health.

Bee Pollen: Bee Pollen is made by honeybees, and is the food of the young bee. It is considered one of nature's most completely nourishing foods as it contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. Bee-gathered pollens are rich in proteins (approximately 40% protein), free amino acids, vitamins, including B-complex, and folic acid. It is more rich in proteins than any animal source. Potential benefits include digestive health, combats fatigue, helps asthma and allergies, and increases energy. These need to be slowly introduced, especially to children, because they may cause an allergic reaction at a certain dosage.

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds have long been a staple in the diets of the Mayans and Aztecs. They are considered super because they deliver a maximum amount of nutrients with a minimum amount of calories. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, and protein. Because they absorb up to 12 times their own weight, they are great for curbing appetite and keeping you full. Their health benefits include increasing energy, aiding in digestive health, and helping cholesterol levels.

Goji Berries: Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Tibetan Himalayas. They have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Goji berries are rich in amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. They are said to be beneficial for protecting and enhancing eyesight, protecting the liver, improving sexual function and fertility, improving circulation and even slowing the growth of cancer cells.

Hemp Powder: Hemp powder is a type of protein powder that is used by many as a nutritional supplement. The seeds of the hemp plant are ground up into a course powder. While they are harvested from marijuana plants, they do not contain any THC. It has a very earthy taste that may not be pleasant to some but is easily masked in smoothies and other foods. In addition to beneficial amounts of protein, the powder also contains a balance of “good” fats, namely omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9. Not many foods contain all three essential fatty acids in such an ideal balance. Hemp powder also contains a good amount of fiber and several other essential minerals, such as manganese and magnesium. This super food is beneficial for brain functioning, stimulating skin and hair growth, regulating metabolism, among other things.

I didn't add Matcha to this list because I bought it separately and posted about it the other day. You can read more about that HERE.

Any of these super foods can easily be found in a health food store. I personally buy mine on Amazon because it is easy to get it all in one quick, easy shipment. I can't wait to share with you some of the great ways we have been adding these to our foods. Stay tuned!

**I am not a medical professional so none of this information is meant to be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research before adding new foods to your diet and consult with your physician if you have any questions as to how it will affect your overall health.**

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