Let’s face it: now a days most of us are overworked, over- scheduled, and all looking for a little magic – or “super powers” – wherever we can find it. We want to feel good and have maximum energy without resorting to overloading on coffee and energy drinks. And if our jam-packed schedules aren’t enough, many of us are battling hormone changes to boot!
While we know deep down that the foods we eat aren’t going to give us Wonder Woman’s super strength, speed, or her outlandish lasso abilities, eating nutrient-dense foods is one of the best things we can do to maintain our health amidst our crazy schedules and to support our intense workouts. These five superfoods are a great starting point for a happier, healthier you: try to incorporate as many as you can into your weekly menu. You may just find a new favorite!
VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
There are so many great benefits of coconut oil – too many, in fact, to mention, but let’s try to break down some of the most notable. Though it contains mostly saturated fat, maintaining its solidity at room temperature, coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) which makes it easier for the body to absorb
and digest. Because of its molecular structure, it’s more likely to be used by the body than stored – but keep in mind that it is high in calories (a whopping 117 in a single tablespoon), so that doesn’t give you license to go overboard.
Coconut oil is believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it’s great as a topical treatment. It also contains lauric acid, which can help improve gut health by destroying bad bacteria and candida. A candida imbalance can cause gastrointestinal distress, potentially leading to bloating, gas, and cramps.
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When prepping stir-fries or eggs, replace the canola or olive oil in your pan with the light, tropical flavored coconut oil.
A TOUGHER TICKER!
Chia seeds are considered a superfood because they are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The high dietary fibre in chia makes you feel fuller quicker, which is helpful for those trying to drop body fat. And if you’re not a fan of salmon, chia seeds may be your new best friend: they also contain omega-3s, which work to protect the heart by lowering bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. Inflammation can put strain on your blood vessels, one of the causes of heart disease.
There’s another little-known benefit of chia that may interest you – and your bones. Have you recently omitted milk from your diet and are worried about where you can get some extra calcium? Well, one ounce of chia seeds has 18 per cent of the recommended daily amount of calcium. Not too shabby!
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Incorporate chia into your breakfast by sprinkling it on your cereal and yogurt. It will add a nutty flavour along with the amazing benefits we’ve discussed.
Not only do they make a great dip for tortillas and the perfect topper for your burger, avocados are a treasure trove of health benefits. This pitted fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is a rich source of monounsaturated fats – unlike their saturated counterparts, these fats actually help maintain a healthy brain and heart.
This creamy treat also contains fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins K and E, which contribute to glowing skin and hair not only when ingested but when used topically as well. Let’s be honest: having healthy skin and hair as we age just helps you feel like a million bucks!
Avocados also contain carotenoids, a group of chemical compounds that give certain fruits and vegetables their bright orange and yellow color. They contribute positively to the body by lowering inflammation and boosting immunity. If that wasn’t enough, they also contain soluble fibre to help stabilize blood sugar levels. As we mentioned with chia seeds, fibre can help in your pursuit of lower body fat by filling you up faster.
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Instead of using mayo, mash up a quarter of an avocado with a can of tuna for a monounsaturated-rich tuna salad spread.
Though you may consider greens to be boring, there can’t be a list of superfoods without a mention of this salad favourite, especially spinach. Why? Spinach is low in calories and high in nutrients. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities while packing high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. This green superfood also contains special protective carotenoid compounds that have been linked to a decreased risk of many diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
Spinach also supplies flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that protect against disease by fighting free radical damage from sources like chemicals, alcohol, smoke, fatty diets, and pollutants. Free radical damage affects your skin and immune system, and increases your risk of diseases like cancer. These protective compounds make spinach one of the best anti-aging foods there is.
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A high-quality blender or food processor can virtually pulverize the tough, fibrous structure of spinach leaves so that it can be hidden in your favourite smoothie recipe.
First off, these blue morsels of sweetness taste incredible, so they are the perfect superfood to add to smoothies, salads, kefir, or a high-protein pancake. They are rich in antioxidants that help reverse damage done by free radicals and inflammation. Inflammation, as we’ve already discussed, can lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other illnesses.
Blueberries are a natural source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, so they benefit digestive health. They are a low glycemic index (GI) food, so they are processed slowly by your digestive system. Low GI foods tend to help control appetite and balance blood sugar, and can also help reduce the risk of insulin resistance.
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Pop them in your next protein shake or snack on them right out of their clamshell container – a cup of blueberries contains only 85 calories, but is quite satiating.
We’ll admit that these superfoods are not quite as phenomenal as Wonder Woman’s Golden Lasso. But, if consumed regularly, Super Smoothie TARA MINACS is a registered holistic nutritionist, personal trainer, Orangetheory Fitness Coach, and a past national-level bikini competitor. they definitely do hold some power! They increase energy, balance hormones, help you drop body fat, and fight disease and the aging process. Incorporate these superfoods into your diet, reap these wonderful benefits, and feel like your own superhero!