What is a super food? A super food is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. They are packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Eating them will help reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong your life. Super foods are very versatile and can easily be added to any meal.
I have many recipes on my blog that include at least one super food per recipe. You can start small and work your way up to incorporating more each day. They can easily be sprinkled over soups, salads, or even blended into smoothies. Because these foods are in the "super" category there are at least 10 benefits to each. I will showcase the most important benefits from each food to help you incorporate it into your diet appropriately.
1. Hemp seeds
This seed is what Jaclyn Renee Wellnesas is all about. Small in size but boasts many benefits such as improvements in digestion, hormones, and metabolism. You will find hemp seeds to be an incredible source of protein with 10 grams in just one scoop. I use hemp seeds in all of my smoothie recipes as my source of protein instead of a packaged protein powder.
2. Chia seeds
Beleive it or not, chia seeds have more calcium than dairy. Many people develop an intolerence to dairy as they get older so this is a great way to strengthen your bones without the negative side effects. You can make chia seed pudding for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
3. Sunflower seeds
Healthy sources of fats like those found in sunflower seeds are actually the building blocks for cell membranes. They allow your body to balance hormones and help low down absorption of food during meal time. This allows you to go longer without feeling hungry. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds over your salad or have a jar on hand as an easy snack.
4. Flax seeds
Flax seeds are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and phytochemical lignans which are known to decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. A teaspoon or two a day can lower you LDL cholesterol. The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. It is also a great way to get your daily dose of omega fatty acids if you don't like fish. Add to smoothies, soups, or simply sprinkle it on any food as it only has a mild nutty taste.
There is a reason that walnuts are shaped like a brain. Walnuts contain a number of neuroprotective compounds including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. Research shows that eating an ounce a day can help protect the brain from degeneration and improve cognitive function. Start your day out with the breakfast to fuel your brain for the day.
6. Cacao powder
Like chocolate, cacao powder contains flavonoids which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. With fewer than 15 calories per tablespoon and zero sugar, cacao provides a strong chocolate flavor without the guilt. Cacao is also high in magnesium which many people are deficient in. Magnesium fights acid buildup, neutralizes toxins, and calms the nervous system. Try a scoop in your smoothie for a rich chocaltely taste.
7. Goji berries
Looking for something sweet in the afternoon? Replace the office candy with this vitamin C and fiber packed fruit. The list of benefits include the ability to help you fight disease, effectively manage your weight, and experience better digestion. They have also been used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost vitality, energy, and stamina. Add them with other nuts to make your own trail mix for travel or a long day at work.
8. Coconut oil
Known as the oil that can "cure everything" coconut oil contains more health benefits that I can fit into one tiny blog. Many of my collegues who write about coconut oil end up with 25-100 benefits in one article. The most important thing you need to is that it has incedrible anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The list of ailments that rise from those two issues are huge. From major diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer to small symptoms like digestive issues, joint pain, and the common cold . For a better list and more information on coconut oil, check out Dr. Axe's article on how coconut oil may save your life.
Ghee is simply organic butter that has been clarified to remove the lactose and casein component. If you have a hard time digesting dairy products but want all the health benefits of it then ghee will be your saving grace. Ghee (unlike other oils) is rich in butyric acid which is a short chain fatty acid. This is very beneficial in healing and stregthening the digestive track. Research shows that adequate production of butyric acid also supports the production of killer T cells in which can assist in healing and strengthening the gut.
10. Chaga mushroom
Chaga contains structural polysaccharides which provide energy, improve cardiovascular health, and promote healthy blood sugar levels. It is also very beneficial for people who suffer from digestive issues. The appearance of chaga can be deceiving as it looks like a big hunk of clay, but don't let its appearence fool you. Chaga is mostly consumed in tea form. Steep one chunk in hot water and sip throughout the day.
I understand that it can be overwhelming to introduce new foods into your lifestyle. You do not have to eat every single super food to get the benefits of better health. Try one or two that speak to you and incorporate them daily. As well as incorporating healthy foods into your diet. Stress can play a huge roll on your immune system and energy level as well. Reduce stress on the body by taking deep breaths, a long walk, or a hot bath.
Happy, healthy healing!
XO Jaclyn Renee