Superfoods, Eating For Vitality
There is no single food that can offer all of the nourishment that the body needs to function and perform at its best. Fortunately, superfoods come relatively close to achieving this. So what are they and what do they do? Can they really improve our health, wellbeing, and vitality? Mark your calendars, because in this three-part series I will be covering:
PART I – OCTOBER 29
- What are superfoods?
- What do they do?
- Eating for vitality
- Introduction to superfood sources
PART II – DECEMBER 3
- Understanding superfood compounds and their importance
PART III – December 17
- Putting it all together, superfoods in your diet
- Recipes and resources
- My top superfood brands and products
- Nutritional programming and coaching
WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
Superfoods come from all different food groups. There are fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, roots, seeds, nuts, oils, even micro-algae! In general, to be labeled as super, the source must be rich in beneficial compounds such as fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.
In fact, when incorporated with a healthy diet and lifestyle, there are remarkable internal and external changes that can occur…
- Improvements in overall health, wellness, and vitality
- Strengthen and boost the immune system
- Lessen the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases
- Reduce and manage chronic pain and inflammation
- Improve cognitive health and function
- Lower and manage healthy blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels
- Support healthy metabolic function and response
- Improve bone and joint-related diseases including osteoporosis, osteopenia, rheumatoid/psoriatic/osteo arthritis
- Lessen symptoms of fatigue and physical exhaustion
- Reduce signs of aging
- Remove and protect the body from harmful toxins and oxidative stress
- ….this list could go on and on
SUPPORTING VITALITY THROUGH WHAT YOU EAT
It’s amazing what these nutrient powerhouses can achieve and the evidentiary benefits that continue to be discovered through science-backed research studies. Having worked with many nutrition clients experiencing health complications that would’ve otherwise received traditional treatment, I can say that I’ve witnessed firsthand just how super-superfoods are.
Through a diet rich in superfoods accompanied by nutritional coaching and programming, a client successfully managed psoriatic arthritis while achieving weight loss, improving lean muscle mass, and decreasing inflammatory pain and markers.
During menopause, the combination of nutritional coaching, holistic supplementation, and superfoods accounting for the majority of her diet helped one client manage and experience noticably less symptoms related to hormonal changes. She was also successful in maintaining a healthy weight.
These are just two of the many experiences I’ve had over the years, but how exciting and amazing is it to know that our diet can heal and provide a better quality of life.
A LOOK AT SOME POPULAR SUPERFOOD SOURCES
This group of supers is loaded with antioxidants that help control free radicals, lower oxidative stress, protect cells, and lower inflammatory markers. In addition, berries are also low on the glycemic index and contain essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and manganese.
Two of my favorite superfood fruits are apples and plums! Apples are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and are a concentrated source of flavonoid antioxidants.
Plums are full of health-protective plant compounds and are rich in hydroxycinnamic acids that help reduce cellular damage.
When you think about the word healthy, what color comes to your mind? Green. It’s no coincidence that this is the same color to represent one of the most powerful and amazing superfood groups. Here are 3 reasons why leafy greens are super healthy.
1. Extremely nutrient-dense and loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and phytochemical properties to reduce illness-disease-chronic pain and inflammation-toxins-cellular damage-cognitive decline and signs of aging; 2. Contain active compounds like nitrites that play a role in converting fat-storing white cells into fat-burning brown ones; 3. Support oxygenation, alkalization, and detoxification.
Vegetables are an essential part of a well-balanced diet. If you’re selective about what veggies you eat, consider those from the superfood category first.
Pumpkin contains an amazing immune boosting combo of vitamins A, C, and E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Garlic is effective in reducing bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Sweet potatoes are abundant in potassium, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. And have been found to support healthy blood sugar levels.
NUTS AND SEEDS
To keep it simple, here’s one nut, one seed, one spice, and one grain.
Compared to other nuts and seeds, the pistachio contains greater amounts of antioxidants. What could be better? They also provide the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two vital properties for healthy eyes.
Hemp seeds are a great fat and protein source. First, they provide high amounts of the essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3. Second, 25% of hemp’s total calories come from high-quality protein.
Turmeric contains the bioactive compound curcumin. Acting as a strong natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric supports inhibition of cancer cell death and therefore a reduction in cancer growth/spread.
Kamut is an ancient grain that provides 17% of men’s daily fiber and 25% of women’s. This high fiber count helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
And there you have it, part I of III. Keep an eye out for the next blog on December 3rd where I’ll get into superfood compounds and their importance to living a healthy lifestyle full of vitality!