2013 proved to be quite a challenge for me. Not only did I move cities and embark on my first year of teaching, but I struggled a lot with my physical health. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a ‘funny tummy’ and daily endured a stomach ache to a certain degree. Sometimes it was faint, other times it was unbearable. Glamorous, I know.
This year, I finally sought out a specialist for help. The long of the short of it: Leaky Gut. Basically, the lining of my intestines has become more porous, allowing undigested food particles and toxins to ‘leak’ through into my blood stream. The result? Pain and excessive fatigue, along with an overworked immune system and several food allergies.
One of the major avenues towards healing Leaky Gut is diet change. To my sweet tooth’s dismay, I have to limit sugar and starches until my gut heals. Focusing on healthy, healing foods is a key in restoring my health.
I want to share with you 5 of my favorite superfoods that are packed with the necessary nutrients and vitamins to optimize our bodies’ functioning and well-being.
Proven to benefit the cardiovascular, cognitive, and digestive systems, as well as prevent cancer and other diseases, it’s no wonder blueberries are touted as the best fruit to eat! Packed dense with anti-oxidants, blueberries can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. They are low GI (glycemic index), which means they won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. They are also high in fiber, which aids your digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. Depending on the season, blueberries can be a bit pricey. Frozen blueberries provide the same health benefits as fresh, so I often buy frozen over fresh. I add them to smoothies and my husband sprinkles them on his cereal every morning. These mildly sweet yet tangy berries always hit the spot!
This superfood, made by honeybees, is recognized as one of nature’s most nourishing foods. It contains almost all of the vital nutrients humans need. Bee pollen is rich in protein, more so than any animal source. It contains free amino acids, folic acid, and many essential vitamins. One of the main reasons I eat bee pollen is for increased energy. It can enhance vitality and ward off fatigue. Bee pollen can also boost the immune system and help treat allergies. I take a teaspoon of bee pollen in the morning with my breakfast. If you don’t mind the taste, you can eat it straight off the spoon! If that is too dry for you, it can be sprinkled on breakfast cereal, smoothies or chopped fruit. Be sure to buy bee pollen that has not exposed to pesticides. I buy mine locally in Western Australia where it has been harvested chemical free.
These tiny seeds are a nutritional powerhouse! In one tablespoon, this rich plant-based source packs 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and nearly 3 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to prevent or decrease inflammation in the body. They absorb nearly 10 times their weight in water, making you feel full for longer. This absorptive quality makes them versatile in baking, as well. I often use them in smoothies and healthy puddings to add a creamy texture. I make a tasty apple crisp with them, as well. You can simply mix chia seeds with water to form a “chia gel” that provides extra energy for workouts. For more ideas on how to incorporate chia seeds into your diet, read here.
This anti-inflammatory fruit provides your body with nutrients and enzymes to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. In turn, your body is better able to absorb the carotenoids and nutrients you eat. It is high in heart-healthy fat and provides the body with a good dose of soluble fiber to regulate blood sugar. The monounsaturated fats improve blood flow and give that gorgeous glow to your skin and hair. There are so many ways to integrate avocado into your meal planning. Mixing together diced avocado, red onion, tomato, coriander (cilantro) and lime juice make a killer salsa or topping for fish or chicken. Avocado can be eaten at breakfast alongside eggs or on a salad or sandwich at lunch. I personally eat avocado by itself with a spoon!
This leafy vegetable is full of vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy brain and heart. The high level of anti-oxidants provides both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. 1 cup of spinach provides twice the daily requirement of vitamin K, leading to healthy bones. The minerals in spinach balance acidity to alkaline your body. Rich in carotenoids, spinach protects your eyes against diseases such as macular degeneration. It can be eaten fresh in salads or sandwiches. You can steam it as a side for dinner or stir it into soup, risotto or a casserole. A great tip is to throw a handful of spinach into a blender before making your morning smoothie to give you a nutritional boost.
These 5 superfoods will do remarkable things for your overall health and wellness.
What are some of your favorite superfoods? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Lots of love,