We all know that eating more veggies, fruits and grains will equal a healthier lifestyle, but if you really want to up the ante on your healthy food intake, you need to know about the latest in the world of super foods (you know, that exclusive group that includes things like salmon, kale and blueberries). There are some new members in the super food group that will not only get you feeling better, but help prevent one thing we’re all worried about – signs of aging (we’re talking wrinkles, fine lines, dull skin and less-than-youthful hair). Tara Miller (BA, CNP), a Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist and owner of the Health Hut all natural boutique, dishes on the latest super foods and spices that will rock your health and beauty world.
What is a super food?
Super foods are any healthy food that has a health-promoting or disease-preventing property (a.k.a foods that will not only get you feeling better but looking better too). This doesn’t mean that it’s just high in fibre, or one particular vitamin. It’s usually as clean as possible with very few downfalls or negatives, and is a high dose of multiple benefits. Blueberries for example are packed with vitamin C, fibre, loads of antioxidants and compounds like Pterostilbene (which can help prevent certain types of cancer). “Eating foods high in vitamins, mineral and antioxidants will all contribute to
good health and slow down signs of aging,” says Miller. And don’t we all want that?
The new super foods
Already eating your two cups of wild blueberries, munching on kale chips and dining on salmon every day? Here are some new powerhouse foods to add into your diet for even more health and beauty benefits according to Miller.
Hailing from the down under world of New Zealand, manuka honey actually comes from bees who pollenate the local mauka bushes in the lush green country-side. Charming, no? “With its powerful antibacterial, fungal and microbial properties this healing honey can be added to oatmeal, smoothies or taken by the spoonful on its own if you feel a sore throat coming on or to help boost immunity,” says Miller.
Use it for: Anti-inflammation properties will help with acne, puffiness and swelling
Move over acai, gogi and pomegranate. There’s a new berry in town that is filled with iron, antioxidants and makes a sweet snack that happens to look like a blackberry. “With similar super food benefits to the better know pomegranate, acai berry and gogi berry this
antioxidant powerhouse is also full of iron and was traditionally used to regulate blood sugar levels,” explains Miller. How to use these little gems? “Find them fresh at most farmers markets and substitute mulberries in recipes that call for blackberries. Or eat them dried in a homemade trail mix,” suggests Miller.
Use it for: Healthy skin (you can thank the antioxidants for that) and for energy levels (thanks to the high iron content).
More super foods and super spices on the next page …
“The bees have done it again! Bee pollen contains all essential amino acids making it a complete vegetarian source of protein,” says Miller. “Rich in all sorts of other vitamins and minerals, especially B-vitamins, a scoop or 2 will go a long way in delivering instant energy and nutrition to our cells.” And it’s super easy to incorporate bee pollen into you regular diet by adding scoopfuls into smoothies, juices and oatmeal. “
A note of caution,” heeds Miller. “Bee pollen can cause allergic reactions to those with bee, pollen or other plant allergies.”
Use it for: On your skin for inflammatory issues, but it also provides a big energy boost and provides enzymes which can aide in digestion.
Spice it up with super spices
“By no means a ‘new’ super spice or super food, turmeric is getting noticed again for its strong anti-inflammatory properties,” says Miller. Why has it blasted back onto our health radar? You may be hearing more about curcumin, the part of the spice that is responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties and turmeric’s bright yellow colour. “Traditionally used in Indian cooking you can add turmeric to spice up cooked grains, vegetables or curries,” advises Miller.
Use it for: Brightening your pearly whites, treating an upset stomach and repairing liver damage.
“Although not exactly a spice, nutritional yeast is making an appearance in vegetarian and vegan cooking due to its ‘cheese like’ flavour and awesome nutrient profile!” explains Miller. Not only does it boast a cheesy like taste (minus all the dairy fat), it’s a complete protein full of B vitamins including B12 in most varieties (Miller notes that B12 is fortified and contrary to popular belief it is not naturally occurring in anything but animal products). This makes it the ideal new super food for veggie lovers looking to boost their vitamin and protein intake. “Sprinkle on popcorn, kale chips or add to mashed potatoes for a creamy flavour!” suggest Miller.
Use it for: A protein punch, and as calorie-cutting cheese (or non-cheese) option.
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