Renew Week Day 5 : Flaxseed

Today’s superfood : Flaxseeds

These tiny little seeds pack a large nutritional punch. First, they are a great source of fiber, helping to regulate digestion and aid in the detoxification process. One tablespoon of contains 8 grams of fiber. Flax is an excellent plant source of the essential fatty acid, Omega 3. Theses little seeds also contain high amounts of potassium for a healthy heart and muscles, as well as iron and zinc to boost your immunity. They contain trace minerals such as riboflavin and niacin, thiamin, and B vitamins (all which help to turn food into energy). They also contain phytonutrients called lignans, which provide many antioxidant benefits. These phytonutrients help to fight cancer, particularly colon and breast cancer.

Flaxseeds are often use for weight management, as they expand when ingested, helping you feel fuller longer. The soluble fiber found in flaxseed has been proven to lower cholesterol, which prevents plaque build-up that is known to cause heart attacks, stroke and high images-3blood pressure.

There are many ways you can incorporate flaxseeds into your diet. Try sprinkling them in yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, salads, and even in your favorite sandwich spread. They have a mild nutty flavor and are pretty subtle when added to more flavorful foods.
It is very important to grind your flaxseeds before using (you can buy them already ground but they oxidize and can become rancid rather quickly) They must be ground in order to gain all of the benefits – when consumed whole they pass right through and are not absorbed. If you do purchase them already ground, which can be more convenient, be sure to keep them properly sealed and refrigerated.

I hope you enjoyed all of the amazing superfoods we incorporated during Renew Week and are feeling healthier, happier and rejuvenated in the New Year. I suggest to use at least two of these superfoods in your daily diet each day. I guarantee you will start to feel a difference in your energy levels, mental clarity, and overall health in no time.

Advertisements

Renew Week Superfood Day 4: Coconut Oil

Today’s superfood: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an amazing superfood filled with so many health benefits and nutrients. It contains antioxidants, helps to absorb nutrients and vitamins, has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, (which are attributed to the laric, capric, and caprylic acid specific to coconut oil). It is made up of mostly Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), which unlike Long Chain Fatty Acids, are sent straight to the liver for energy production. It also kills candida growth, helps with hypothyroidism, and helps speed metabolism. Diets high in MCFAs are known to improve glucose tolerance and reduce body fat accumulation when compared to diets high in LCFs.  Although it is high in saturated fat, the lauric acid found in coconut oil allows for it to not raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and is actually known to improve heart health.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

coconut-oil

– Increases metabolism

– Aids in digestion

– Improves healthy hair and nails

– Improves heart health

-Aids in weight loss

-Strengthens immune system

-Maintains healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels

– Improves bone health

-Aids in healthy functioning of thyroid and endocrine system

-Kills candida growth

It is important to look for unrefined, pure, and/or virgin coconut oil when purchasing. This maintains the integrity of the oil, allowing you to gain all of the benefits the natural oil has to offer. Coconut oil is also great to cook with,as it is not damaged by high heat levels (as olive oil and other medium heat oils can be). You will find coconut oil is solid in room temperature, however it is easily blended when added to a smoothie.

Note: it is important to make sure you add a healthy fat to your smoothies, to properly absorb all of the benefits of the veggies and fruits added. Coconut oil also gives smoothies a nice creamy texture and a subtle tropical taste. It’s a smoothie superfood staple in our household, I highly recommend it for everyone!

Renew Week Superfood Day 3: Maca Root

Today’s superfood : Maca Powder

This superfood has been a staple in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years. In fact, it is still called “theimages-2 food of the gods” in many cultures because of the wide variety of health benefits this superfood contains.

The Maca root resembles a very large radish, however for convenience and potency levels it is mostly taken in the powder form. Maca has an extensive and vast variety of health benefits. It is known to increase energy, endurance, strength, immunity, circulation, fertility, and libido. One serving of dried Maca powder contains more than 10% protein, nearly 20 amino acids, including 7 essential amino acids.  The Maca root contains more than 50 phyto-chemicals including many vitamins such as B1, B2, B12, Vitamin C, and zinc. It also contains calcium, phosphorous, protein and fiber.

images-1Maca is also known for thyroid regulation, helps to lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, and enhance memory. Feeling stressed? This superfood helps to relieve stress by reducing the effects of cortisol on the adrenal glands. Maca not only helps relax your nervous system and reduce stress, it also give you a boost of natural energy. This root vegetable contains energy producing properties, but unlike caffeine, it does not adversely affect your nervous system. Essentially, it gives you a non-jittery boost without the crash.

As with all concentrated superfoods, Maca should be taken in recommended doses. Start by adding a dose each day to your smoothie, you will almost immediately begin to feel the benefits of this powerful root.

*Maca should not be consumed if you are pregnant or lactating

Renew Week Superfood Day 2 : Goji Berries

Goji Berries

Used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years, Goji berries are regarded as a longevity, strengthimages-building and immune boosting food. They are also the most nutritionally dense fruit on earth. This superfood contains 18 kinds of amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids, up to 21 trace minerals, iron, polysaccharides, B & E vitamins, and many other nutrients. Goji berries have a very high amount of antioxidants and also contain beta carotene, which is great for healthy skin. They also contain astaxanthin, an anti-oxidant that protects against harmful UV rays, and even helps reverse skin damage.

The Goji berry contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial compounds. This nutritional powerhouse actually contains the highest concentration of protein of any fruit and more than 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium and zinc.

imgresWhether you incorporate Goji powder in your smoothies or snack on these tart berries in their true form, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. Consumption of Goji berries have shown large improvements in overall health – in boosting your immune system, gaining energy and an overall increase in vitality and well being. When taken regularly, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Goji berries can increase your mood, energy levels, quality of sleep, eye health and digestion. They are also known to reduce stress levels, depression, and fatigue. These berries may help lower blood pressure, lower the “bad” cholesterol, and help with diabetes, liver disease, and depression.

So simply start incorporating these impressive berries in your diet today and get one step closer to reaching your optimal well-being. You’re worth it! Invest in your health – your body and mind will thank you 🙂

***If you are taking medication for diabetes, or blood pressure, or take the blood thinner please consult your doctor before consuming***

Renew Week Superfood : Chia Seeds

I am so glad you are joining us for Vincera Institute’s Renew Week at the Galley Cafe.

I am excited to be incorporating and sharing with you some of my favorite superfood smoothie additions this week as well as sending you all of the wonderful health benefits they have to offer. We will be highlighting a different superfood each day.

Starting off the week will be the tiny but powerful Chia Seed.

Chia seeds are loaded with Omega 3s which are essential for optimal health, specifically in healthy brain functioning and muscle building (they are one of the rare seeds that have the perfect ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6). Chia seeds also help to slow digestion, preventing your blood sugar from spiking. Their stabilizing effect on blood sugar may also fights insulin resistance –  which can be associated with excess belly fat.

These tiny seeds also contain a high dose of fiber (1 oz serving contains 11 grams), aiding digestion and helping to keep you fuller longer. They pack in a healthy dose of protein, calcium, phosphorous and manganese. Chia seeds are considered to be hydrophilic, meaning they absorb large amounts of water quickly (10x their weight!).  They greatly enhance hydration, as well as promote electrolyte balance.  Their hydrophilic properties also aid in the natural cleansing process. As they expand and bulk in our systems, they help to flush out extra toxins as they are being digested and eliminated from our bodies.
Chia-Seeds
As you can see, it is obvious why these little seeds are considered one of my favorite superfoods. Even if I do not add them to my morning smoothies, I add a teaspoon to a glass of water and sip throughout the day. You can actually see the hydrophilic properties take action, as they plump up and form a gel like coating.

Tip: it’s best to use chia “gel” when adding to a smoothie. Just place 1/4 cup in 1/2 cup water and soak overnight.