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

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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.

Re-New Week Day 2: Cayenne and L-Glutamine

With processed foods, chemical & artificial additives, over use of antibiotics, and stress  no wonder our gut lining is increasingly weakened. Digestive discomfort and disorders are more prevalent today than ever before. The first and foremost preventative or corrective measure is a healthy diet –  lots of vegetables, super foods, fish and lean meat (best to avoid processed foods, sugars, excess dairy, limit OTC drugs and antibiotics).

However, aside from a clean diet it is also a good idea to introduce a daily probiotic.  A probiotic is mostly healthy bacterium that reduces harmful bacteria and helps prevent infections in the digestive tract as well as reducing inflammation. It is crucial to have a healthy digestive system, as 80% percent of your immune system is located in your gut. Symptoms of digestive disorders vary, from indigestion, bloat, constipation, candida, even depression and mood swings.

Seeing how important is to keep your digestion in top shape, there are other natural aids to help support gut health. The amino acid L- Glutamine is a wonderful supplement for a healthy stomach and digestive system.  It is one of my favorites to add to smoothies for all of its wide range of health benefits.

First, L-glutamine is known to dramatically strengthen the stomach lining. It provides cells in the digestive tract with a crucial source of energy which aids in development of new cells, as well as increases the absorption capability of existing cells.  L-Glutamine helps with water absorption in the gut, which in turn aids in hydrating the entire body. Always a plus!

Aside from assisting in healthy digestion and gut repair, L-Glutamine works as an inherent neurotransmitter, aiding in healthy brain function and memory recollection. It is greatly used by athletes, as it helps to rebuild muscle while simultaneously breaks down fat.  In addition L-glutamine is known to help regulate blood sugar levels, enhance immune performance and fight infection, speed metabolism and may even decrease sugar and alcohol cravings.

The best way to take L-Glutamine is in powder form, making it readily digested. Add recommended dosage in your morning smoothie or juice and enjoy all of the wonderful health benefits it has to offer!

In addition to the daily probiotic, I added L-Glutamine to our smoothie today. I also added a serving of Spirulina, one of my favorite superfoods.    It is a micro-alga that has a high concentrate of protein, specifically made of essential amino acids.  Spirulina is great to add during our digestive restoration week, as it helps produce healthy stomach flora and  that repromote digestion. It is also has a high content of calcium, vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals, as well as iron and beta-carotene. Spirulina stimulates and boosts the immune system and detoxifies the body of pollutants and heavy metals. It is high in Chlorophyll, which purifies the blood, removing toxins from your system. Last but not least, it contains anti-inflammatory properties, may lower cholesterol, and even fight off allergies due to its histamine blocking effects.

Today’s Cucumber Melon Cayenne Smoothie contains loads of alkalizing vegetables and fruits, as well as the therapeutic spice- cayenne.    Cayenne is well-known for its digestive aid properties, among many other health benefits. It stimulates the digestive tract, which increases the flow of enzyme production, aiding is metabolizing food. It also reduces acid (very alkaline forming!), relieves gas and bloat, and helps digestion with absorption and elimination. It also aids in the digestive process by stimulating saliva. Cayenne also supports cardiovascular healthy, weight loss, natural detox, relieves joint pain and migraines, and has many anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen and ant-fungal properties. Cayenne is a great ant-flu and anti-cold agent as well, as it breaks down mucus and flushes from the body.

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Day 3 + half way through our detox!

Mango, Ginger + Coconut with Aloe Vera Juice

This smoothie has all sorts of goodness in it. Get ready to wake up your tastebuds, body, and mind with its refreshing and invigorating ingredients.

1/2 cup mango
1/4 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
2 tsp coconut oil
2 oz natural aloe vera juice, unsweetened
1 Tbs ground flaxseed (can reduce)
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup pure/filtered water

Mango is rich in vitamins, minerals, pre-biotic dietary fiber, and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids beta-carotene, alpha-carotene,and beta-cryptoxanthin. It is high in Vitamin C, which helps neutralize harmful oxygen-free radicals and contains potassium which is essential in maintaining healthy blood pressure and fluid balance.  Compared to most fruits, mango is fairly low on the glycemic index chart (41-60),  so enjoying mango occasionally will not spike your blood sugar levels.

Aloe Vera is an incredible plant that has many health benefits and medicinal uses. It contains loads of  health benefits and components such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide, and fatty acids.  Some vitamins include, folic acid, choline, Vitamins A, C + E, B vitamins, including B12 which is rarely found in plants. Minerals include calcium, magnesium, as well as selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Aloe vera also contains all 8 essential amino acids, as well as fatty acids which help lower fat in the blood cells and help reduce allergy symptoms as well as acid indigestion.

Aside from all of the vitamins and minerals aloe vera juice is extremely beneficial in the detoxification process. It also helps to soothe the digestion track, and regulates the digestive system. Because aloe vera is a gelatinous plant, when digested,  the gel moves through the intestines and absorbs any toxins and unwanted waste, helping to eliminate and flush out of the body. Aloe vera is alkalizing, which helps balance the pH in your body, as well as an anti-inflammatory and immune booster.

Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and immune booster. It helps to also improve digestion, absorb and assimilate essential nutrients throughout the body, ease muscle or joint discomfort, clears ‘microcirculatory channels’  (including sinus cavities),  and helps to clear nose and throat congestion. 

Flax seeds – these tiny little seeds are nutritional power houses. First, they are a great source of fiber, helping to regulate digestion and aid in the detoxification process. Flax is a great plant source of the essential fatty acid, Omega 3. Theses little seeds also contain 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 must be ground in order to gain all of the benefits they have to offer. When consumed whole they pass right through and are not digested fully.

Coconut oil is an amazing superfood filled with so many health benefits and nutrients. Coconut oil contains antioxidants, helps to absorb nutrients and vitamins, has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. 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 kills candida growth,  corrects many skin conditions, helps with hypothyroidism, and helps speed metabolism.