…my goal for the rest of this year and 2019 is to eat more of them!! Food has been on my mind a lot recently (probably with the holidays being here and all) and as I mentioned in a previous post I am really in love with the fitness program I have settled on but am still a work in progress when it comes to my diet. I am almost a year into this journey to get healthy and while I have made larger strides than I even thought possible on the fitness side of things, I am a work in progress on the nutrition front. While I feel SO much better than I did last year, after my recent trip to the doctor for my annual physical I have found I could be doing more nutritionally to get where I want to be health-wise.
While the fitness program I am following does a great job of also including an easy to follow meal plan, because of my particular food allergies I have had to sort of come up with my own version of it because I am so much more restricted in what I can eat than the average user. That being said, the super-food shakes I include in my diet each day have worked miracles for me in terms of energy levels, getting me all the nutrients I was missing before, filling me up so I don’t snack on junk food between meals, and just making me feel overall like a million bucks! What I have also started to work on is incorporating more of the ingredients in those shakes into the other meals of the day.
I am what you would call a lazy eater. I am not all that interested in food. I don’t particularly look forward to meals. Basically food for me is just a necessity….fuel to keep me going! Another reason why the shakes have worked so well for me…I don’t even have to think about them. Just throw them in the blender and go! Having gotten such amazing results from just one shake a day, however, it made me sit up and take much more notice of how food really can be your friend and ally if you use it correctly.
Superfoods in particular are so great because they pack a powerful punch of nutrients in one single food group that can do wonders for your overall health and even disease prevention. Now just as a disclaimer, no single food, super or not, is going to make you totally healthy and prevent all the diseases out there, but there are some food that go a long way in making your body and mind happier and healthier. While there are a lot of superfoods I could talk about, I picked my top 5 current favorite ones to go into more detail about below:
- Garlic – I 💚 Garlic! I use it to cook with almost everyday. Garlic is great for lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and even may prevent some types of cancer. It is also a good source of fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6 and Vitamin C (makes it good for immunity support as well). Not to mention, I really like the way it tastes, you may just want to pop a breath mint after you eat though!
- Leafy Greens – 🥗 – Think the ever-popular Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Arugula, Collard Greens, etc. These superfoods pack high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds and are also a great source of iron, calcium, fiber and Vitamin C. They are great for fighting heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. I routinely sauteed up spinach as a side dish for dinner or mix kale into my salads for lunch.
- Legumes – aka. beans, lentils, peas, etc. These little guys have become some of my favorite add-ins to my diet (see my lentil soup recipe under Main Dishes 🍲). They are full of protein and fiber along with the B vitamins. The protein and fiber make them great for filling you up so you don’t overeat or reach for unhealthy snacks during the day or at night while you are sitting on the couch, but they also have been shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and help with type-2 diabetes. Throw some beans in your salad, make black bean tacos, or try out that lentil soup recipe now that it’s cold outside!
- Sweet Potatoes – 🥔- Sweet potatoes might be my favorite superfood of all you guys! I have started eating these powerhouse vegetables several times a week as a side dish or even sometimes just for a light lunch or snack on their own. They are a great source of Vitamins A and C not to mention potassium and fiber. Surprisingly these root veggies may also help control blood sugar which can benefit people with diabetes. even despite their sweet flavor. They also are known for their high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Try them mashed, roasted and even in fry form! #yummy 🍟
- Salmon – 🐟 – In an effort to lower my cholesterol naturally, I have begun ramping up my salmon intake to about twice a week these days. This fish in particular is filled with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, not to mention potassium, B vitamins, healthy fats and of course protein. It helps keep heart disease and diabetes at bay as well as being really versatile and easy to prepare. I just throw it in the oven and bake it with some olive oil and garlic most of the time. When I feel like getting fancier I throw some honey in or gluten-free soy sauce which makes a quick, healthy and delicious main dish!
While those above are some of my favorite superfoods there are many, many more such as berries, mushrooms, seaweed, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, ginger, turmeric, eggs, green tea, oats, I could really go on and on. The point is there are a lot of options out there when it comes to eating for disease prevention, weight loss and overall good health. Find a few that you really like and make it a point to incorporate them more into your weekly meal plan. This is definitely one of my goals for 2019! I have already seen so many great results from including them into one meal a day, I am excited to see what happens when I make more of an effort to add them into others as well. Below are some pics of my superfood faves…enjoy!😊