When you look at the foods that dominate TV commercials, billboards, and grocery aisles – white bread, French fries, chips, etc. – they are high in sugar and/or starch and low in everything else on the nutrient spectrum. These nutrient poor foods, among other things, can actually lead to overeating due to starvation. Not starvation of calories, but starvation of nutrients. If the body is expecting vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. and it only receives carbohydrates, your body will tell you to keep eating beyond the point of fullness. Enter superfoods.
Aside from a popular buzz word, superfoods are pure, natural awesomeness. These foods are LOADED with the vitamins, minerals, fats and fiber that the body craves. In other words, superfoods are nutrient dense foods.
And that’s the strategy you should start taking on: instead of worrying about the amount of calories in your food, worry about the amount of nutrients. Say you have chicken for dinner and are searching for a side dish where you usually serve rice. Start small and choose brown rice instead of white rice to boost the fiber and B-Vitamin complex in your meal. Even better, have a baked sweet potato instead of the brown rice for antioxidants and even more fiber. EVEN BETTER, have a sweet potato AND sautéed arugula and onions and your meal just became a nutrient powerhouse.
How to get started
Humans are creatures of habit. What that means for our food choices is we like to eat the same things over and over. So instead of turning your eating habits completely upside down, try adding a superfood to things you already know you like. For example:
- Add an avocado to a favorite sandwich. The fats in avocado will slow digestion and keep you full; the fiber will help regulate the bowels, and the B-Vitamins will give you an energy boost.
- Have blueberries at breakfast. Blueberries are a delicious addition to pretty much any breakfast food and are loaded with antioxidants needed to combat the negative side effects of stress and modern living and boost the immune system.
- Eat green things. Duh. But seriously: green vegetables, especially leafy greens line spinach, swiss chard, kale and arugula contain the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. They’re basically the cream of the crop when it comes to nutrient density and they’re easy to add in to side dishes, casseroles, soups and stews without changing the flavor.
- Cook with garlic and onions. These sulfur rich vegetables ward off illness – they’re antiviral, anti fungal, and antibacterial. They’re tasty raw or cooked and add flavor punch to meat and vegetable dishes. If you’re not a fan of the taste (are you crazy?!), try taking a garlic capsule.
- Replace vegetable oil with coconut oil. Coconut oil is another great source of digestible fats. It can stand high heat, which makes it a perfect oil for cooking. Replacing cheap vegetable oils with coconut oil will immediately lower inflammation coming from the damaged oils.
Easy, right? Just remember: don’t overdo it. Small, manageable changes for your health are the best way to make sure they stick. You know what will work best for you. So, as always, take what you want and leave the rest.
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