In the past years, a group of foods defined as superfoods have become quite popular. What differentiates these foods is that they are particularly high in antioxidants and nutrients. Antioxidants work to protect our bodies from free radicals which can come from the polluted environment, poor dietary choices, and even stress. Free radicals attack the body so our dear antioxidants help by protecting our cells from them. They aid in the prevention of aging and diseases, keeping us healthy and young.
In my opinion, all plant based natural growing foods should be considered a superfood because they all contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients to nourish and heal our bodies. The list of these is quite extensive so I’ve decided to introduce to you my top choices to make an easy, delicious smoothie. Most of these are grown here in the Dominican Republic and can be sourced locally at any supermarket. I do recommend purchasing organic when possible, especially since these foods will be eaten raw.
I am a big fan of smoothies because as previously emphasized in recent articles you can sneak in more nutrients into one meal. Change your recipes up daily and work on incorporating these superfoods into your diet. Select just one or two for your smoothie depending on your needs. This morning’s recipe detailed below will help you stay energized, keep your hormones balanced, improve the appearance of your skin, aid in your digestion, and even make you happier! Now that’s a good start to the day!
Recipe yields 2 smoothies:
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 2 cups of coconut milk or coconut water
- 3 tbsp of raw cacao
- 1 tbsp of maca powder
- 1 tbsp of flax seeds
- Toppings: Cacao nibs, shredded coconut, chia seeds, and bee pollen
Bananas – rich in potassium, electrolytes, and minerals, they are a great supplement for after-exercise recovery, beating the heat, or even assisting with a hangover. Bananas aid in the regulation of high-blood pressure, and due to their amount of soluble fiber, also promote healthy bowel movements. Bananas increase the production of serotonin, the happy hormone, and contain lots of vitamin B6 and vitamin A to keep your hair and nails looking beautiful.
Tip: It is crucial that you eat your bananas ripe because they are more alkaline- this means yellow with dark spots. I usually let them ripe on the counter, then peel them, and store them in a container in the freezer. When frozen they make a creamier consistency making your smoothies even more delicious. Try it if you haven’t, you won’t believe what you’ve been missing out on!
Strawberries – nature’s candy. Delicious and low in sugar they make the perfect fruit. They are rich in flavonoids (which is what gives fruits and vegetables their pigmentation). The anti-inflammatory benefits of strawberries have proven to have a strong effect for disease and cancer prevention.
Cacao – my favorite food in the world; I could live on it. The best part is that the Dominican Republic is a large producer of cacao so you can get the real deal: pure raw cacao to shred at home, or buy high-quality raw powder. Chocolate (aka cacao) contains up to 4 times the antioxidants found in tea! It’s high in magnesium and iron, improves circulation, and lowers blood-pressure. It will also give you a boost of energy. Plus; it contains a neurotransmitter that literally makes you happy which might be the reason why so many of us feel “better” when we eat chocolate, and can get hooked.
Coconut – the all-purpose superfood. Coconut can be used in so many different ways. Coconut water, oil, milk, shredded coconut… the choices are many as well as the benefits. Coconut water is high in amino acids, electrolytes, and potassium, which is exactly what we need after a workout or simply when we want to stay extra hydrated. Amino acids help our muscle tissues recover faster. Coconuts even consist of antibacterial properties.
Chia seeds – an enduring superfood that even the Aztecs consumed to stay energized. Excellent for exercise, Chia seeds keep you feeling satisfied longer and are full of essential amino acids that make it easy for your body to recover after a strenuous workout. The complete protein is high in calcium, boron, and magnesium which makes it easier for your body to absorb nutrients. High in fiber, they too help cleanse our digestive systems, and a number of antioxidants and fatty acids aid in the reduction of inflammation and cholesterol levels.
Tip: Chia seeds are great for people who want to lower their foods cravings; the protein and fiber create a sensation of being satisfied for a longer period of time. Try a chia pudding or as a topping.
Flaxseeds – an excellent source of omega 3, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and copper. Flax seeds have been my ally since I was a kid. One of the foods with the highest levels of fiber, they are a natural aid to combat constipation, defer hunger, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Tip: It is best to consume these grounded rather than whole to increase nutrient absorption. You can soak them overnight and then grind them or buy the powder directly.
Maca – a root originally from Peru that’s becoming more popular everyday for its amazing benefits. It has been called the natural “Viagra”- as it increases stamina but also helps balance hormones. It’s great for enhancing fertility in both men and women, and boosts the immune system. A great supplement to fighting chronic fatigue, improving memory, and improving overall energy levels.
Tip: introduce maca slowly into your diet. Start by adding 1 tbsp into your smoothies, and as with any food don’t consume it daily but alternate!
Bee pollen – one of nature’s most nourishing foods. Each pollen contains four million pollen grains! It is a complete protein and supplies the body with energy while strengthening the cardiovascular system. It improves fertility and even supports women through menopausal symptoms. High in vitamin B, it acts as a stress reliever and improves digestion. It’s also a great supplement for the skin because it contains all essential amino acids and vitamins that cleanse out toxins and regenerate skin cells.
In addition, the bees produce our next superfood which I don’t typically add to my smoothies as the fruit is sufficient in making the drink sugary, but I do use it often and I am a firm believer in its healing qualities.
Honey – I am a big fan of honey. Can you believe that every bee makes on average about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its life and are responsible for the reproduction of more than 80% of the world’s grain, fruits, and vegetables?! This seems unfathomable. It’s certainly the reason everyone is making a big deal about saving the bees; we need them! Honey, particularly the darker kinds, are very rich in antioxidants. It is antiseptic, heals wounds, increases energy, and has antibacterial properties.
Tip: Mix it in your tea or water with lemon when curing a cold or sore throat. Bees also provide us with royal jelly, which is what they feed the queen bee, and propolis. Local beekeepers are growing and so are their bee products.
MARTINATURALLY – HOLISTIC HEALTH COACH
I help women find their way to health and balance in all aspects of their lives. Health means much more than eating your greens; it involves everything from work, family life, and our inner thoughts… Anything that is affecting us.
There is no point to give you a list of foods to eat if you are feeling miserable because eventually you will fall off that healthy meal plan since there are many more factors affecting you that kale won’t solve. I am here to be your ally and help you find your own way to happiness and health.
To find out more visit www.martinaturally.com and feel free to contact me!