Shove this in your face before you pass out.
Don’t you just love the word “superfood”? It takes humble vegetables such as Kale to the next level, making it superior to other foods around it. Who wants to eat normal food if you can have superfoods? That’s right, no one, which is why superfoods are such a great marketing strategy.
But I don’t want to sound all cynical. Of course, there are some foods that actually prove to be quite amazing, mainly because they are so much more nutritious than other foods. A great example is spirulina.
Not only does this green algae have a fun name, but it’s also packed with goodness and is quite versatile when it comes to cooking and baking. Spirulina has been around for thousands of years but only recently has it experienced a real health-food-hype.
Especially for vegetarians, spirulina can be a vital alternative to meat, not flavour-wise, but because of its protein content. In comparison, spirulina contains more than twice the amount of protein of a steak, minus all the fat and calories. Pretty good, if you ask me.
Here’s an even better quality of spirulina: It contains a lot of iron; 28,5 mg per 100 gr to be exact. This is great news for us women as we need 18mg of iron each day (double the amount of what men require). So if you ever feel tired and worn out, get yourself a spirulina shake to boost your energy.
The superfood is also said to support your immune system and even relieve allergy symptoms, all without any risks or side effects if taken responsibly. This means no more than 5 grams per day to start with as it has detoxifying qualities. Another important thing to do is to only eat spirulina that’s grown in a controlled environment as wild spirulina may be contaminated.
The verdict? If any food deserves the name “superfood,” it’s spirulina.
Image via Functional Foods Blog
To get the best results from your workout, it’s best to monitor what to eat before and after you hit the gym. Beforehand, you should try and eat at least 30 minutes before your planned workout.
Eating before you workout is important in kick starting your metabolism, especially if you exercise first thing in the morning. Having said that, nobody wants to go jogging on a full stomach – so keep your pre-workout meal light and easily digestible.
Recommended pre-workout meals:
- Homemade granola and natural or greek yoghurt
- Peanut butter on wholegrain toast
- Banana and wholegrain toast
- Cottage cheese and melon
- A tropical smoothie
After your workout is when you want to replenish your lost energy. Protein and carbohydrates are key during this time, in order to repair your worked muscles and restore your sugars. You should eat somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour after you finish exercising (don’t forget to stretch!). For the time-poor, try a protein shake or bar.
- A veggie omelette
- Grilled chicken breast with vegetables
- Tofu stir fry
- Tuna salad sandwich
- Salmon with broccolini and asparagus
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Can the food in your pantry make your hair grow longer and thicker? Super foods are not only praised because of what they can do to our bodies on the inside, but also promote clearer skin and longer hair. Stock up on these five super foods the next time you’re grocery shopping.
This all-round super food is a saviour since it works to improve the appearance of skin and promotes healthy hair growth. Snack on a few almonds each day to maintain healthy circulation, which will no doubt transform the appearance of dull and lifeless hair.
Whole grains such as quinoa are loaded with protein and vitamin E which is an essential building block of healthy hair, skin and nails. Did you know that hair is also made of protein? Eat various foods which will encourage hair growth and strengthen your locks from the inside out.
Not only does greek yoghurt contain large amounts of yummy protein, but just a small serving each day helps to restore the body of it’s nutrients and gives a boost of protein to lack lustre hair. Serve with your favourite fresh fruits and nuts for a quick snack at any time of the day.
Many types of beans are packed with zinc, iron and biotin which are all essential for long and healthy hair growth. Did you also know that people who suffer from biotin deficiencies also have overly-dry hair? Switch up your diet and watch the state of your hair transform before you know it.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important if you want to maintain good health. While the human body is unable to produce them by itself, it is essential to include salmon and flaxseed oil into your diet (at least once a week). Not enough omega-3 acids will usually lead to clogged pores, over-producing dandruff and a poor circulatory system.
Image via Forbes
Compulsive snacking could be the reason why you’re adding on those extra kilograms without even noticing. It all comes down to adapting healthy eating habits, and substituting fatty foods with healthy snacks filled with protein. These types of foods will keep you fuller for longer, and will curb any bad cravings you may have throughout the day.
The body will usually confuse feeling thirsty for hunger instead. Before you attack that packet of dry chips, drink a glass of water and see how you feel after. Most of the time this will eliminate any cravings, but in the situation where you are still hungry, choose to eat a small meal with slow burning energy.
Green Tea has many health benefits, mainly L-theanine which helps to relieve anxiety, settle a racing heart rate, and reduce blood pressure. Best of all, green tea can help to stop mindless snacking since it is a natural appetite suppressant. How does this work exactly? The catechins in green tea decreases the rise of blood sugar levels, and prevents a high insulin count. Keep green tea handy throughout the day or night for an added boost of natural energy.
Starting your morning with a breakfast high in protein will reduce bad snacking throughout the remainder of the day. Foods such as meat, eggs and fish all include amino acids that are necessary to maintain a healthy body. Make sure to stock up on easy to find foods such as peanut butter, nuts, yoghurt, and tuna to snack on throughout the day.
Don’t impulse buy snacks
Whether you’re at the supermarket or just out and about for your lunch break, try to avoid impulse buying any fatty or sugary snacks. Especially avoid chocolate and sweets as this type of compulsive eating causes a plethora of weight problems both now and in the future. Keep fruits on hand if you ever get the feeling of 3:30itis, since natural sugar is far better than anything which includes refined sugar or preservatives.
What do you choose to snack on throughout the day?
Image via My Fitness Pal
By Felicia Sapountzis
Looking for a way to boost your energy but sick of relying on supplements or energy drinks with a tonne of refined sugar? You’ve come to the right place. There are many foods which are tasty, packed with vitamins and nutrients, and available all year round to make you feel brand new.
Nuts are full of magnesium which is an essential mineral required by the body to maintain normal muscle and nerve function. However don’t over-do it, just a handful will be enough to keep you alert and give you the energy you need. Almonds, cashews, and brazil nuts should be stocked up in your pantry for a quick snack.
In particular egg yolks are filled with Vitamin B which helps to convert food into energy, and are a great option to eat before working out or for breakfast. They also contain Vitamin D for strong bones, and are one of the best sources of protein.
3. Brown rice
This carbohydrate is often harder to cook than white rice, but is better for your body in the longterm. It makes for a filling meal, and is a good choice for anyone suffering from digestive problems. Brown rice contains manganese which helps to produce energy from carbs, which is important for a healthy and balanced nervous system.
Quinoa is a gluten free superfood which contains more protein than brown or white rice. A great replacement for wheat or refined carbohydrates, since it is rich in amino acids and leads to extended energy levels. If you’re feeling knocked out by midday, add a little quinoa to your lunch and instantly notice the kick it gives you by the afternoon.
5. Goji berries
Used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, goji berries are a fantastic source of energy and promote the release of hormones in the body. Goji berries make for a low calorie snack when you’re feeling stressed out, since they support a healthy mood and are great for memory.
This vegetable is known for it’s cancer fighting properties, but is also rich in folate, potassium, Vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants to help the body on all fronts. If the taste of broccoli is too bitter for you, add a touch of salt to make it sweeter.
There are many ways to cook lentils, all of which are large sources of slowly digested protein and complex carbohydrates (and zero fat). Lentils provide a boost of energy when added to salads, soups and even in a burger.
8. Green tea
While coffee is also a source of energy, green tea is an option for those who want to try a healthier route. Rich in L-theanine and amino acids, it makes you feel alert in no time at all. Enjoy green tea at any time of the day, to feel invigorated and refreshed.
9. Black beans
Packed with fibre and protein, black beans will keep you feel full and energetic for prolonged periods of time. They target the body’s glucose levels and help your metabolism to work at it’s best.
Spinach contains high levels of iron which gives the body a boost of prolonged energy, even though you might feel depleted. Add into a smoothie for added vitamins which is easy to ingest. If it’s good enough for Popeye, it’s good enough for you!
Image via Lets Go Healthy
By Felicia Sapountzis