Superfoods-2

An Epic Healthy Juice Recipe For Your New Year Cleanse

Take your cleanse to the next level.

January 1, 2016

Beauty Superfoods For Healthy, Glowing Skin

Once the domain of the kitchen, superfoods are creeping into our beauty regimens – and for good reason! Beauty superfoods, as we like to call them, proves that our health consciousness is going mainstream as we put our trust in the power of these wonder foods.

RELATED: Simple Steps To Detoxing Your Pantry

Superfoods ingredients offer a holistic approach to achieving that elusive glowing skin. What you apply on the outside should go hand-in-hand with what you put in your mouth. The high nutrient content in superfoods has been proven to be beneficial to your health and wellbeing, inside and out.

But before you start slapping greens on your face, we explore why superfood-charged skincare is a growing trend and how it stacks up against those found in our diet.

Superfoods have been proven to help protect and support the skin’s structure and cells, greatly improving your overall health and most importantly, your skin! Cosmetic manufacturers have been able to harness the properties in these healthy foods for effective topical use.

Superfoods in beauty have been around for centuries but have been gaining popularity over the past few decades. Natural skincare ingredients like coconut, avocado, aloe vera, acai and honey are becoming increasingly popular – and for good reason. The variety of ingredients being incorporated into skincare has even started expanding.

Education plays a large role in this new trend. The elevated demand for superfoods is growing because more consumers are becoming aware of the benefits of superfoods in their skincare routines. People are starting to take steps towards doing the right thing for their overall health and wellbeing by not focusing on just one problem.

So why are these beauty superfoods so good? The foods we eat play a large role in our skin’s appearance and a healthy gut and digestion is key to a radiant, clear complexion. Applying these superfoods topically can wield the same benefits. When you apply these ingredients to your skin, they help to nourish and protect the upper and lower layers of the skin, creating visible results. However, consuming superfoods in your diet will reap these benefits on a cellular level and help make your whole body healthier.

This is because superfoods like kale and coconut supply a concentrated mix of antioxidants that can be beneficial in treating certain skin conditions and can aid in the prevention against the ageing process. Pomegranate, for example, is known for its ability to penetrate the skin’s surface and assist in cell regeneration and collagen protection that protects against cellular damage.

Key products that include superfoods

Nutrimetics Energise Daily Boost Creme-Gel: Formulated with beetroot extract, taro leaf extract and Japanese pagoda flower extract, this gel moisturiser helps to energise skin while protecting it from everyday environmental stress.

Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+ Moisturiser: Featuring pomegranate and mango seed butter, this daily hydrating moisturising protects against environmental elements and hydrates skin.

Image via theglow.com.au

August 9, 2015

7 Reasons Chia Seeds Are Good For You

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods you can add into your diet. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for healthy brain function. Add just a one tablespoon of chia seeds into your diet to receive all the benefits of this remarkable superfood.

RELATED: Meet The New Supermarket Superfoods

Weight loss

Chia seeds are associated with weight loss since they are packed with fibre and provide more than 40 per cent of your daily intake. It can help to decrease bloating and will keep you fuller for longer.

Good fat

They are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids which assist in healthy brain and heart health.

Blood sugar

Chia seeds are also beneficial when it comes to keeping blood sugar at a healthy level. Enjoy them in your breakfast cereal, in your smoothie, or even in a glass of water.

Arthritis

Who knew that chia seeds are also rich in calcium and phosphorus? They are ideal for someone suffering from arthritis and can assist in healthy bone function.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Incorporate chia seeds into your diet if you are suffering from a cold or flu. They boast many anti-inflammatory properties which can help to get your health back on track.

Improves digestion

Ever feel sluggish or bloated after a big meal? Enjoy one glass of water with chia seeds to regulate your body from the inside out.

Energy

For a boost of energy in the afternoon, enjoy a snack with added chia seeds to get you past 3:30itis.

Image via Bon Appetit

August 7, 2015

Psyllium: The Superfood Which Can Help You Lose Weight

Ladies, there’s someone new and exciting I’d like you to meet: Australia’s latest superfood, psyllium.

RELATED: Why Detox Diets Are Dodgy And Don’t Work

Psyllium (pictured) is a 100 per cent natural source of fibre and can be added to recipes, smoothies or cereal without altering the taste of the dish. You can also get pure, natural psyllium husk from supplements such as Metamucil.

Psyllium, weight loss, superfood

What’s more, we should all be getting more fibre in our diets, especially if we’re trying to shed a few kilos. Why? A recent US study found a higher daily intake of fibre will help us lose weight nearly as much as following a low-calorie diet.

Trial participants who ensured they got the recommended 30g of fibre daily, as part of their normal diet, saw their overall health improve through weight-loss and lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Here, popular and well-regarded Sydney dietitian, nutritionist, author and busy mum, Dr Joanna McMillan (pictured), shares her top knowledge on fibre and easy ways to incorporate more into our diets.

Psyllium, weight loss, superfood

And Dr Joanna should know; she’s vice president of the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA) and is an ambassador for Diabetes Australia and Australian Pineapples.

What is psyllium? Psyllium comes from the outer husk of the seed of a particular plant. It’s an incredible source of fibre and soluble fibre in particular. It’s also gluten-free so ideal for those unable to get fibre from common wholegrains.

What are its health benefits? Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel in the gut. This helps you to feel full and eat less; it stimulates your gut to contract thereby keeping you regular; it slows the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrates present; it helps to lower cholesterol levels; it fuels the gut microbiome (the good bugs in your gut) and it helps to bind and carry out of the body potential carcinogens and other toxins.

Why is psyllium not well-known? Most people have probably heard of the brand Metamucil, but not realised that psyllium is the active ingredient. You can also buy psyllium husks in health and whole food stores, but because it hasn’t been talked about in mainstream media, most people won’t have known what it was useful for.

What is the best way to consume psyllium? You can simply dissolve it in water and drink, or add it to smoothies, yoghurt, pancake or muffin mixes. You can also even stir it through mashed potato.

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Why is fibre important? It’s important primarily for gut health – keeping us regular, feeding the good bacteria in our gut (which in turn boosts immune function) and helping to prevent gut problems. But it also helps with blood glucose and insulin control as well as promoting healthy cholesterol profiles.

What health problems can you encounter without a fibre-rich diet? Principally, poor gut health, but this has a knock-on effect on the rest of the body. If your gut is sluggish and you feel bloated, it affects your energy levels and your motivation to exercise and eat well.

How can fibre, and psyllium, help you lose weight? Fibre-rich meals help to fill us up and feel sated after the meal. This can help to stop you raiding the biscuit tin in-between meals. By lowering blood glucose and insulin, fibre can also potentially boost fat burning and keep your hunger pangs at bay.

Why is psyllium husk the next superfood? Psyllium has so many health benefits and it’s so easy to incorporate into your diet. It has the potential to assist with blood glucose control, reduce constipation, reduce blood levels of “bad” LDL-cholesterol, lower blood pressure and may help in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. It can also help you to lose weight by making you feel fuller for longer.

 the zone diet, eating plan, weight loss, diet plans, womens health

 

April 25, 2015

Top 10 Energy Boosting Foods

Are you lacking in energy, after juggling work/kids/home-life/personal commitments? Does your life feel like a marathon, from start to finish, each day?

RELATED: Nutrition For Commitment Phobes

If you answered yes, and you’re struggling to achieve a home/life balance, as I am, then it might be high time you looked at fine-tuning your diet. Never fear, help is at hand dear readers, thanks to well-regarded qualified, practicing nutritionist and passionate foodie, Jessica Cox (pictured).

health, nutrition, wellness

Jessica is armed with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) and more than eight years of clinical experience. She is also the founder and business owner of the successful Jessica Cox Nutritionist Clinic (JCNC), based in Brisbane. She treats all health conditions, but specialises in ongoing digestive issues and food intolerances. And here, Jessica reveals her top tips on how we can all lead a healthier, more energised and balanced life.

health, nutrition, wellness

Q: What are the easiest and best ways women can boost their energy?

The best possible way to boost your energy is to eat regular meals throughout the day which contain a balance of your macronutrients: this being carbohydrates, protein and fats. Most importantly, starting the day with a breakfast within the first 30 minutes of rising is ideal. If this is not possible, then grab a small snack (such as a banana) to see you through to your breakfast meal, in an hour’s time at the latest.

When you start the day with a well-balanced breakfast, it ensures that your blood-sugar levels remain stable instead of dropping quite low from the get-go. By following this breakfast with regular meals and snacks through your day, you continue to keep your blood-sugar levels stable and your cells sufficiently fuelled to keep you energised.

An example of a balanced meal for breakfast would be a piece of rye toast or a sweet potato rosti (starchy, slow release carbs), plus some baby spinach (non-starchy carbs full of nutrients, though not enough slow release energy on its own), a poached egg or some smoked salmon (protein and a little fat) and some avocado (more fats).

poached eggs

A sweet version may be oats (starchy, slow-release carbs) plus some chia seeds, almond meal and nut butter (protein and fats) and some fresh strawberries to top (non-starchy carbs full of nutrients, though not enough slow release energy on its own). If you would like more of a breakdown of what carbohydrates, protein and fat foods are you can check out my f.a.q section on my website.

health, nutrition, wellness

What are the top 10, best energy-boosting foods and why?

Fundamentally, the best way to boost your energy is by adhering to the above. You can eat foods rich in B vitamins and magnesium to fuel your energy levels, yet if they are not combined with enough protein or quality fats to keep you going you will still end up feeling tired. That being said, some foods quite nutrient-dense that will facilitate quality energy levels when combined with a balanced diet are:

  1. Brazil nuts: Rich in selenium and an important nutrient for thyroid health.
  2. Pumpkin seeds: Rich in the mineral zinc which is vital for hundreds of enzyme functions within the body.
  3. Sardines: The fishy food everyone hates! Sardines are a powerhouse of essential fatty acids, protein, calcium and zinc. Try them in my artichoke and lemon sardine smash recipe, on my website!
  4. Oats: These contain slow-release carbohydrates which keep us going for hours, while being a plentiful supply of B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
  5. Barley: Similar to oats, Barley is ideal coming into the colder weather and can be added to soups and stews. It contains plant-based iron for supporting red blood cells along with selenium.
  6. Red meat: Many of us are too afraid of red meat! Good-quality red meat is an abundant source of B12, Iron and B vitamins integral for red blood cell development.
  7. Avocado: Packed with B5 for supporting your adrenal glands and also plenty of quality fats for keeping your cell membranes healthy, avocados are a great superfood.
  8. Rainbow trout: Similar to salmon, trout is quite rich in omega fats, which helps keep your brain firing on all cylinders, while also being an abundant source of protein and B12.
  9. Sprouts: Think alfalfa, mung beans and broccoli sprouts; these little guys are jam-packed with nutrients and are an easy addition to any salad. They are also fantastic on top of peanut butter on toast!
  10.  Tahini: What’s not to like about it? Filled with essential fats, protein and loads of calcium, this favourite spread of mine will nurture your nervous system and add a punch of creamy flavour to everything.

Bonus food – Eggs: Nature’s gift of perfection (unless you are intolerant, of course). Eggs are packed with lecithin to help support your nervous system and plenty of protein to keep you charged.

health, nutrition, wellness

What do you think about restrictive diets? What diet is best for optimum health and energy?

Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook knows I am 100 per cent against restrictive diets, inclusive of fad diets, no matter how healthy they appear on the surface. Any restrictive diet leads to an imbalance of macronutrient intake and often results in “falling off the wagon” as a result; people usually give in to their cravings for carbs, in most cases.

Even more worrying is the destructive food relationship that goes hand-in-hand with restrictive diets. They create anxiety and fear around food and a very unhealthy relationship with eating in general. Restrictive diets can also damage our metabolism and make it even harder to shift weight as we age.

Regular, balanced eating with meals containing your macronutrientsis, by far, the best diet for optimal health and energy. A very general rule of thumb (and please keep in mind that this changes depending on your personal needs) is to fill half your plate with fresh vegetables, 1/3 with protein, the other 1/3 with a complex carbohydrate and then add a few tablespoons of a fat (Try 1/4 avocado, or some lovely oil and/or some nuts and seeds). Then, make sure your morning tea and afternoon tea snacks have some protein within them, such as some nuts and seeds (or nut/seed butters), or cheese, yoghurt or even some fish or an egg.

health, nutrition, wellness

Images via Pixabay

April 19, 2015

5 Tasty Ways To Cook Quinoa

Include this healthy wholegrain, superfood into your weekly diet to benefit from the large volumes of calcium, vitamin E, and did we mention that it’s also gluten-free?

Even though quinoa is so healthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is tastes bad. If you want to start cooking with quinoa, pair it with these tasty dishes which are nothing to be feared.

RELATED: Quinoa and Goji Berry Breakfast Cookies

Black bean wrap

Use one cup of dry quinoa with boiled black beans, feta cheese, and avocado for a quick snack which is perfect if you’re on-the-go. The meal is filling enough for dinner or lunch, and is best stored in an air-tight container for freshness.

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Chicken

Quinoa can be used in lieu of rice or couscous, without the extra fatty feeling on your hips. This particular meal uses spicy charcoal chicken breast, fresh vegetables and fluffy quinoa – yum!

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Egg and broccoli breakfast bowls

Treat yourself to a luxurious Sunday brunch made with spinach, fried eggs, broccoli and fluffy quinoa. It’s the perfect alternative to a standard porridge dish.

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Butternut squash salad

If you’re giving your body a bit of a carbohydrate detox, then a salad is always a great option. This beauty combines roasted squash, quinoa, capsicum and coriander for an aromatic dish which works well as tomorrows leftovers.

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Quinoa bars

Indulge in delicious breakfast bars with all of your favourites including chocolate chips, fruits, muesli and healthy quinoa. Prepare the bars the night before, and store them in the fridge for that fresh crunch.

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Images via Skinny Mom, Half baked Harvest, The Cafe Sucre Farine, Delicious As It Looks, ETC All The Rest

April 11, 2015

Bone Broth: Superfood Or Fad?

The term ‘bone broth’ might conjure up images of witches cackling over a bubbling caldron, but you needn’t be put off; this hearty stock is fast gaining popularity as the next superfood. 

RELATED: 5 Superfoods For Healthy Hair

Far from its strange name, bone broth is actually a very simple, inexpensive and easy-to-make soup. It is made by boiling bones in water for at least 24 hours to extract the natural goodness. Additional vegetables and spices can be added to enhance the flavour, but bone broth is stock in its basic form.

“It’s basically glorified homemade soup that’s having a moment in the spotlight,” says Larina Robinson, wholefood dietitian and founder of The Body Dietetics. But unlike store-bought stock, bone broth leeches key minerals and nutrients from bones to pack a serious superfood punch. 

What’s more, this golden elixr is associated with a tonne of health benefits. Advocates claim it boosts the immune system, eases join pain, rebuilds the gut, combats stress and inflammation, aids digestion and is great for hair and nails. 

“Despite its trendiness, there is actually merit to some of the reported benefits,” Robinson admits. With fans like Divergent star Shailene Woodley, pro basketballer Kobe Bryant and celebrity chef Pete Evans, it’s certainly a trend worth a closer look. 

Bone broth, health, super foods, weight loss, women's health

The benefits of bone broth

A simple Google search reveals over 493,000 results for bone broth benefits, but Robinson says we should remain skeptical about some claims. “A good dose of homemade chicken soup has shown promising evidence to help boost the immune system,” she says. “If it helps my hair and skin survive through the cold then that’s a bonus- but it’s not proven.”

Pro-Paleo health professionals believe bone broth can actually be a great source of nutrients. The idea behind it is simple: simmering bones for a long period allows minerals to leach from the bones and into the broth, delivering a potent blend.

“It’s incredibly high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, boron and phosphorous,” says Cassie Mendoza-Jones, naturopath and founder of Elevate Vitality. “It’s also full of healing gelatin and is readily absorbed and easily digested.”

Bone broth has also gained praise as an ideal replacement of supplements, but Robinson says that’s dubious. “I would always recommend food and natural alternatives before synthetic products, but it’s difficult to measure the dose of nutrients you’re getting in each batch as it’s such a variable product,” she explains. 

Regardless, she agrees that there are clear benefits of making your own stock rather than heading to the supermarket. “A homemade soup stock or ‘bone broth’ will trump any packaged stock cube or ready mix by far in both nutrition and depth of flavour.”

Bone broth, health, super foods, weight loss, women's health

Should you try it?

Personal trainer Cassey Miller first came across bone broth at a women’s health seminar. “There were so many amazing stories about changes in weight loss, skin, hair and digestion that I just had to try it!” she tells SHESAID. 

Now, Miller, who runs Bondi’s Bottoms Up! Fitness, drinks the broth two to three times a week. “My goal is to try to have it every morning. [I’ve heard] it should be the first thing to hit your stomach each day for maximum benefits,” she says. 

Cassey is beaming and believes she can see and feel the benefits. “My skin is now glowing and I just feel so amazing when I start my morning with a steaming mug,” she says.

So, if you’re a Paleo dieter or not, one thing is for sure: nutrition experts agree that making your own meals using natural, whole ingredients is the best way to boost your health. Whether you choose to call it bone broth or just good ‘ol stock soup, this is one trend that’s here to stay. 

Five tips for making bone broth

  1. Source quality produce: “Opt for a butcher who specializes in glass-fed meats,” says Mendoza-Jones. Minimal ingredients mean quality is key. 
  2. Watch the sodium: Adding extra seasoning can tip the nutritional value of this simple broth. “[Soup is] typically high in sodium, which is something we don’t need any more of in our diets,” says Robinson. The beauty of this superfood is its simplicity, so keep the ingredient list basic. 
  3. Everything in moderation: Bone broth isn’t a meal replacement and should not be taken in place of supplements. Robinson recommends consulting your healthcare practitioner if you plan to sip it daily, to make sure it’s right for you.
  4. Waste not, want not: TV presenter Sally Obermeder adds leftover broth to pho soups and casseroles and even uses it in place of oil when cooking. 
  5. Freeze it: I Quit Sugar author Sarah Wilson says bone broth should keep for several days in the fridge or can be poured into ice cube molds and frozen for later.

Images via Swiish.

March 23, 2015

Rainbow Salad Veggie Bowls Recipe

One of the biggest food trends at the moment is most definitely a salad, but it doesn’t mean they have to be bland and boring!

Create this delicious vegetable bowl which not only tastes incredible, but is super-filling and looks perfect for Instagram, so don’t forget the hashtags!

RELATED: How To Make Mason Jar Salads

Ingredients

1 cup kale

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup beets

1/3 cup beets

3-5 broccoli florets

30g radish

30g beets (cubed)

1/2 avocado (sliced)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Method

  1. Place the leafy greens at the bottom of your salad for the base.
  2. Arrange the vegetables, cooked grains, and finally the avocado on top.
  3. Dress with oil and lemon juice to finish.

Image via In My Bowl

March 5, 2015

Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl

Fuel your body with a delicious mixture of chia seeds and oats first thing in the morning.

Chia seeds are fantastic because they are packed with slow-burning energy, and help to keep you feeling fuller for longer! Don’t forget to sprinkle some of your favourite diced fruit and goji berries over the top for a sweet taste.

RELATED: Banana, Coconut, and Goji Berry Bread

Ingredients

4 tbsp chia seeds

1 cup almond milk

2 bananas (chopped)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Two pinches of cinnamon

2 tbsp raw buckwheat oats

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp raw almonds

2 tbsp hemp seeds

Method

  1. Slice and mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl, and stir through the chia seeds.
  2. Whisk through the almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon until they have all combined. Store in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next morning, add the oats, raisins, and chopped almonds into a small bowl with water.
  4. Once they have finished soaking, place the chia pudding into a bowl and strain the oats before layering it over the top. Serve with some sliced seasonal fruit and goji berries for extra flavour.

Image and Recipe courtesy of Oh She Glows

February 17, 2015

Top 5 Weightloss Superfoods You Need Right Now

Are you determined to get fit and trim this year, in manner of a superhero? Look no further than your fridge, girlfriend, for you’re going to need some superfoods.

RELATED: Make 2015 A Fresh Start

Leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell says rather than spend your hard-earned on expensive detox programs to lose weight, it might be high time for a diet overhaul.

This means investing in your health the easy way: by focusing on nutrient-rich, low-calorie superfoods which make for super-healthy snacks. Susie, (pictured) who just launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, lists her favourite superfoods as: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli (or broccolini).

“Superfoods are foods that are chock-full of nutrition and, in a world where many of us do not burn as many calories as we would like to eat, in order to maximise our nutrition, targeting superfoods on a daily basis is a good way to help improve our overall nutritional intake,” she says.

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

And while overhauling your diet isn’t always inexpensive, as good-quality food can be relatively costly, especially if not in season, Susie advises we counter this by making smart choices. “Targeting a few key superfoods, in a budget-conscious way, is a good way to improve your daily nutritional intake,” she says.

“Adding in green tea, tinned salmon and frozen berries for example, won’t break the bank, but will instantly improve your intake of omega-3 fat and antioxidants.”

Let’s examine the goodness in Susie’s top picks: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli.

Berries: Any berries are great for you, and taste amazing, but Susie says blueberries in particular are packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre, while also being relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. You can enjoy them as a light snack in between meals; as a fibre boost to smoothies and juices; or as a sweet treat after dinner with a little Greek yoghurt and seeds or nuts. Yum! Another good option is strawberries.

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

Beetroot: This pretty purple-crimson veggie is of exceptional nutritional value; especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. Beetroots are also an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium. And, did you know? The greens should not be overlooked; they can be cooked up and enjoyed in the same way as spinach. Handy tip: If your hands become stained during preparation and cooking beetroot, rub some lemon juice over them to help remove the colour.

Salmon: This yummy superfood – or should that be superfish – is packed with healthy fats and high-quality protein, plus lots of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12. Of all the different types of fish, salmon has received the most praise for being a nutritional marvel and is said to be perfect “brain food”. Above all, it is salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids content which makes it particularly nutritious – health experts advise us to eat such oily fish (tuna is another) at least three times a week. It also makes for a versatile dish. Sold!

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

Walnuts: These delicious, brain-shaped little pocket rockets are often called the King of Nuts for their health-boosting properties. Just ten walnuts provides a massive dose of long-chain polyunsaturated fats known to optimise the composition of the cell wall, which can allow our fat-burning hormones to work better. Cool! What’s more, they also contain cancer-fighting properties and boost both your heart and brain health. The unsalted, raw kind are obviously preferable.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flowering head is used as a popular green veggie. And, it’s so nutritious, a slightly health-obsessed former personal trainer of mine used to advise me to eat it raw and often to ward off cold and flues. It’s said to lower cholesterol, particularly when steamed, and contain cancer-fighting properties and a wide range of phytochemicals which protect against many chronic diseases. Broccoli is also a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, folate and fibre. Broccolini, if you prefer, is also similarly nutritious and is smaller, milder and sweeter.

Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is out now. Visit www.shapeme.com.au or www.susieburrell.com.au.

Images, in order, via en.paperblog.com; supplied; www.livingfoodslifestyle.co.nz; and www.thankgodimnatural.com.

February 9, 2015

Goji, Acai And Blueberries – Are They Superfoods?

Superfood’ is a term to describe a type of food that is supposed to have exemplary health benefits and these days we seem to be hearing this term more frequently. Goji, acai and blueberries have all been labelled with the term ‘superfood’ and they definitely pack a lot of punch when it comes to beneficial properties.  Here’s why:

Goji berries

Goji berries are native to the Himalayas but can also be found growing wild in Mongolia – a testament to how well they grow in harsh climates.  Most of the commercially produced berries are now grown in China and are sometimes referred to as ‘red diamonds’.  For centuries they have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes because of their impressive makeup with all of the essential amino acids, numerous vitamins and fifteen times the amount of iron found in spinach.  Although there hasn’t yet been extensive testing carried out on these berries it is thought that they have a range of health benefits.

  • The beta-carotene helps to promote healthy skin
  • The high levels of vitamin C can help to boost your immune system
  • The amino acids help to build muscle and produce energy
  • The antioxidants in Goji berries can help to repair cell damage
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are thought to help with dizziness and eyesight

Acai berries

Acai berries are most commonly found in the Amazon rainforests and for centuries have been known for their healing and energy-boosting properties.  The berries grow near the top of the acai palm tree in huge clusters and are highly perishable which means that harvesting them can be extremely laborious because they need to ensure that the fruit is not damaged when picked.  Each berry only contains 10% fruit and they have a large seed, but despite this they are packed full of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre.  Here is what Acai berries can do for your health:

  • The fibre can help to aid digestion
  • The antioxidants in acai berries can help to maintain a healthy heart
  • The amino acids in acai berries can help with endurance, strength and energy production
  • The impressive number and high levels of vitamins can help to boost your immune system
  • The antioxidants can help to combat premature aging

Blueberries

Blueberries have been around for centuries and date back to when Native Americans collected them from forests in North America and used them for medicinal purposes.  They can now be found worldwide and they belong to the Ericaceae family of woody shrubs that love acidic soil.  Other members of the family are the bilberry, cranberry and ligonberry.  Blueberries are jam-packed full of antioxidants and are extremely beneficial for our health.  Here’s what they are famous for:

  • The antioxidants can help to improve cognitive function including memory
  • The antioxidants found in blueberries can help to prevent cancer
  • They have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Blueberries can help to prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder, urethra and gut
  • The anthocyanin in blueberries helps to protect the retina in our eyes from sunlight
  • Blueberries can help with the regulation of our blood sugar levels

So why not consider throwing some of these berries into your diet?  For me, the benefits are too good to refuse.

Image via puregoodness.net

July 28, 2014

What Is Kale And Why Is It Good For Us?

Recently, kale has been increasing in popularity and is being recognised for a number of health benefits.  Before I wrote this article I didn’t know much about kale, so I decided to do some research and find out why this vegetable is being hailed as one of the healthiest vegetables on earth.  Here is what I found:

What is kale?

Kale, otherwise known as borecole, is a leafy green vegetable which is a descendant of the wild cabbage and is part of the Brassica family that also includes broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts.  There are several varieties of kale and they all differ in taste and appearance.  The most popular type is curly kale which is most commonly found in the supermarkets and ranges in colour from purple to light green.  Kale is extremely hardy and fairy easy to grow, even in cold conditions.

What nutrients can be found in kale?

Kale is jam packed full of beneficial nutrients and vitamins meaning that just a small amount can provide you with a large dose of your daily dietary needs.  It is extremely high in antioxidant vitamins K, A and C as well as being a great source of minerals including copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.  Best of all kale has zero fat and is extremely low in calories so it’s a great aid for weight loss.

What health benefits does kale provide?

Because kale is rich in vitamin K it can help to reduce the risk of developing various cancers as well as helping with bodily functions including blood clotting and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.  Kale is high in calcium which helps with healthy bones and it’s also an excellent source of fibre and sulphur which are great for detoxifying your body.  Lutein is also found in kale which is beneficial for healthy eyes.

How can I enjoy kale in my everyday diet?

Some types of kale are quite bitter so it can be an acquired taste but there are numerous ways that you can enjoy kale in your diet without eating it raw in salads.

  • Kale can be blended into a juice.  Just add apples, carrots, kale and a dash of lemon and you have yourself a glass of liquid gold.
  • Kale chips are a great snack and much healthier than potato chips.  Bake some leaves in the oven with some olive oil and salt then crunch away.
  • Add kale to soups or pasta dishes.

So the next time you’re at the supermarket, look out for kale and consider putting some in your trolley.  With the number of health benefits it provides I know I’ll be giving it a go as soon as possible.

What are your favourite ways to eat kale?

Image via food.allwomenstalk.com

July 15, 2014

Easy Açaí-Bowl Breakfast Recipe

Everyone’s talking about Açaí berries and their amazing benefits which help to stimulate the immune system, boost energy levels and help to heal the entire body. Found from within the rain forests of the Amazon, it is now available in it’s natural form, powders and drinks which make it that much easier to access this antioxidant-rich fruit. Açaí bowls are also popular breakfast treats which provide protein, natural sugar and are overall a healthy way to start the day. Follow the recipe below to make your own yummy bowl at home.

Ingredients

2 cups (250g) frozen blueberries

1 banana (frozen)

1 cup strawberries

Handful of baby spinach leaves

1 tablespoon açaí powder

1 tablespoon goji berries

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 cup nut or seed milk (water or coconut water depending on the consistency you want)

2 handfuls fresh blueberries and strawberries for the topping

1 sliced banana

Sprinkle of nuts and seeds

Method

  1. Combine the frozen blueberries, frozen banana, açaí power (or other superfood), protein, goji berries, chia and milk of your choice into a blender.
  2. Keep blending on medium speed until the consistency is smooth and creamy. This is where you can add more milk to get the type of consistency you desire.
  3. Simply pour into a bowl then garnish the mixture with the fresh blueberries, strawberries, nuts and seeds of your choice. Perfect for pairing up with granola or muesli for a summer breakfast meal.

Recipe by The Healthy Chef

Image via The Chalkboard Mag

July 9, 2014

Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding Recipe

It easy to make, it’s healthy and it takes amazing! Basically the dessert to have when you feel like something sweet yet nutritious!

Ingredients

1/2 cup chia seeds

1 cup Meko 100% Pure Coconut Water

3/4 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup light or full-fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional for sweetness)

Method

  1. Mix chia seeds and the coconut water in a bowl, and soak for at least 10-15 minutes. (Until it forms a gel-like consistency.)
  2. Using a hand blender mix coconut milk, raspberries and maple syrup.
  3. In a glass or glass jar scoop in quarter of the chia mixture, then top with a layer of raspberry sauce. Repeat for the last half of the mixture and in a second dish.
  4. Serve chilled and top with shredded coconut, nuts and raspberries.
June 1, 2014

10 Energy-Boosting Foods

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.

1. Nuts

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.

2. Eggs

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.

4. Quinoa

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.

6. Broccoli

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.

7. Lentils

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.

10. Spinach

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

May 9, 2014

5 Yummy Ways To Eat Kale

Kale has been dubbed one of the greatest superfoods in modern times, although it is similarly well known for it’s bitter taste. The easiest way to have your daily serving of greens is through juicing, since the taste is overpowered by sweet fruits and vegetables. Kale is full of hidden nutrients and is low in calories and has absolutely zero fat. We’ve found five ways to reap the benefits of kale without that bitter taste.

Chips

Since kale is quite a leafy vegetable, it can also double up as a perfect nutritional snack. Although kale is best when eaten raw, why not try kale chips to get acquainted to the taste.

1. Always use fresh kale and avoid putting it into the fridge since the flavour can get bitter as it ages. Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 200°C, or 180°C for fan-forced.

2. Tear off pieces of kale leaves depending on how big or small you want your chips. Remember that when kale goes dry, the size will shrink dramatically so don’t make them too small either.

3. Simply line a tray with baking paper and spread the kale chips evenly across the space. Leave in for about 10-15 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly.

Juice

Juicing has become an extremely popular way to receive the daily intake of greens without the bad taste. Kale features prominently has the main ingredient in green juices, since it is packed with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and is very high in calcium amongst it’s other health benefits. Add a few leaves of kale into your juice to enjoy it’s vitamins and nutrients without the taste.

Eggs

Kale works perfectly in eggs since it breaks down super fast, and as a result the taste isn’t too overpowering. Add into your breakfast with scrambled eggs or choose to sauté kale as a substitute to meat. Green eggs are high in vitamins and minerals, and are easy on the calories as well.

Salads

The best way to eat kale is raw since many of the nutrients dissolve when cooked at a high temperature. If you’re worried about the taste, simply start out by mixing a bit of kale into your usual salad. Keep the leaves small, and each time try to add in more if you adjust to the taste. Try to add in some seasonal fruits like strawberries to make the salad sweet and nutritional. Remember to remove the stem and centre ribs before eating raw, since this is the source of bitterness which most people experience.

Pasta

Add kale into any pasta dish as a topping or into the sauce for an extra special evening. The best way is to braise or boil the kale since it doesn’t lose it’s nutrients but rather acts as a nutritious end to any meal.

Image via 100 Days of Real Food

May 5, 2014

Juicing: The Path To Weight Loss Or Another Fad

Juicing can be an easy way to consume all your greens, but the large portions can lead you to put on weight instead of intending to take it off. Is it the easy path to weight loss, or just another fad that replaces food with drink?

Positive Benefits of Juicing

•      It is no lie that juicing allows you to get creative and come up with a variety of recipes, tailored to your needs. Green juices are especially trendy because they include many superfood additives that the body needs, including chia seeds, goji berries and coconut oil amongst others. You can also easily disguise vegetables such as celery, kale and spinach mixed with fruits for a child or picky eater.

•      Juices are a great alternative if you’re constantly on the go and just do not have time for a proper sit down meal. Remember, these are not a substitute for food, but are packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are essential to good health, but are also found in a balanced healthy diet.

•      Social media identity Loni Jane Anthony caused outrage last year by posting her plant based diet on her Instagram account, which included consuming 20 bananas for breakfast, while she was pregnant. Despite sticking to a mainly plant and raw food diet, she delivered a healthy baby boy in March. She often posted pictures of food, juices and workout routine, which highlights how she kept her slim and toned physique.

Negatives of Juicing

•      Although juices are a great way to ingest a variety of vitamins and mineral essential to the body, there is always a possibility of going overboard. Fruits contain a large amount of sugar, albeit natural, that the body just does not constantly need. Having these juices too often will cause your blood sugar level to rise, like if you ate a chocolate bar. Too much of something is never a good option, so keep in mind that moderation is key and keep a close eye on portion control when you are making or buying these juices.

•      Even though juices are liquids, they can be quite pricey and cost the same or more than a meal itself. Buying juices on a daily basis will surely burn a hole in your pocket, and it’s probably best to buy the ingredients yourself and juice them at home if you are really serious about it.

•      Juicing machines are a great way to get creative and design your own personalised juice. Although these machines don’t come cheap, with a midrange option coming in at $300. Stick to using a blender if this commitment is too much of a price and time crunch.

•      Too much reliance on a juicing diet can slow down a healthy metabolism. Although juicing is often a high sugar, low calorie option, it results in phases of weight loss that don’t reflect a balanced diet.

To achieve this happy medium, simply remember that as with any other food or drink, moderation is the way to achieve a healthy body and mind. A vegetable should be at the foundation of every juice, and fruits should be added purely for taste or flavour. Then ask yourself the following question: Would I eat all this fruit if it wasn’t juiced? 

Image via halftimefit.com/blog/is-juicing-worth-it/

By Felicia Sapountzis

April 9, 2014

Supercharge Your System With The Right Superfoods

Looking for ways to power up your diet? We’ve got a few tips from leading dietitian Kate Di Prima on how to sneak superfoods into your diet to boost energy levels, improve your mood and metabolism. “You don’t need to overhaul your diet – just make some small changes. Once you start it’s easy to see how many opportunities there are to boost your nutrient intake throughout the day” Kate says.

Power-pack with spinach

It’s easy to get lost in superfood search mode, but Kate reminds us not to overlook the powerful health benefits of the tried and tested: Spinach. It’s packed with over 80 different nutrients and much easier to get your hands on than the latest magical berry from the Amazon – it has even made its way onto the permanent menu at Subway restaurants. Kate suggests adding spinach to an omelet, salad, wrap or sub if you’re on the go as an easy way to upsize your veggie intake and boost antioxidant levels.

Slam stress with strawberries

Starting the day with strawberries in your muesli or a handful for a mid-morning snack is great way to keep stress levels at bay. “When we’re stressed, our body releases cortisol, which can lead to excess weight gain around the stomach and other health problems,” Kate says. Red, yellow and green fruit and vegetables can help reduce the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream, plus vitamin C will help boost immunity, particularly going into the flu season.

Sneak in some seeds

While they may seem like one of the new kids on the block, chia seeds have actually been a part of Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Known as the richest source of omega-3 fats in any plant, these seeds pack a pint-sized punch of fibre, calcium and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. “The best way to add chia seeds to your diet is to sprinkle a teaspoon over muesli, porridge or your favourite breakfast cereal. They also go well in smoothies or salads, with quinoa or even to muffins and cakes,” Kate says.

Tuck into some turkey

Go for turkey the next time you’re at the deli and you might be surprised at how happy you’ll be with your choice. Kate explains that turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan which produces the cheerful chemical serotonin and also selenium, which can boost immunity and antioxidant levels. Turkey is a great source protein, low in fat, a source of nutrients such as iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus as well as vitamin B6 and niacin – essential for energy production. Tip: Turkey skin can be high in fat, so steer clear. Also beware of overly processed lunch meats and opt for 100 per cent turkey breast.

High fat, but good for your health

Almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fats, associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. One study has found 20 potent antioxidant flavonoids in almonds, some of which are found in other well known, good-for-you foods like green tea and grapefruit. Don’t know your flavonoids from your carotenoids? Nevermind. Just know they’re really, really good for you. “Mix in some chopped almonds and dried fruit to plain yogurt or add to curries or salads, or stick to a handful size for a quick snack on the go,” Kate says. Your body will thank you for it – in more ways than one!

April 2, 2014

Q&A with Michelle Bridges

One of our favourite cookbooks this year is Michelle Bridges’ Superfoods, which we know is going to be an instant classic. Packed with amazing dishes like Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese and Lamb and Asian Greens Stir Fry, it’s more than just a collection of healthy recipes, it’s a new way of thinking about ingredients, nutrition and weight loss.

We chat to Michelle Bridges about the power of superfoods, her favourite 30-minute superfood dinner recipe and how this busy lady likes to relax.

Congratulations on your new book! Why are superfoods so important to you?
Every meal, in my opinion needs a superfood. I think that there is so much hype around superfoods that makes it easy to forget; a simple bunch of cauliflower from our supermarket is as super as it gets. In my opinion there are four main criteria that gets food onto my super list. They have to be easily accessible, not cost the earth, packed full of nutrients and finally these nutrients have to be delivered effectively.

In other words, you don’t have to eat a barrel loads to get their full benefit.

How much of superfoods should we be eating each day?
Every day every meal should has 1 -2 serving of superfoods. My motto is green is go.

Which 3 ingredients can’t you live without?
Spinach, fish and berries.

What’s one of your favourite quick and easy superfood dinner ideas?
I love my minted brown rice salad from my new book. When I am rushed I just use the pre-cooked rice that you can buy from the supermarket and throw all the ingredients together – 10 minutes and its done. I have been touring the country with Penguin and Big W and have been demonstrating this recipe. It really is very easy, flavoursome and filling.

What’s coming up this year for you?
I have a huge year ahead of me. I am launching a new program within my 12 Week Body Transformation called Move. – this is for all the absolutely beginners who have never really exercised before.

I am also releasing my first book into the U.S. as well as launching my 12 Week Body Transformation over there as well.

You’re always on the go – describe your ultimate day off?
I would wake up naturally without an alarm, get up and train then eat a healthy breakfast. I would later have a massage and get my nails done without having to rush.

Finally I would take my gorgeous dog Paddy for a walk on beach.

superfoods

Superfoods Cookbook: The facts, the foods and the recipes – feel great, get fit and lose weight by Michelle Bridges, photography by Henryk Lobaczewski and Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $29.99.

February 13, 2014

Chicken Salad with Beans and Peas Recipe

Michelle Bridges shares an easy chicken breast recipe from her new cookbook Superfoods that doubles as one of your new go-to midweek dinner ideas. It’s healthy, full of incredible flavours and leftovers make a great next-day lunch.

Just the one superfood in this recipe, but so many other good things alongside it. The mixture of peas and beans gives heaps of fibre and iron, while the chicken gives a meaty texture without overloading the calorie count. Add the delicious dressing and you’ve got one hell of a tasty salad.

Recipe from Superfoods Cookbook: The facts, the foods and the recipes – feel great, get fit and lose weight by Michelle Bridges, photography by Henryk Lobaczewski and Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $29.99.

Serves: 2
Prep: 15 minutes. Cook: 10 minutes. Calories per serve: 380

Ingredients
250 g skinless chicken breast, trimmed
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray
100 g green beans, trimmed
100 g snow peas, trimmed
½ cup (60 g) frozen peas
¼ cup (70 g) no-fat Greek-style yoghurt
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
½ garlic clove
400 g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Method
1. Season the chicken with black pepper. Lightly spray a char-grill pan with olive oil and heat on medium–high. Cook the chicken for 4–5 minutes each side or until lightly charred and cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, cook the green beans in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes, adding the snow peas and frozen peas for the last 2 minutes. Drain and cool in iced water. Drain.

3. Process the yoghurt, mint and garlic together until smooth.

4. Thickly slice the chicken. Arrange the beans, peas and chicken on a serving plate. Drizzle with the dressing.

What’s your favourite chicken breast recipe?

superfoods

February 5, 2014

Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese Recipe

Michelle Bridges shares on our favourite comfort food dinner ideas: classic cauliflower cheese with a healthy, low-calorie twist.

Cauliflower and cheese – what a flavourful combination. With the addition of broccoli, you get a double whammy of cruciferous goodness as well. The cheese provides protein and calcium, but use a low-calorie version to avoid too much fat.

Recipe from Superfoods Cookbook: The facts, the foods and the recipes – feel great, get fit and lose weight by Michelle Bridges, photography by Henryk Lobaczewski and Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $29.99.

Serves: 2
Prep: 10 minutes. Cook: 45 minutes. Calories per serve 388

Ingredients
700 g cauliflower, trimmed and broken into large florets
1 large head broccoli (300 g), trimmed and broken into large florets
2 1⁄2 tablespoons cornflour
2 cups (500 ml) low-cal milk
1 cup (120 g) grated low-cal cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
mixed salad leaves, to serve

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

2. Steam the cauliflower over a large saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and steam for another 4 minutes or until just tender. Place in a 5-cup (1.25 L) capacity ovenproof dish.

3. Meanwhile, combine the cornflour and 1⁄4 cup milk in a jug. Place the remaining milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Whisk in the cornflour mixture and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until the sauce boils and thickens. Stir in half the cheese until smooth. Season with black pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the cauliflower and broccoli. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cayenne. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

4. Serve with the salad leaves alongside.

What’s your favourite comfort food dish?

superfoods

February 4, 2014

Detox Salad Recipe

Naturopath Michèle Wolff, author of Digestive Solutions, shares an easy January cleanse recipe for detox salad. The salad rids the body of toxins, cleanses your digestive system and gives your body a boost of vitamins and nutrients. Eat it anytime you need a healthy pick-me-up!

Ingredients

Large handful of rocket
Large handful alfalfa sprouts
Large handful chopped parsley
Sprinkle of sunflower and sesame seeds
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil to taste
Crushed garlic, if desired

Method

1. Combine all ingredients together and serve. You can also add a boiled or poached egg, and goat’s cheese for added flavour.

Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse, owner of Ultimate Detox Solutions. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers. Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au.

January 8, 2014

Omega 3: Why You Need to Eat More of This Superfood

There’s a reason we mere mortals are drawn to Beyoncé’s behind. A woman’s derriere holds the secrets of not just her health, but insights into modern society.

Found only in our diet, Omega 3 is essential for optimum health and impacts our body in every way from memory to metabolism. From building brains to creating that enviable hourglass figure, DHA – a fatty acid found in Omega 3 – is integral to our health and wellbeing; so much so that the shape of a woman with high levels of DHA has been evolutionarily coded in men’s brains over millennia to be seen as the ideal figure.

If you’ve ever wondered why, even on the most intense training and diet regime, your bum just won’t shrink – don’t fret, it’s biology. Omega 3 in the diet creates smaller waists and rounder bums. Omega 3 fat sits around the hips, and works as a DHA storage site.

But why is it a superfood? Omega 3 has been shown to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, have a positive impact on depression, protect against Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory and more. It’s practically magic. But beyond the health benefits, Omega 3 makes you smarter, and makes your potential children smarter too. It’s only broken down during the later stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding while we are building the infant’s brain.

Studies have shown that all over the world men prefer a certain type of female figure and Psychology Today states, “DHA-rich fat deposits that give women curvy hips and thighs are an almost irresistible non-verbal mating message” and this  indicates that the woman with curvy hips is more intelligent and has plenty of brain-building fats to offer a pregnancy. Women with high levels of DHA generally have higher social intelligence too. So, regardless of your feelings towards children or the opposite sex, building a healthy booty is a great thing to do for your brain and body.

However, Omega 3 cannot be made by the body – it has to be eaten. Fish such as salmon and tuna are great sources, as well as eggs, lean red meats and flaxseeds. Although, as modern foods are processed differently, studies show there are lower levels of Omega 3 DHA in our diets today then there was forty years ago. Farm animals often have a modern diet of grains rather than their natural diet of grass, which lowers their Omega 3 levels. The impact of this is means we put on weight. We have an innate drive to store DHA, but with less in our diets we have to eat more to store the same amount.

The solution? Add more Omega 3-rich foods into your diet. Try and find reared food that was naturally caught or grass fed. This more natural process means there will be higher levels of Omega 3 in the foods you’re eating, which is great for your brain and bum.

Luckily, it’s super easy to add more Omega 3 to your diet: enjoy fortified cereal and yogurt for breakfast, add fish to your meals a few times a week, eat edamame beans with your sushi – the options are endless and delicious.

If you’ve got a presentation or exam coming up, stock up on these fatty acids to feel the benefits of increased cognitive function (including: listening, reasoning and responding), which can lead to a better performance. For a brain boosting dinner, try seared salmon on a bed of spinach with a sprinkling of walnuts and Persian feta. Season with lemon juice and pepper and you’ll be brighter before you know it.

What are your favourite Omega 3-rich foods? Share them in the comments.

Kate Jones blogs about writing and pop culture at Calvicle Capitalism.

January 7, 2014

Pete Evans’ Green and White Smoothie Recipe

Celebrity chef Pete Evans shares one of his favourite summer smoothie recipes, which is not just healthy and packed with vitamins, but tastes delicious. It’s the ultimate superfood smoothie to get you back on track with your new year health goals!

Ingredients

1/4 bunch of organic kale, stems removed
1/4 bunch mint, picked
1 young coconut, flesh and water
2 organic white flesh peaches, pips removed
1 juice of 1 organic lemon
10 macadamia nuts (soak them for a couple of hours if you like it extra creamy)
1 banana
1 raw organic egg
1 tablespoon maca (optional)

Method

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

What’s your favourite smoothie recipe?

December 31, 2013

5 Superfoods For Healthy Hair

Last month, we looked at four foods that are damaging your hair, from sugar to sodium. Some readers expressed dismay over the hair sins they were committing without even realising.

If you’ve been unkind to your hair, relax. Just as unhealthy foods are bad for your hair, a balanced diet can do wonders for your locks.

Nutritionist and author of The Beauty Diet, Lisa Drayer, explains, “your hair reflects your nutritional status. Behind great hair is great nutrition. There are no hair products that can be applied on the outside that will make up for poor nutrition.”

Read on for five superfood groups that will kick start your hair recovery.

1. Omega 3-rich foods
As we uncovered in the four foods that are damaging your hair, deficiencies in your diet can be just as damaging as overindulgence. People who don’t consume enough foods that are rich in omega-3 may experience brittle hair and scalp conditions such as eczema.

Drayer warns, “Your body needs quality fats to grow hair, since about three percent of the shaft is made up of lipids.” Additionally, fats are used to build cell membranes in the scalp and to create the natural oil that keeps your hair from drying out.

Salmon is an excellent (and tasty) source of Omega 3. If salmon isn’t to your tastes, you can also boost your body’s essential fatty acid intake by eating other fish, such as mackerel or sardines. Other options include walnuts, pumpkin seeds and whole grains. Drayer also recommends flax or hemp seeds.

2. Iron-rich foods
An iron deficiency, sometimes seen in pregnant women or people with restricted diets (such as vegetarians or vegans), is a known contributor to hair loss and hair thinning.

Research by Wilma Bergfeld for the America Academy of Dermatology suggests that, even if anaemia is not the main cause of a person’s hair loss, having too little iron in the blood only makes matters worse.

A great iron-rich food is spinach. Spinach contains not only iron but also folate and Vitamin C, all of which encourage production of healthy scalp oils for hair growth.

If you don’t enjoy spinach, you can also find iron in other dark vegetables, such as kale, broccoli or bok choy.

We recommend oysters for pescetarians.

3. Vitamin C-rich foods

Drayer explains, “If you are not eating abundant amounts of vitamin C-rich foods every day, you may not have enough to take care of your lovely locks.”

Why is Vitamin C so important? Among other things, Vitamin C aids collagen product. Collagen isn’t only found under our skin, but it also surrounds your hair strands. As we age, the collagen breaks down. This process makes hair more prone to breakage.

Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious foods that can help you get your daily fill of vitamin C. Blueberries are a particularly rich source of vitamin C. Other options include oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit and red peppers.

Consuming 250mg of vitamin C daily won’t just help you get beautiful hair – the increased collagen production will also fight signs of ageing, like wrinkles, on your skin.

4. Zinc-rich foods

Zinc is another essential mineral for strong, healthy hair. Drayer notes that, while many people have a zinc deficiency, “taking zinc supplements can throw off your body’s natural balance between zinc and copper.”

Why resort to supplements when you can eat your way to healthy zinc levels?

Drayer’s top 10 beauty foods lists oysters and yoghurt as excellent sources of zinc. Other foods that can help your boost your zinc intake include seafood, beef, lamb, eggs and nuts.

5. High fibre foods

While we may not often associate fibre with lustrous locks, Drayer explains, “some skin-care experts believe toxins contribute to scalp and hair problems.” Additionally, making sure you get enough fibre in your diet will prevent undigested food from lingering in your intestines and robbing your body and hair of precious nutrients.

You should aim to eat at least 20 to 25mg of fibre per day. Good sources of fibre include foods made from whole-grains, such as brown rice or bread. Raw vegetables, such as carrots, are another easy way to get fibre into your diet. Carrots have the added benefit of increasing your body’s production of Vitamin A, which is vital for a healthy scalp.

By including some of these five superfoods in your diet, you can easily combat hair loss and eat your way to silkier, stronger and more manageable hair.

What are your best tips for healthy hair?

Bethany Tyndall writes about beauty on her blog Beauty Junkie.

October 4, 2013
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