Today, we're excited to have guest writer, Lauren Arboleda from the blog Food from the Heart and author of the book Pregnancy from the Heart sharing some great healthy tips! Aside from also being a proud wife and mom, Lauren is over the heels for food (real food)! She's also a certified coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York (and did we mention she's also a fellow Colombiana).
Today she's sharing with us 10 Superfoods you should be eating:
By Lauren Arboleda
Favorite way to eat them? I usually buy dried organic goji berries, and use them as a topping in salads, homemade trail mix and on top of my avocado toast.
2. Hemp Seeds: Another favorite of mine! One of the reasons these make my top 10 is because they are one of the rare complete sources of protein. They are rich in Omega-3, 6 and 9, which are all very important for brain functions, and deliver a balanced array of amino acids and minerals. Hemp seeds are also a great boost to your immune system and decrease inflammation due to their fatty acids.
Favorite way to eat them? I love these seeds to make milk, and I also add them to smoothies, drinks, bowls, salads, etc.
3. Spirulina: My favorite superfood ever (which I try to sneak everywhere I can)! Spirulina is a Blue-Green Algae that is rich in chlorophyll, protein (actually has the highest concentration of protein, by weight), vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants (3-4 times more than berries). This super algae helps to support healthy muscles, neurological health, bones, body strength, and balanced brain chemistry. It even cleanses your body from any artificial chemicals, pesticides and radioactive substances still found in some organic foods.
Favorite way to eat them? I use powdered spirulina in just about everything - my salad dressings, smoothies and drinks, homemade granola and oatmeal, swirled into my yogurt or in my water bottle.
4. Cacao: Cacao is known as one of the top 10 superfoods (not to be confused with the sugary, packaged chocolate bars you find at the supermarket!) because it’s a natural source for iron, zinc, vitamin C, omega-6 fatty acids, and soluble fiber. It even raises the level of serotonin in the brain and acts as an anti-depressant, promoting an overall sense of well-being and relaxation!
Favorite way to eat them? I buy raw cacao in the form of nibs, powder and butter. The use the powder in baked goods, smoothies and drinks, and the nibs are one of my favorite toppings for yogurts, bowls and more.
5. Maca: Maca is a root that is usually found as a powder because it doesn’t grow in all climates. Maca is amazing for balancing hormones and helps decrease stress levels, enhance strength, stamina and libido, as well as providing great energy and endurance. It’s rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins B1, B2, C, E and iron. It also contains lots of trace minerals and is great for menstrual imbalances, lack of libido, infertility, menopausal symptoms.
Favorite way to eat them? I usually buy organic powdered maca root and add 1 to 2 teaspoons to smoothies, drinks, baked goods and anything with chocolate; it pairs so nicely!
6. Coconut: Another amazing superfood, and one that I genuinely enjoy in all its different forms, from water to oil. The coconut water is full of electrolytes, just what your body needs when active (no need for energy or sports drinks full of nasty things). It also contains kinetin, which keeps the coconut young and has has the exact same effect on our body - keeps us young! This superhero is high in protein and fiber and is a great saturated fat (essential to our body) that supports our immune system, thyroid gland, nervous system and skin.
Favorite way to eat them? I buy unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil, and I pretty much use it to cook everything, given that it doesn’t lose its any of its nutrients even at the highest temperature. I use coconut cream as a spread/butter in baked goods, coconut water is a must in my smoothies, coconut milk adds extra creaminess in pasta sauces or soups, and last but not least, unsweetened coconut flakes add that special kick to my homemade granola.
7. Golden Berries: Also known as Incan berries, golden berries are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, and have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant benefits. When eaten fresh, they are an extra push for your digestive system and a healthy alternative to drugstore laxatives!
Favorite way to eat them? I buy dried golden berries to add to my smoothies and homemade trail mix or to toss in my salads. I get really excited when I can find them fresh (it’s not that easy, trust me). When I do, I eat them like popcorn!! So good!
8. Chia seeds: Chia Seeds, aka one of my three musketeers when it comes to toppings (chia, hemp, and flax seeds). Two tablespoons of these little seeds have 4 grams of protein, 100 ml of calcium and 7.5 grams of dietary fiber that support the digestive tract. They are rich in minerals, antioxidants and have the highest omega-3 content of any plant food. This superfood not only helps clean your intestines and rehydrate you, but they increase in size once they enter the stomach making you feel more satisfied (and less hungry)!
Favorite way to eat them? I buy organic chia seeds to add to my granola, salads, smoothies, bowls, fruit, etc. I love to soak them in milk or kefir to eat as a pudding, or in water to use as a substitute for eggs in certain recipes.
9. Quinoa: From the second this food came into my life, I knew it was a superhero! What I love about quinoa, besides its versatility and easiness to prepare, is how nutritionally rich it is. It has more than double the amount of protein found in other grains, contains all the essential amino acids (meaning that with each serving, you’re giving your body all of the nine key building blocks for making protein), vitamins B6 and B2 and more. Quinoa offers many proven nutritional benefits while introducing very little calories and fat to your diet. And what’s the best part? You can call it “breakfast,” “lunch,” or “dinner” (like I happily did) and find many ways to incorporate this nutritious food into every daily meal!
Favorite way to eat them? I buy organic quinoa and cook it as a porridge with milk in the mornings; also, anywhere rice goes I tend to substitute quinoa. I also love to pop it and add it to my yogurt, granola and salads.
10. Bee Honey & Pollen: Not simply honey and pollen but all bee products are considered incredibly nutrient-dense. Honey is a very digestible, natural and a raw form of sugar. When consumed organically, raw and unfiltered, it fills the body with probiotics, antioxidants, enzymes and minerals. Honey has lots of medicinal benefits so it’s an excellent natural and safe alternative for when you’re feeling under the weather. Bee pollen is considered one of the most complete foods in the world. It contains eighteen vitamins, almost all B, C, D and E, carotenes and essential amino acids. Its antioxidant levels are incredibly high, increasing longevity and rejuvenating sexual organs. It also increases strength, energy and speed as well as promoting muscle growth and definition.
Favorite way to eat them? I buy raw unfiltered honey (even better when it's wild) and dried bee pollen (stored in the freezer to maintain nutrients). I add honey to anything that will be eaten raw and needs sweetness, as it will kill all the enzymes in the cooking process. And as mentioned, honey is also one of my main ingredients in my kick-ass drink to fight the flu.
We're also loving Lauren's new book Pregnancy from the Heart. It's a compilation of active, healthy, and "real" pregnancy tips for powerful moms, expecting moms and future moms. The book also offers many delicious easy-to-make Food from the Heart recipes and valuable lifestyle tips, so be sure to pick up your copy HERE!