Day 2 - What's On Your Plate? (And what must go?)
What's On Your Plate (cont.)
Yesterday I talked about foods that absolutely must be eliminated from my own diet in order for me to feel my best. Today I want to talk about foods that are full of nutrition that can encourage strength and vitality.
It would seem that Popeye was on to something. Spinach is a nutrient-dense food, which means that calorie for calorie, spinach has some of the most nutrients, vitamins, and minerals per serving. Did you know that spinach is overloaded with flavonoids (antioxidants) which act as anti-cancer agents in the body?
Spinach is also chock full of lutein, which helps provides nourishment to our eyes, fighting like crazy against macular degeneration and cataracts. And of course, spinach is well-known for being full of iron, which aids in the oxygenation of cells. In fact, calorie-for-calorie, spinach has more iron than red meats! Ladies, you might want to know that iron is beneficial for women who are menstruating (oh fun), pregnant, and breast-feeding. So add some baby spinach to your salad tonight, mkay?
Kale is a "superstar" when it comes to antioxidants. This green leafy vegetable has powerful cancer-fighting flavanoids which aid in fighting free radicals in our body.
Did you know that kale actually contributes to the reduction of inflammation in the body? 1 cup of kale contains 10% of the recommended intake of omega 3 fatty acids (and did I mention it's extremely low in calories?) which help regulate the body's inflammatory response. This means that consuming kale can help reduce symptoms of:
Kale also contains mega doses of Vitamin K, which also helps our body's inflammatory response. And did you know that Vitamin K is essential for healthy bones? In fact, one serving of kale offers more Vitamin K and C and calcium than one serving of dairy milk! Hello! And with no saturated fat, and very few calories, it is an excellent source of these bone and muscle-building vitamins!
I could go on and on about the benefits of kale. Here are some ways it helps restore health and vitality:
high in fiber = fights constipation
high in antioxidants = fights cancer and boosts immune system
great for male and female reproductive organs
prevents urinary stones
can help lower blood pressure
aids in detoxification of liver
aids in healthy skin
fights heart disease
protects against cataracts
For me personally, when I added kale to my diet I noticed an immediate change in how I felt. My chronic pain decreased substantially, and my energy level began to increase. Seriously folks, it is an amazing food.
My personal favorite. Avocados are considered the world's healthiest fruit. Can I get an amen? In addition to helping lower cholesterol and regulating blood pressure, avocados are an excellent source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and copper. Research indicates that this creamy fruit is beneficial in preventing and treating prostate cancer, oral cancer, and breast cancer. (I'd take guacamole over radiation any day!)
Avocados also provide excellent nutrients for healthy skin. Here's a great website that has tips and tricks for using avocados in your daily beauty routine.
Chia seeds contain mega doses of omega 3 fatty acids, which naturally reduce inflammation in the body. Chia seeds are also an excellent source of protein and fiber, providing needed nutrition for your body to maintain optimal health.
2 oz of chia seeds contain 600 mg of calcium, whereas 8 oz of milk contains only 120 mg of calcium. Thus, chia seeds are an excellent, low-calorie source for calcium.
For being so tiny, this seed is full of nutrition and is beneficial for
aids in controlling type II diabetes
decreased inflammation (including inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis)
That's a whole host of health benefits! Chia seeds are available at most health food stores and on amazon. Here is a great (and easy to understand) resource about the 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.
Cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your body's sleep cycle. Research indicates that a diet that includes large amounts of cherries generally results in lower body weight and better heart health. Furthermore, cherries have been proven to help lower bad cholesterol, while simultaneously increasing good cholesterol. Can we say multi-tasking?
Cherries have been proven to be beneficial for:
Thanks so much for sticking with me! What are some of your favorite nutritious foods? I'd love for you to share! You might also check out Cupcakes & Craziness for more recipes for healthy snack foods.
I'll be back tomorrow with my green smoothie recipe. It's a quick and easy way to combine some of the most nutritious foods into one delectable smoothie!
If you like what you read will you share the love this month? I'd be so grateful!