Power Up With These 10 Power Foods!
Very similar to superfoods, power foods are excellent to keep on hand for a quick, nutritious meal at a moment’s notice. Eating these foods on a regular basis helps improve your energy levels, overall health and prevent future medical issues!
Stock up on these power foods for more energy and a healthier you!
1.) Bok Choy
Bok choy is a Chinese cabbage with dark green leaves attached to a thick, fibrous stalk. One cup of bok choy has just 9 calories and low fat, but it packs a great punch of protein, fiber and almost all the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Boy choy has 34% of the recommended daily value of vitamin c and more than a full day’s intake of vitamin A. These antioxidants prevent cellular damage by free radicals – an important job to keep our skin and organs healthy. The amount of magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K help build and maintain strong bones, while folate and vitamin B-6 cleanse the blood for healthy heart function.
While not as popular of a grain as oats, wheat or quinoa, barley is very healthy for us due to its high fiber content and various vitamins and minerals. The fiber helps improve digestion and weight loss. The slowly digested grains help balance blood sugar levels and lower high cholesterol levels. It’s nutrients niacin, thiamine, selenium, copper and magnesium decrease the risk of heart disease by controlling the production and metabolism of cholesterol and improving arterial health. Try working more barley into your diet by using hulled barley anywhere you’d normally use other whole grains like quinoa or rice.
3.) Baby Spinach
Because of its high amount of water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, spinach is a wonderful green to work into your diet for a variety of nutritional benefits. Just 1 cup of spinach will provide 1 gram of protein, fiber and carbs, plus 223% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 28% DV vitamin A and a cocktail of other vitamins including folate, manganese, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. The carotenoids of leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale etc – can dramatically protect against the occurrence of various cancers including colon, breast and prostate. The neoxanthin and violaxanthin in spinach is also fantastic for lowering body-wide inflammatory responses which improves circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, plus skin health. Work more spinach into your diet by adding it to eggs, pastas, sauces, sandwiches, and smoothies!
Tip: The best way to get the most from your baby spinach is to enjoy it fresh & raw in a juice or smoothie!
4.) Black Beans
Gaining the benefits of the protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals of black beans is easy because they are extremely affordable and simple to prepare. Eating more black beans helps protect us from inflammation, heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, certain cancers and nutrient deficiencies often seen in the S.A.D (Standard American Diet). Within black beans you will find phytonutrients which reduce inflammation, antioxidant flavonoids which shut down the cell destruction caused by free radicals, fiber to benefit our digestive tracts, and the best kinds of carbohydrates, plant based. Plant based carbs provide long lasting energy, the most important factor in a power food!
5.) Canned Salmon
Salmon doesn’t have to be fresh (or pricey!) for you to reap the benefits! You can trust canned salmon for its famous omega-3 fatty acids, plus salmon canned with the bones will also provide a great dosage of calcium for your own healthy bones and teeth. Omega-3’s lower triglyceride levels – a fat found in the blood. Lower levels of triglyceride = healthier heart!
6.) Chia Seeds
These tiny black seeds from a relative of the mint family grows natively in South America. While they were often used by the Aztecs and Mayans, they have only been recognized as a source of powerful health benefits recently. About 2 tablespoons of chia seeds has 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of mostly-healthy fats (including omega-3s), 18% DV of calcium, plus manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. Based of their caloric value alone, chia seeds are among the world’s best sources of vital nutrients. Their antioxidants combat free radicals. While 1 ounce has 12 grams of carbs, 11 of those grams are pure fiber making it low-carb despite being a whole grain. This makes them over 40% fiber, one of the highest concentrations in the world! Fiber makes for a healthy digestive tract and longer fullness over time, great for weight loss and management! They are also 14% protein which makes them an excellent plant-based protein source. This is important for healthy cellular (therefore, muscular) growth. You can sprinkle chia seeds onto almost any food, but you should definitely try them in smoothies!
Citrus is a broad terms for a family of acidic fruits including oranges, lemons, tangerines, limes and grapefruits. What makes them a power food is their excellent composition of vitamin C, fiber and more. These tangy fruits are juicy, flavor-filled and packed with nutrients which make them a go-to addition to a healthy diet. One orange serves up 2.3 grams of soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. The portion of it that is insoluble fiber helps our digestive tracts. Flavonoids are beneficial for heart health. Vitamin C gives a boost to our immune system to limit and reduce the severity of colds & sickness. Potassium helps fluid regulation, mineral balance, and muscle contraction while high water content keeps us hydrated. While citrus can be incorporated into foods, they are more commonly enjoyed in drinks.
This fermented drink made from cow’s or goat’s milk has recently busted through in the natural health community because of its high amount of nutrients and probiotics. It is viewed as a healthier and more powerful version of yogurt. Made by adding kefir “grains” to milk, this sour tasting drink is similar to Greek yogurt, but thinner in consistency. In kefir you will find about 30 strains of microorganism probiotics making it one of the best sources to help with digestion and weight management. Some of these probiotics are antibacterial and help with inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in our stomachs which also eases digestion. When made from full-fat dairy, kefir is also a great source of calcium and vitamin K2 to help with bone health, especially later in life. Does dairy not agree with you? Kefir might be an exception! While regular dairy has lactose, the fermentation process turns lactose into lactic acid, so is has a much lower amount of lactose than milk.
9.) Vegetable Juice
When we say vegetable juice, that means any juiced or smoothie-d combination of vegetables out there. Be it carrot, turnip, spinach, broccoli, kale, tomato, or beet – the right combination of vegetables can be used to create a concentrated cocktail of nutrients and their specific health benefits!
10.) Tomato Sauce
While we love it on our pastas and pizzas, 1 cup of tomato sauces also contains a quarter of your recommended amount of vitamin A, C and even some vitamin K! Since tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, enjoying your tomato sauce will also help combat free radicals for healthy cells, skin and organs. While it varies depending on which brand you buy or how you prepare your sauce, chunky tomato sauce can be a great source of fiber.It’s no wonder that tomatoes are the second most popular vegetable around the world!
March 15, 2017