6 Perfect Foods from Nature – and How They Can Change Your Life
What makes a food perfect? In my opinion, it must have many health benefits, be delicious (of course), and versatile. Below are 6 of the biggies:
Remember being told to eat your spinach? It’s not an old wives’ tale, it’s true! Spinach leaves (and all dark, green leafy vegetables really), are the king of vegetables. Packed with water-soluble vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3, B6), fat-soluble vitamins (K, A, E), minerals (potassium, zinc, folate, magnesium) and other less common nutrients (chlorophyll and alpha-lipoic acid amongst others), makes spinach an extremely nutritious and health-balancing food.
It is delicious and versatile too – raw, cooked or wilted in salads, added to smoothies and casseroles, for taste, color and nutrition. Some of the benefits associated with spinach include
- diabetes management
- bone, skin and hair health
- cancer and asthma prevention
- lowering blood pressure
Eat that delicious salmon! It is a great source of Omega 3.
We’ve all heard that. But, is that what salmon is really all about? A 4 oz slice of good-quality, wild salmon contains
- 236% of your daily B12
- 128% of your vitamin D
- 78% selenium
- 52% phosphorous
- 21% of your daily iodine
Sometimes we think Nature’s foods are all gloom and doom. Can we ever satisfy our sweet tooth naturally? The answer is absofreaking-lutely! Honey is nature’s sweetener. Not only is it sweeter than sugar, but it’s good for you!
It has a lower glycemic ndex than sugar, meaning that the sugar is absorbed slowly in our digestive tracts, not causing a high (and unhealthy) insulin response.
It also contains decent amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it a great choice for a healthy sweetener.
Blueberries are a superfood and one of nature’s perfect foods.
There aren’t really any naturally found foods which are blue like blueberries. That’s maybe what makes blueberries special.
So convenient can just eat them by the handful and delicious with other things – add them to smoothies, fruit salads and muffins (mmmm …) These could be considered the queen of fruits!
High in antioxidants, like resveratrol, blueberries can help you live longer. They also contain many anti-inflammatory nutrient benefits.
A health fad? Well… One of the Perfect Foods? Maybe. But nutritionally sound? Definitely.
Chia seeds are well known for their Omega-3, fiber and iron content. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants, calcium and a fair amount of protein.
Fiber content can help increase bowel regularity, as well as aid in heart and cardiovascular health (in combination with Omega-3’s).
They can substitute for eggs in vegan cooking when mixed with water, sprinkled over salads, added to granolas, trail mixes and baked goods and made into a pudding.
No list of perfect foods would be considered complete without coconut. Step into any grocery store today and you will find shelves lined with coconut products. Coconut butter, oil, flour and sugar, dried and desiccated coconut, coconut milk, water, cream and coconut aminos.
Coconut aminos are an inexpensive and perfect substitution for salty sweet soy sauce that has less sugar and salt but all the taste!
Of course, there’s still the fruit too. Extremely versatile, and with a delightful flavor, coconut is any health nut’s dream.
Each product has its own uses and nutritional benefits. From the anti-bacterial and cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil, to the hydrating and electrolyte balancing benefits of coconut water, to the protein, potassium, iron and protein source of the coconut itself, coconut is a powerhouse of nutritional benefits, that can be enjoyed in so many varying ways.
Training Your Body To Eat Clean Chia Seeds are one of nature’s perfect foods and can be incorporated into a nutritious diet
Taking the plunge is always hard. Are you going to change your diet so drastically that you can no longer eat the foods that are familiar to you? Chances are, if you are reading this, you are either seriously considering a BIG change or you’ve begun to change and got a little stuck along the way.
Here are some evidence-based tips, which have been found to be helpful in training people just like you, eat clean foods and avoid the junk!
The Center for Mindful Eating states that mindfulness “utilizes the practice of mindfulness by intentionally bringing awareness to the internal and external environment while eating”. In that way, you can better judge your hunger and eat for health AND pleasure. Your body will then be able to digest and utilize the nutrition in the foods you have just eaten, for a better, healthier you.
To be mindful of what and how you are eating, you have to be in the present moment. How can you achieve that?
According to Christopher Willard (Mindful.org), these 6 things can help:.
• Eat when your body feels hungry (e.g. stomach growling); not when your emotions tell you to eat (e.g. sad, happy).
• Stop when your body tells you it’s satisfied; don’t ignore your body’s signals of satiety.
• Eat with friends or family at specific times, and in specific places; not random times and places, alone.
• Eat foods which are nutritionally healthy; not foods which are emotionally comforting.
• When you are eating, just focus on eating (sit and eat on a plate); don’t do other things (read, stand, use your phone).
• Consider where the food you are eating comes from; don’t consider the meal the end product.
Walking or Gentle Exercise
Craving the sugary foods? Go for a walk instead! Researchers at the University of Exeter, found that taking a brisk 15-minute walk, made participants less likely to give in to their food cravings, than when they remained sedentary. That’s easy, no?|
More recent reviews pinpoint that gentle exercise uses the same dopamine reward pathways in the brain as sugar. So, if you want sugar, exercise! It’s good for you!
Help yourself make better decisions.
In ancient times, our ancestors experienced periods of plenty and periods of starvation. Therefore, they used to ‘stock-up’ on calories during the periods of plenty. We in the Western world, only experience the periods of plenty. We have no shortage of food. But our bodies are still programmed to eat as much as possible, should we experience shortages soon.
We are constantly experiencing foods high in carbs and calories, and our bodies are craving it. We are constantly experiencing foods high in carbs and calories, and our bodies are craving it.}
What can we do? Are we destined to be eating these foods, forever? Here are some tried and tested solutions:.
• If it’s not there, you won’t eat it. Clear out your kitchen closets and workspace from any foods that you may begin to crave. Swap it out for healthy, cleaner snacks.
• Don’t let yourself get too hungry. When you are hungry, you make worse decisions.
• In the same vein, don’t go to the supermarket hungry, and always follow a list.
• Always carry a protein bar, handful of nuts or similar in your pocket– it can be a literal life-saver!
• When you eat out, know in advance what they serve and what you will eat, it saves you the agony of making on the spot decisions.
• Don’t be afraid to treat yourself occasionally– as that might be what will keep you sane. Most people can’t keep to a strict regime at all times. You deserve it!