Our Nutrition Expert, Janella Purcell, provides her top tips about the best foods for your health in the new year and beyond!
Turmeric (Curcuma Longais) also known as the ‘Golden Spice of Life’. Turmeric is said to prevent cancer and childhood leukemia thanks to the 'curcumin' it contains.? Other reasons to include it include –
- it helps in detoxifying the liver.
- turmeric aids in fat metabolism so helps manage your weight along with improving digestion, reducing gas and bloating.
- turmeric eases menstrual cramps and has anti-bacterial properties along with anti- inflammatory and anti-septic properties. A natural Dettol!
- it makes your skin glow and reduces pigmentation
- turmeric will reduce symptoms of eczema, asthma, sinus, hay fever, migraines and other inflammatory conditions
- it's great to deal with serious digestive issues like IBS and Chrones Disease
- an immune booster due to its strong anti-oxidant activity which fights off free radical (the bad guys) attacks in the system
- turmeric also moderates your insulin levels
Literally meaning 'Food of the Gods', this amazing bean was once used as currency in Mexico, before money. So why should you include this fabulous little bean?
- they have around 621 anti-oxidants, whereas blueberries have around 22. Yep this little bean is loaded with agents that fight oxidative stress - what makes up sick and age
- one of the highest sources of magnesium so really good for aching, tight and sore muscles, heart health, anxiety or a twitching eye
- cacao is packed with fibre so it's lovely to help elimination thereby aiding bowel health, curb sugar cravings and decrease an insatiable appetite
3. Good Sugar
Hooray for raw coconut palm sugar! It's an unrefined, vegan and gluten free whole sugar, and very yummy. Plus it won’t spike your blood sugar leaving you craving more, more, more like refined sugar does. Use it as you would (have before you knew better) refined sugar - 1:1 ratio. It’s not as sickly sweet as the white stuff so you may need a little more. It’s easy to find and use, and eat
Some of the richest and most complete forms of minerals are seaweeds. If you aren’t already including seaweeds on a regular basis – what are you waiting for? Look for agar, arame, dulse, kombu, korengo fronds, nori and wakame. Each of the varieties will
- help remove radioactive waste and toxic metals
- reduce excess fat in the body
- one of the few good natural sources of fluorine for teeth and bone health
- used to treat thyroid imbalances, due to their exceptional content of iodine
- promote hair growth and prevent its loss
- are very high sources of calcium and iron, therefore helpful for teeth, bones and anaemia
- contribute to a beautiful, glowing, wrinkle free skin
- they have 100-500 times the amount of iodine of shellfish (depending on where it is harvested),
- they contain more than 10 times the amount of calcium than cow’s milk
- its protein is easy to digest
Just make sure it’s fresh and not tinned. Although pickled beetroot is great for us
- it’s wonderful for improving digestion and promotes regularity
- it alkalines the blood
- cleanses the liver
- an excellent therapy for chronic fatigue
- reduces chemical sensitivities
- it’s high in iron, folate, vitamin A + C and calcium
- a great source of antioxidant
- improves memory and heart health and stabilizes blood pressure
- beetroot increases stamina and endurance
- clears the skin
- reduces insomnia and enhances metabolism
Most of us are onto this, but be sure it’s locally grown as our insatiable appetite for the ‘Mother Grain’ has made it unaffordable for the Peruvian locals whose staple food it is.
- higher in protein than any other grain or seed
- it has more calcium than milk and contains a good deal of iron, B vitamins, fibre and phosphorus
- it’s gluten-free and high in essential fatty acids.
'Chia' literally means 'strength' and folklore has it that these tiny black and white seeds were used to boost energy. What else are they good for -
- he white ones have slightly more omega 3 oils and the dark ones have slightly more protein. The black seeds have more antioxidants thereby protecting the fatty acids. Buy them mixed!
- chia is the richest plant-based source of omega 3s, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants
- it’s comparable in protein to soy
- it slow the conversion of carbs' to sugar, making them great for weight loss and increased energy
Hemp has the perfect balance of Omegas 3,6 & 9 - 2:1:1, as this is the ratio in which they are found naturally in human cells. Some more health benefits of hemp –
- helps with weight loss by increasing metabolic rate
- increased and sustained energy, and recovery after chronic fatigue
- reduction of menopausal symptoms and PMT
- makes for a soft and velvety skin and helps with acne, psoriasis and eczema
- improves digestion
- reduces arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Reduces sugar and junk food cravings
- Improves brain function, probably due to the protein and EFA content
- Control of blood sugar due to the high protein content (33% when hulled)
This luscious green leafy vegetable has more antioxidants than any other veggie! Enough of a reason to eat it I reckon. But even more reasons –
- kale is wonderful for cleaning out an overworked and grumpy liver, contains heaps of calcium, iron, fibre plus magnesium and folate
- it’s full of iron and vitamin C, which encourages the production of collagen, prevents skin damage, and fends off wrinkles
Ginger is one our best anti-inflammatory foods. It has been widely used for centuries throughout the world for
- treats nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, flatulence, an upset stomach, colic and motion sickness.
- it’s used to treat the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections like bronchitis, sinus and coughs
- it help ease menstrual cramps
- reduces arthritic symptoms and muscle pain
- Ginger helps the body to absorb and assimilate nutrients from food better
This humble fruit/nut, provides a nutritious source of meat, water, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. So valued as a source of food and medicine, the Coconut Palm tree has been referred to as ‘The Tree of Life.’
Some of the benefits of using coconut oil –
- improves your skin, hair and digestion
- helps to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease
- increases weight
- improves immunity
- reduces infections
- a great stress buster
- regulates blood sugar
So there you have it, my Top 10 foods to include for 2014 and beyond.