Okay, technically I could live without them. But I don’t want to. The following five foods I eat pretty much every day because they share these characteristics: whole and from mother earth, nutritional powerhouses, and will help you glow from the inside out.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are very high in Vitamin A, which is a necessary vitamin for healthy skin. Vitamin A is actually the main treatment in Accutane, which is an acne medication, but sweet potatoes are an all natural way to achieve glowing, and acne free skin without taking a harsh drug. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, manganese and vitamin C. They are also considered a brain food, because they can help with focus and memory. Sweet potatoes are a better choice over white potatoes because they are high in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that promotes healthy vision, and protects the immune system. Sweet potatoes are also higher in fiber and have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes, meaning they will not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar after consuming them. I love making sweet potato fries, adding sweet potato to salads, spreading avocado over them, or using them in baked goods (hello, sweet potato brownies).
Bananas are a staple in my kitchen. I go through crazy amounts of bananas throughout the week. Many people avoid bananas because of the sugar content, but there is a big difference between added sugar and fruit sugar. Yes, bananas contain sugar, but they also contain lots of fiber, which will prevent blood sugar spikes. In addition, they contain potassium, and vitamin B6. Potassium is important because it regulates the acid-base balance in your blood and tissues. It is necessary for healthy growth and muscle building. Vitamin B6 helps the body turn food into energy, and deficiency symptoms include skin rashes, weakened immune system, low energy and mood changes. Bananas are great for athletes because of their mineral content and they are easily digested. Eating bananas can help with muscle related pain and soreness. Bananas make up the base of my smoothie bowls, and I also use them to make nice cream recipes. They are fantastic in smoothies because they add a natural sweetness.
Cutting into a ripe avocado and revealing the beautiful green flesh is probably one of the most satisfying feelings ever. Avocados are actually a fruit, but are usually used in savory dishes (although due to their mild flavor, they are actually fabulous in desserts such as chocolate mousse). They have a high fat content, but this type of fat is very healthy for you. It is called monounsaturated fat, and these fats are shown to reverse insulin resistance, and help regulate blood sugar levels. They also protect your heart and brain, and have been shown to protect against heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline. Avocado also contain fat soluble vitamins: Vitamin A, E and K, which protect you from aging. These vitamins keep your skin looking supple, prevent split ends and damaged hair, and help your nails grow nice and long. I love adding half an avocado to my green smoothies, spreading it on sweet potatoes (double whammy!), making guacamole, or throwing cubed avocado onto salads.
4. Chia/Flax seed
Chia and flax seeds are considered super foods, and for good reason. Chia seeds have been prized by the Aztects for centuries because of their healing properties. Chia is high in antioxidants, protein, and the omega 3 ALA. They protect against inflammation and free radical damage. Chia seeds are one of the best foods to consume for your digestion. They contain lots of healthy fiber, and promote regularity. When they are consumed, chia seeds create a gelatin like gel in the stomach and can actually work as prebiotic, which support the growth of probiotics in the gut. Probiotics are vital for maintaining friendly flora, which keeps your immune system strong. A compromised gut is linked to so many debilitating conditions… from acne, to autoimmune conditions to poor mental health. I use chia for chia puddings, in smoothies, and mixed into oats. Flax seeds are also an incredible seed that should not be ignored. They also contain omega 3 ALA’s that improve your heart health by lowering levels of triglycerides in the blood. The phyotochemical called Lignan in flaxseed is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, that promotes recovery and can aid illness. I like to include both chia and flax seed in my diet regularly because they both contain different properties that can heal your body and promote health in different ways. It is best to consume ground flax because it is easier to digest than whole flax. I use flaxseed in my grain free oatmeal, smoothies, and sprinkled on top of any dish.
Spinach makes the list but not kale!?! I eat kale often, but spinach makes this list because I consume it every day. Spinach is much easier to eat compared to kale, in my opinion. It has a much milder flavor and can easily be incorporated into green smoothies without changing the taste. Spinach contains chlorophyll, which is very detoxifying. Chlorophyll promotes optimal liver health and supports the body’s elimination of harmful toxins. Spinach also contains high amounts of vitamin K, which strengthens your bones. Lastly, if you suffer with sleep problems, spinach is an all natural remedy because it contains zinc and magnesium. I always make an effort to toss in raw spinach into my green smoothies. I also use it as a base in salads, I steam it, cook it in a pan, anything goes with this versatile green. Eat your spinach people!!!
This is just a short list of foods that I include in my diet pretty much everyday because they make me feel great, they are relatively cheap to buy in bulk, and easy to incorporate into my meals. Obviously, there are a plethora of other foods that are not on this list that I eat often (wild caught seafood, organic meat and eggs, nuts, and so on) but I wanted to mention these specific foods, because I think the health benefits are often overlooked or not fully understood. I hope you found this post insightful in some way 🙂