If you’re like most people, you probably have a routine when it comes to just about everything from what you eat for breakfast to what you do before you go to bed. This could be a good or bad thing depending on what goal you are trying to achieve.
When it comes to your diet, there is nothing wrong with eating the same foods for a while in the short term, but in the long run, you definitely need to feed your body a plethora of vitamins and minerals — you know nutrients — in order to function optimally.
Some fun foods that pack a serious nutritious punch are called super foods — and boy, are there a lot! I’m going to give you the most popular that are widely touted as anti-aging foods.
Acai: For those of you who don’t drink wine (like me!) but want the anthocyanins that it contains, look no further than this tiny but powerful berry. It literally has 10-times the antioxidants and 30-times the anthocyanins of red wine with beneficial fats, fiber and phytosterols that help your digestive and cardiovascular systems. It also has the same type of fat as olive oil — that beautiful oleic acid that helps decrease inflammation (and hence aging).
Allium Foods: Think garlic, onions, scallions, chives, leeks and shallots. These are great antioxidants for the liver and help promote glutathione; this alone is responsible for eliminating carcinogens and other harmful toxins helping to keep cancer at bay.
Greens: I’m talking about wheatgrass, barley grass and blue-green algae. These foods are rich in chlorophyll and are powerful antioxidants; they eat free radicals for breakfast! Make sure to get fresh wheatgrass and/or barley grass juiced instead of in powdered form as that is where the most potent nutrients are. There are so many benefits to both (and algae) that it would take up the rest of this article, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Eat spirulina and chlorella to help diminish allergies, control ulcerative colitis symptoms, as well as for the plethora of antioxidants.
Hot Peppers: Where do I begin? Peppers are high in vitamin C, carotene and flavonoids, and are great at eradicating headaches of all kinds, providing relief from arthritis, battling sinus infections, helping to prevent cancer tumor growth and more!
Sprouts: High in “life force” energy due to living enzymes help our bodies to digest at their optimum level — they are nutrient powerhouses! According to Steve Meyerowitz (AKA “Sproutman”), “…Alfalfa sprouts have more chlorophyll than spinach, kale, cabbage or parsley.” So you could toss in a handful to a smoothie, soup or salad, and up your nutrient content like crazy. They have powerful antioxidants that help prevent DNA destruction, protecting us from the progression of aging.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts are awesome for heart health; they have great protein, healthy fats, vitamins (E and B), minerals (like calcium, magnesium, and potassium) and phytochemicals.
Fermented foods: Fermented foods are nature’s probiotics; these beneficial bacteria strains help us stay healthy, fight sickness and disease, enhance digestion, and fight urinary tract and bladder infections to boot. In addition to reducing the risk for intestinal cancers (among a host of other benefits), they also help prevent tooth decay. Who knew? Find them in yogurt, raw sauerkraut, kombucha, kefirs and more!
This is just a small sample of superfoods that you should try incorporating into your diet. Start slow so as to not overload your system with too much “house cleaning,” and you’ll feel even better than you imagined!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.