Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What’s So Super About Superfoods?

No, the big green monster isn’t some scientist-turned-radioactive super soldier who likes to hang around with the Avengers in his spare time. The big green monster is a lettuce leaf stuck to your teeth, or a lone piece of broccoli abandoned on a plate. More than the rampaging Hulk on steroids, these greens have terrified little children all over the world since time began. Ever since we were kids, we’ve always had an innate distaste for greens, and no matter how big and strong Popeye grew, we can never seem to stomach that can of spinach the same way he can.

Sadly, most people carry that love-hate relationship with veggies into adulthood, leading to a deficiency in the most important nutrients greens can give. But the fast-paced world we live in today has found a way to catch up: why not mash everything together in a super mix of greens? This is where superfoods—and superfads—come in.

Not your ordinary greens

Because we are all about instant gratification nowadays, it seems like blending food packed with nutrients into one super-charged drink will somehow make up for all the unhealthy eating mankind has done over the years. While switching to purely green smoothies may do more harm than good, there is a great deal of truth to the so-called “superfoods”. They are usually non-GMO and organic, and can amp up the nutrients your body so desperately needs and deserves.

Chia seeds are one of the most common ingredients people include in green smoothies. These seeds contain a high level of omega fatty acids for a healthy brain and heart, fighting off high cholesterol and various heart ailments. They also pack quite a punch with protein, amino acids, fiber, calcium, iron, and antioxidants—what’s not super about that? And as long as we’re comparing seeds, flax seeds also have high fiber content and help eliminate toxic substances from your system for better immunologic function.  For weight loss, coconut oil boosts metabolism and helps get rid of excess body fat, keeping you fit and fab.

As for vitamins and minerals, you can’t go wrong with berries. Goji berries are not only incredibly tasty, but they also aid in the healing abilities of your body. Acai berries, on the other hand, help you focus and keep you full to prevent you from overeating. Powders also play a big role in superfoods. Camu powder is all the Vitamin C you will ever need, protecting you against viruses and diseases. It also helps keep your skin healthy and radiant, so you can feel beautiful both on the inside and out.

Mixing your own green smoothie

Making green smoothies isn’t all about throwing everything together and letting your blender do all the work. It’s about knowing which ones to include and which ones your body really needs. As with any diet, the type of food you eat depends on your body’s nutritional needs. No single person is alike when it comes to your diet, so it’s always best to consult a nutritionist or your personal dietician.

It’s easy to look for smoothie recipes online. Enthusiasts will indicate the exact amount of each ingredient, while some will even customize recipes based on your personal preference and bloodwork. You can check websites like The Superfood Grocer (http://www.thesuperfoodgrocer.com/) for free sample smoothie recipes, but the true art of mixing the ingredients is what takes some actual skill.

For starters, add in half the total amount of liquid your recipe requires first, then add the other half towards the end when you’ve tossed everything else in. This evens out your blended smoothie for a better consistency. Then, add in your superfoods that we talked about above based on your chosen recipe, before you toss in your leafy veggies. Keep these vegetables away from the blades of your blender so that they won’t oxidize when you’re blending. By keeping your greens in the middle portion of your blender mix, you also make sure that they’re shredded properly without any chunks. 

Afterwards, you can now pop in your frozen fruits of choice on top of the greens to keep those vegetables cool. Feel free to choose from bananas, cherries, mangoes, peaches—whatever your body and your taste buds need. If you want to keep everything chilled, now’s the time to add your ice. You do want a refreshingly cold drink, right? Finally, pour in the remaining half of your liquid. Then blend—blend like you’ve never blended before. Pour, drink and enjoy. Repeat if necessary (because yes, you will want some more).

Everything in moderation

Of course, just like a typical pharmaceutical disclaimer saying “No Approved Therapeutic Claims”, take these green smoothies bit by bit. It’s more than just a fad—superfoods are really super when it comes to revitalizing your body. But the trick is to remember not to go overboard. “Some may not be as healthy as we think. They are, or need to be, consumed in moderation,” says Ashley Harris from the Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital. Greens are greens, but if you take away the other components of the food pyramid, you will deprive your cells of some of the most crucial nutrients your body needs.

A good way to stay healthy is to vary these greens and superfoods in your smoothies. “This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. A good rule is [to keep] 2/3 or more of your plate [filled with] plant foods and 1/3 or less with healthy animal proteins. And within all of those foods, it is important to have variety. This could mean fish one night, tofu the next, grass fed beef the next,” Harris continues.

Basically, there’s nothing wrong with these truly super superfoods. Just don’t go forsaking your whole diet in favor of purely green smoothies. The golden rule is to take everything in moderation, so go ahead and take a bite of that sinful slice of pizza. We promise not to tell!

*This article was first seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Something on your mind?:)