Here’s part 2 of 3 of my 5 favourite things (nutritionally wise), which brings me to my 5 favourite foods (and because I’m so indecisive some extra ones) that I eat most often to maintain and boost my health and some info about each of them. These goodies help you stay healthy, can promote weight loss, and are all sources of real whole foods (the best kind of foods to eat!).
1. Black Beans
These beans are so tasty and versatile, and they are also one of the few beans that don’t bloat me (cumin seed also helps make beans more digestible). They can be used in savory dishes, curries, and even as the main ingredient in brownies (one in this book). They are loaded with phytonutrients and flavonoids, relatively low in calories, (around 110 calories per 1/2 cup serving), they are rich in fiber, folate, molybdenum, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, and are a good source of protein. They are also low GI, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar levels but will provide a slow release of energy.
Cheeky one here right? This heading gets to cover leafy greens, and normal greens like broccoli and squeeze it under one category.
So for the dark leafy greens: Dark leafy green vegetables (think kale, spinach, chard, Silverbeet etc.) as well as greens powders, such as Spirulina (which is a complete protein made up of between 65-70% protein, and is rich in B vitamins), contain a compound called chlorophyll which helps to improve your digestive health, oxygenate your blood, has an alkalizing effect on the body, and provides you with loads of essential vitamins and minerals to help with your weight loss goals. There’s a reason your mother told you to eat them. Kale has to be my favourite leafy green: it is incredibly low in calories, it is loaded with calcium, magnesium , beta-carotene, more than 2x your daily requirements of vitamin A, nearly 1.5x your vitamin C requirements, and over 6x the amount of Vitamin K. PLUS if that’s not enough it has more iron than beef!
Tip: Almost always, the darker the leafy green the better (more antioxidants!).
Then there’s Broccoli – something I was never a fan of until recently. It is a good source of fibre and vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, C, A and potassium, folate, and lutein. It has some protein (around 2.8g per 100g and is low in calories – although calories don’t matter – however calorie to calorie compared with beef it has more protein). Plus it has been known to aid in detoxification (this is an easy one to add to smoothies, soups like this one, or as a simple dish add in).
3. Chia seeds
Hard to sum up these powerful goodies in one paragraph so here goes: These are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, complete protein, fiber, calcium (5x more than milk), magnesium, iron, zinc and are loaded with antioxidants. They help promote weight loss, boost energy levels and endurance, and aid in detoxification. Add them to baking, smoothies, use them as an egg replacement in baking, or make puddings with them as a breakfast or snack alternative as they absorb up to 12x their weight in liquids.
4. Almonds: Almonds help lower bad cholesterol (raising the good cholesterol levels at the same time), help decrease the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. They are loaded with fibre, calcium, protein, healthy fats, Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium (twice as much in equivalent to bananas; which is good for helping to reduce the risk of heart disease by maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function) Manganese, Copper & Riboflavin, and these little nuts help you lose fat and gain muscle.
Technically this is a fruit – They are anti-inflammatory, rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, potassium (more than a banana), folate, omega-9 fatty acids, Vitamin C, K & E. Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, & Vitamin A. Avocados and avocado oil are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a “heart healthy” fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil. Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.
I like to add them to smoothies (they make smoothies go smooth and creamy and the inclusion of fat in smoothies helps your body absorb other minerals from fruits and veg), to dishes, or mashed up with some sea salt and apple cider vinegar and use as a dip (or eat by the spoon).
Annnnnnddddd seeing as it’s my blog, and I am way too much of a foodie to keep it to just 5 foods and I want to help you out by giving you so much goodness and info – here’s an extra 4 (also I like the number 9 and cos I love ya).
6. Berries: Blueberries & Raspberries
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, resveratrol, vitamin C, potassium and fiber, blueberries are known to help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, improve memory, improve digestion, are anti-inflammatory, and since they are so nutritionally dense with such little calories and are low GI (meaning they won’t lead to spikes in your blood sugar levels), they are a great addition to your diet to help you lose weight.
Raspberries are also loaded with antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, especially high in Vitamin C, fibre, and studies have also suggested they help with weight loss and are low GI. Get munching.
Tip: double up here and use chia seeds and any berries you like to make this simple healthy jam.
7. Sweet Potato
Such a versatile veggie. I like to add it roasted or boiled in to smoothies (adds a thickness and sweet kick), through salads, stuffed, or grate it up and add to a pan with some onion, carrot, coconut oil, and garlic to make a delicious side dish. It contains beta carotene (an anti-oxidant that is good for your eye health), vitamin A (over 700% of your daily needs), Vitamin C (65% of the Daily Recommended intake), Manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, B Vitamins (especially B6), and fibre (along with so much more).
Mushrooms provide moderate amounts of protein, come in loads of different varieties, can be eaten cooked or raw, provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin D, folate, copper, selenium, potassium, and phosphorus. Further, they are also an amazing weight loss foods as they are low in calories and contain moderate amounts of fibre.
This goodie is loaded with potassium, is high in fibre, low in calories, rich in anti-oxidants and carotenoids. Also, the seeds are wonderful as they are loaded with zinc, protein, healthy fats, Vitamins A, B, C and E, calcium, and they help boost your mood, your sexual libido, and your heart health. When cooking keep the skin and seeds on to get all the benefits pumpkin offers.
Some other favourites I eat loads of are capsicum/peppers, onion, garlic, ginger, lemons, mango, parsley, eggplant, coriander, kiwi, apples, zucchini, beans, tomatoes, cauliflower, quinoa, and gosh so many this blog post could go on forever. I’m stopping now.
Let me know your favourites below.
Also if you buy anything online like the beans and chia check out the first blog post of this mini-series here to get a discount code. Also, want me to cook for you and enjoy beautiful, healthy, organic goodness? Come to the retreat – details here. Or check out my online program here if you can’t make it.
Love and Light,