Healthy Foods… you might never have heard about!

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Healthy Eating
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Welcome to “Bizarre Foods… the Fitness Edition”. When you’re younger, your mom and dad always encourage you to try new things at the dinner table. Perhaps, they weren’t too far off with this type of philosophy. There are plenty of amazing nutritive foods that many of us have barely heard about. I’ve been lucky enough to have been exposed to the following items either by some supportive friends or by reading tons of books about how we can use our diet to help take a firmer grasp on our own health.

Turmeric – This Eastern spice is loaded with a substance known as curcumin (which can be bought in pill form). Curcumin is a very high level antioxidant, which leads to a healthy dose of cancer prevention. Additionally, this spice aids in digestion, and provides relief from gastrointestinal issues. Turmeric adds a nice flavor to chicken (for you meat eaters) before it is baked or grilled.

Chickory – The liver does a massive amount of work for us each day. This leafy green have a chard-like flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. It helps the liver cleanse itself more readily. Did you have an “interesting evening” recently? Give your body some chickory as an apology note! Try raw chickory in place of lettuce if you are making wraps or sandwiches.

Coconut Oil – Okay, now many of you have heard of this already, but did you know the extensive benefits? Coconut oil is perhaps the healthiest source of fat on the planet. It contains mid-chain fatty acids that actually contribute to weight loss. The lauric acid in coconut oil is another major benefit. It’s so good for the hair and skin that it can even be used as a shampoo! For an interesting treat, add it to black coffee and/or the tea of your choice.

Hemp Hearts – No you can’t smoke it! Hemp is a very efficient source of protein. In fact, elite trainers prefer it to whey and/or soy protein. Hemp hearts contain tons of plant-powered protein (plant protein is always a more holistic source of protein than animal protein). When blended in a smoothie they thicken the drink and make it creamier too.  Also deserving honorable mention is hemp oil, which can be used in anything from drinks to salads.

Agave Nectar – This derivative of the blue agave cactus is considered to be a low GI food, meaning that it absorbs in a way that will not cause sugar spikes and crashes. It is also much sweeter than sugar or honey, requiring you to use less of it to get the same effect. I have even used it on pancakes for the little one because a few drops will do the trick. It’s also way healthier than Aunt Jemima, who should be pictured with a skull and crossbones on her apron, same with her best friend Mrs. Butterworth. The light version of those “syrups” contain no actual maple syrup at all. They consist of corn syrup with caramel flavoring and preservatives. Agave is pure as possible, and is almost always sold in organic form.

White Tea – Oh white tea, has green tea ever stolen your spotlight? Well folks, it’s time to stand up and recognize the powers of white tea. It has a far higher antioxidant level than green or black tea. It just doesn’t get the good press that they do. It’s also naturally sweeter, which deters many people from having to use sweeteners in it. There are also studies that link white tea to lower cholesterol and improvements in circulatory function. I love white tea when it is combined with fruit flavor. For example, white and pear from Trader Joe’s is an awesome way to see if you like this overshadowed hero of the tea world.

I’m sure many of you may have heard of some of these, but if you picked up one new food to add to your health arsenal, my work was worthwhile. Comment and let me know if you tried any of these, or if you have any others that were left off of here. I’ll probably do another installment of this title in about a week or so. I have about six more to share, but this blog is already running above average in length. Until next time, be well, be fit and stay healthy. Thanks for all of the support!

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