12 Days of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness - December 20-31, 2011
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Super Foods by Jennifer Nicol
"Super Food(s)" is a term that is popping everywhere it seems...What does it mean? The term "Super Food" is a buzzword used within the world of nutrition to describe foods that in their natural, often organically grown state, contain a full spectrum of concentrated nutritional values. Chia, flax and hemp hearts are excellent examples of seeds that are considered to be Super Food(s).
Chia is an ancient seed that comes from a member of the mint family called Salvia Hispanica, which grows in southern Mexico. In fact, it has been called the “Runner’s Food” as it was used by the Aztec Indians for long distance runs and endurance. Chia contains high levels of Omega3 & Omega6 essential fatty acids (EFA), antioxidants, and is rich in plant-based protein.
This amazing little seed also provides a plethora of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, copper, manganese, niacin, phosphorus and zinc, to name a few. Add organic Chia to absolutely everything! Use Chia to ramp up the energy levels in shakes, salads and many other dishes.
Because the seeds rapidly absorb several times their weight in liquid, the seed becomes gelatinous and therefore acts as a delicious thickener to drinks prepared in the blender. The gel that is formed slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar which helps stabilize blood sugar levels. By eliminating the spiking and crashing of blood sugar, the body gets a more consistent energy level and greatly reduces cravings.FLAX
Flax is one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids (EFA) Omega-3 and Omega-6. In proper balance, these fatty acids work to form the membranes of every cell in the body and play a vital role in the way cholesterol works in the system. Research shows that consuming the recommended serving of just one tablespoon daily provides enough of the EFA Omega-3 to meet dietary needs.
Additionally, flax contains an abundance of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron and 110% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium. The seeds also contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber, which is recognized by the National Cancer Institute as an essential part of the diet for the prevention of many cancers.
For maximum benefits, grind the seeds, as the whole flax seeds can pass through the system undigested. Use a coffee grinder or small food processor to grind, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month. Add the ground seeds to protein shakes, salads and any prepared dishes.NOTE: Flax can upset digestion if over consumed. Be mindful not to exceed the recommended daily serving.
Hemp hearts are delicious nut-like seeds from the shelled hemp seed. The seeds are rich in protein, iron, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin and essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6. When taken in combination with a high fiber diet and a variety of fruits and vegetables, bowel movements become more regular, ultimately aiding in a healthy bowel system.
Introducing the recommended daily serving of four tablespoons into the diet, hemp hearts naturally reduce cravings for sugar and stimulants, which clearly helps to maintain a healthy diet plan.
By reducing cravings for junk foods, the body will naturally loose weight by filling up on whole foods that are high in nutrients. Hemp is tasty addition to salads, pasta dishes, rice, or blended into juices and shakes. Again, it is best to consume the seeds in their natural state. Heating will diminish or potentially eliminate the nutritional value.
Super Foods are an excellent source of energy to include in any diet plan. Consuming foods that pack a nutritional punch is the base for achieving optimal health & fitness. Consider adding these and other Super Foods to your diet. The health benefits are powerful!
What are your three favorite Super Foods?
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