When it comes to snacking and food cravings, it always seems easier to go for that chocolate bar or double dipped donut; the junk food. Sure, they may taste great but do they provide you the nutrients that you need to live optimally?
The energy that you get from the chocolate bar or donut is calories derived mostly from sugar. The problem with eating foods high in simple sugar is that they cause a dramatic spike in your blood sugar levels. Ingesting refined sugars alone, without a balanced diet consisting of adequate amounts of protein, good types of fat, and good carbohydrates, will cause your blood sugar levels to drop suddenly after eating, resulting in fatigue, agitation, and additional sugar cravings.
This swift glycemic-spike-drop cycle overtime can lead to weight gain as well Type 2 Diabetes. Your body’s blood sugar levels are regulated through your pancreas and the secretion of insulin. Insulin regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism by up taking glucose from the blood into the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue. Overtime, the incessant sugar and junk food intake will lead to a desensitized pancreas and insulin resistance resulting in Type 2 Diabetes. A healthy diet can help maintain your body’s weight and insulin sensitivity to prevent the onset of diabetes.
Try incorporating these 4 Power Foods into your life for a boost of energy and greater health.
1) ALMONDS – Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts as they contain high amounts of protein, monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Cancer Prevention - Almonds are low in saturated fat and contain protective nutrients such as Vitamin E (antioxidant) and compounds called phytochemicals which may help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Reduce Heart Attack Risk - Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats that are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
2) BLUEBERRIES – Blueberries possess one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, and spices. Blueberries are high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Manganese, and fiber.
Antioxidant Properties - Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. The phytonutrients found in blueberries such as anthocyanins play a role in strengthening the immune system by neutralizing free radicals.
Cognitive Benefits - One of the most exciting new areas of research on blueberries is the area of cognitive benefits. In one study involving older adults, 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve scores on two different tests of cognitive function including memory. Regular consumption of blueberries may slow down or postpone the onset of other cognitive problems frequently associated with aging.
3) SPINACH – This food is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is a good source of niacin, zinc, fiber, protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but you may be surprised to learn that he may also have been helping to protect himself against inflammatory problems, oxidative stress-related problems, cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and cancers at the same time.
Bone Health - The vitamin K provided by spinach is important for maintaining bone health. Vitamin K1 helps prevent excessive activation of osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone. Spinach is also an excellent source of other bone-supportive nutrients including calcium and magnesium.
4) AVOCADOS – Avocados are packed with nutrients and heart-healthy compounds. They are full of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5/ B6, fiber, folate, and potassium.
The avocado has traditionally been viewed as a vegetable high in fat. While this is true, the fat contained in avocados are the good kind and offer diverse health benefits.
Supports Cardiovascular Health - Heart health is improved by intake of oleic acid (the primary fatty acid in avocado) and by intake of omega-3 fatty acids (provided by avocado in the form of alpha-linolenic acid). In addition, research has shown that elevated levels of homocysteine form a key risk factor for heart disease, and since B vitamins are very important for healthy regulation of homocysteine levels, avocado’s significant amounts of vitamin B-6 and folic acid provide another channel of heart support.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties – The avocado has the ability to help prevent unwanted inflammation. Avocado’s anti-inflammatory nutrients have been shown to help prevent osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases.
The next time you get a food craving, consider making a spinach-avocado salad topped with blueberries and almonds!
By: Albert Huang, DC
Re-Blogged from Albyfit.com
Posts inspired by the team at Platinum Health & Wellness.