When pondering on what to write about this month, Halloween came to mind. Do you like dressing up? Food has its own way of disguising itself in their nutrient content and health benefits. Looking around my kitchen I decided to blog about certain items I found that are powerful foods just waiting to be consumed as a treat to your body.
Flax Seeds: When digested in their whole form, flax seeds are an insoluble fiber that goes right through the body undigested while adding bulk to your stool. It contains a tough exterior shell that needs to be broken down to release nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, lignans and proteins. Unless you chew each one really well, these seeds need to be ground before eating for our bodies to assimilate all the beneficial nutrients. One trick I found with these seeds is turning them into an egg substitute when baking. Combine one tablespoon of ground flax seeds to two and a half tablespoons of water and mix to obtain a thick liquid consistency to add to your eggless baked good treat.
Camu Camu Berries: Synthetically made vitamin C supplements alone have their benefits for boosting immunity, but this powerful vitamin is more effective when working with bioflavonoids. Together, these antioxidant treats are found in whole foods like citrus fruit, bell peppers and berries. When my family needs an extra antioxidant kick, I turn to camu camu berry powder. It works great for my three year old who doesn’t know how to swallow pill forms yet. Just a teaspoon of the berry powder contains almost seven times the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and since the powder is made from the whole berry, the additional intake of bioflavonoids enhances the vitamin’s activity. The trick is to hide it in drinks like juice or smoothies because the taste may not be likable.
Turmeric: Whether in its whole root form or as a powder, turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods due to its active component curcumin. Making a habit of adding turmeric to your food is a great treat to do your body good. The trick to increasing turmeric’s absorption and effectiveness in the body is consuming it with black pepper and a fatty food. I sprinkle a little bit of the two spices here or there, like on eggs, potatoes, bone broth and even mixing them in warm milk with other spices to make golden milk.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Many assume too much stomach acid is the origin of their indigestion turning to the popular acid blocker pink drink or antacids to find relief. The trick to helping digestion issues is to work on maintaining a healthy colon while having adequate levels of digestive juices and enzymes. An underactive stomach is common where foods are incapable of proper digestion because of the lack of stomach acid. Apple cider vinegar is a fermented food providing beneficial bacteria, a great treat to our gut. When two to four tablespoons are taken before a meal, its acidity prepares the body for food releasing more stomach acid to activate enzymes and produces more bile. I like to use apple cider vinegar in place for vinegar in recipes like for salad dressings or chicken adobo.
Moringa: You are lucky if these leaves are available at your local Asian grocery store. I first ate moringa leaves after giving birth when my mother added them in soup to help with my milk supply. They are a little on the expensive side, but for good reason. These leaves are packed with magnesium, calcium, iron, quercetin, vitamins A, C, B6, K and so much more nutrients to list. They are also available in a dried powder form. My favourite way of using the powder is drinking it like a matcha latte. Dissolving the powder in a little bit of hot water while adding warm milk and a sweetener of choice does just the trick. It tastes similar to the green tea but with no caffeine and a higher dose of a nutritional treat.
Chia seeds: What is one trick to adding more fiber to your diet? Eating it as a dessert of course! Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, magnesium, calcium, iron and good fats. I like adding chia seeds with fruit, yogurt, ice cream or pudding as a sweet treat to get more fiber and extra nutrients in my body. It’s a great way to slow glucose entering into the bloodstream when eating dessert. Always soak chia seeds in water or a liquid of choice overnight since they absorb more liquid than their weight and can leave you dehydrated if ingested dry.
This Halloween, remember to treat your body kindly. Using these tricks help me maintain a healthy diet while providing me with all their nutritional benefits. Why not try them if you haven’t already? Happy Halloween and enjoy these tricks and treats!
Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™