Switching up cuisines, adding different spices, introducing new flavors and different ingredients into your daily diet are some of the ways to switch up the nutritional factor without getting bored of eating the same thing all the time. If you feel like you could do with a little boost of nutrition into your diet, superfoods are one way to ramp up the health factor and boost your daily intake of essential vitamins and proteins.
Superfoods are Spirulina, Moringa Leaf, Chia Seeds, Acai, Masa flour, Turmeric, and Maca powder are wonderful ways to add some nutrition without getting rid of flavor.
Spirulina is a naturally forming algae powder high in protein and is touted as a great source of B-Vitamins, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Spirulina is sourced from non-contaminated ponds but if you plan on buying Spirulina, make sure that it is from a certified organic supplier.
Spirulina is a source of high-quality protein, on par with that in eggs. It also contains Vitamin B1 and is often consumed to increase energy, improve eye health and nerve function, and increase brain function.
It also improves the digestive system. Studies have also shown that consuming Spirulina can regulate blood sugar levels, thus being effective as a medication for diabetes. For women, especially, Spirulina helps boost the body's immune system after pregnancy.
Plenty of people prefer Spirulina in a capsule form, but if you like the powder version, one tablespoon mixed with water and taken straight is the way to go.
Spirulina is an expensive gram for gram. A pound of Spirulina would cost you $50, and taking a teaspoon of it for starters can help you last a pound of Spirulina for a month.
2- Moringa Leaf
Moringa leaf is from the Moringa tree, also known as drumstick tree, ben tree, or horseradish tree. This tree is found in Nepal, Pakistan, and India. It is a traditional remedy used to treat and prevent diseases and illnesses such as anemia, arthritis, diabetes, and skin and digestive disorders.
Moringa is high in Vitamins A, E & C, and some good amount of the B vitamins. It is also high in calcium, and we all know how that benefits women and our bones. Vitamins A & E help in keeping our cells healthy as well as prevent any cellular mutations.
More importantly, Moringa's benefit to women is that it is taken as a PMS reliever and increases milk production for lactating mothers. Moringa is also being researched as an anti-cancer agent with regards to ovarian and breast cancer and, if proven, would be extremely beneficial for women.
Moringa is mostly consumed in powder form and is usually more cost-efficient this way. You can mix it in smoothies or as a light morning tea. A safe dosage to start with is ½ or one teaspoon a day and progress to one tablespoon per day. Too much of it can cause laxative effects.
Moringa is generally affordable. A one-pound bag would cost you between $10 to $30, depending on the brand. As always, buy organic and from certified suppliers.
3- Chia seeds
For many of you reading this, you've probably already come across chia seeds. They are all over Pinterest as the go-to breakfast of choice. These tiny seeds are harvested from the Salvia Hispanica plant and are a staple in ancient Mayan and Aztec foods.
These chia seeds are easy to store and easy to transport, and they are known for their high-energy and nutritionally dense components. Small they might be, but chia seeds are a powerful superfood that is high in protein, fiber, Omega-3, and six fatty acids, Magnesium, iron, calcium, Vitamin C, and of course, Antioxidants.
For women, the biggest puller would be that these seeds are energy-enhancing, especially when we get our PMS or during menopause when energy levels are lower than normal. It is also helpful in weight loss because it helps reduce cravings.
Apart from its amazing nutritional benefits, chia seeds are even easier to consume. You can dump a tablespoon of the seeds into your bottle of water and drink it straight.
You can mix in with your yogurt and have it as a breakfast pudding, or you can blend it into your daily smoothie. Chia seeds are also extremely affordable and easily purchased from grocery stores and supermarkets. You can get a pound bag at $9 to $10, depending on the brand.
Acai is one of those superfoods made famous by Dr. Oz & Oprah. Acai refers to small, purple berries that grow on the acai palm tree native to South and Central America. Most of the world's production of Acai comes from the Amazonian rainforests of Brazil.
It is loaded with antioxidants as well as immune-boosting vitamins. Because of this, it helps protect the body against free radicals and cancer-causing agents. According to the NSRC, Acai also has heart-healing components, thus reducing cardiovascular disease. It also aids in lessening degeneration issues, which reduces Alzheimer's risk. Apart from these health benefits, there are also benefits to the skin and your appearance.
It is one of the best anti-aging agents because it helps improve blood circulation and reduces the risks of blood clots. With superior vitamin C levels, it also increases the regeneration process of our body. If that is not enough, Acai also lowers your body's cholesterol, helping you on your weight loss journey.
There are plenty of ways to consume acai berry, but experts warn to stay clear of acai juices with high sugar content. Supermarkets sell frozen acai pulp, which you can add to your smoothie or make a juice. There are also freeze-dried acai powder and capsule forms. Depending on what version you buy, the price for Acai varies from $10 to $50. Usually, these supplements last for a month with daily use.
5- Masa flour
This type of flour is the best masa for tamales, and it's a good and healthy swap for traditional, white flour. Masa contains one component of vitamin B, which is niacin, also known as vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 helps the body turn food into energy, plus it also reduces oxidative inflammation and stress. Masa flour also aids in digestion and the absorption of calcium and vitamin D. If you feel you lack calcium, masa flour is a great way to increase this nutrition to help your body build and maintain strong bones.