Superfood is a term that is being thrown around more and more in the health industry, and while superfoods come in many forms, the aim is to try to eat as close to the source as possible. God made food to nourish us, to give us the energy we need when we need it, to give us the building blocks (read: protein) we need when our bodies are building, and to store energy for those fight or flight situations when our bodies need quick access to energy. When you are following a whole food lifestyle, meaning you try to eat as close to ground form as possible, you’ll be getting the nutrition your body needs. As you steer away from processed foods, you’ll notice yourself craving them less, and reaching for natural foods that will NOURISH your body. To me, a superfood means giving your body the nourishment you need, when you need it. So to label something asa superfood, to me is a bit deceiving. Because you can’t just grab one food and hope that it provides you with all the functionalities you need throughout your day. Every food has its role, and its important to understand the function of each type of food. So while I am releasing my “superfood arsenal” to ya’ll, timing and intention in these foods is everything. I’ll explain to each specific food as I go 🙂
Blueberries: As a whole foods follower, the best way I am able to nourish my body with proper amounts of macronutrients, is to use my eyes. Seriously, the more color you add to your meals, the more you are diversifying your nutrient intake. The blue in these super berries are notorious for their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. I know. These terms are thrown around by health professionals a ton. But what does this actually mean for you and me?
Antioxidants: meaning this tiny little berry can actually help fight oxidation in our cells. What is this oxidation I speak of? Well. When cells have free radicals floating around, which happens when the various cells emit wastes into our system, our body can eventually enter into stress, which disrupts healthy function of our cells and body as a whole. Oxidative cells are often the cause of heart disease and cancer to name a few. These antioxidants can actually kill the free radicals that are naturally floating around in our bodies, and therefore drastically lower our risk in things like heart disease and cancer. I know, a pretty powerful tiny little fruit, huh?
Let’s talk anti-inflammatory. In the same way that cell waste puts our cells into oxidative stress, after a workout, our muscles actually undergo inflammation, which induce oxidative stress. Blueberries significantly aid in reducing muscle inflammation, and thus allow our muscles to rebuild in an unstressful environment and rebuild more optimally.
When to eat blueberries:
In general, fruits are considered to be a good carb, and thus a perfect post workout boost. This will help with muscle recovery as well as supply a healthy form of carbohydrates that will supply our muscles with just the right amount of energy to rebuild even stronger.
Throw these into your oatmeal in the winter months, or your smoothies in the summer months, and you’re looking at a natural energy supporting, health boosting whole food fix to your day 🙂
Avocado. I have too much to say about this one. First because my kids eat it like its their source of water. And it makes this mama so proud. But also, because it provides a wonderful source of healthy fat, protein and carbohydrates all in one. There are not many other foods I can think of that have this macro breakdown. My brother in law once asked me what food I’d want to have as my only source of food on a deserted island, and my immediate answer was avocado. I stand by that answer 100%.
When to eat avocado:
Well, if you’re looking to build muscle, I wouldn’t suggest eating this amount of fat post workout. Fat is a wonderful source of energy, but its much better to source your muscles with healthy carbs as energy post workouts for optimal muscle restoration. However, fat can go a long way at the beginning of the day, and between 1-2 hours pre and post workouts as energy. Fats are known to keep you feeling full and fueled throughout the day. Avocado toast as breakfast is a perfect time to utilize this superfood. But if you’ve worked out in the am and need some extra fuel to keep you feeling full and satisfied around your lunchtime slump, or to keep you feeling full and away from nighttime snacking in the evening hours, definitely consider adding avocado into your lunchtime or dinnertime meals. My rule of thumb is just to try to keep the fat consumption between 1-2 hours before and after a workout. Check out my Avocado Almond Pesto recipe for a great lunch idea!
Chia seeds: this is not really a superfood officially, but it has a superfood function when you’re in need of some digestive regulation!
Chia seeds are great because they are low in calories, while providing protein, and have a mass amount of fiber. They also add omega-3-fatty acids, a very good source of healthy fats. But the proteins they provide are not enough to be considered a protein on their own, and there are many other seeds that hold the protein hat better. Same with healthy fats. Yes, these little seeds have great fats, but no need to waste your fats in the form of seeds if you can be eating yummy and delicious avocado instead. That’s why I don’t suggest throwing these in to every smoothie you make from now on. You can, and if you love the jelly texture they provide in your overnight oats, then go for it! But there are many other seeds and foods that can provide the necessary benefits mentioned above.
So it seems like I just debunked chia seeds as a superfood. Then why use chia seeds, you may ask? BECAUSE OF THE FIBER!
When to use chia seeds:
If you throw these seeds in a glass of water, and then flush it down with another cup of water, I guarantee you, all your digestive issues will be solved very shortly. As I said at the beginning of this article, as a whole food purist, I truly believe in using foods at a time of need, to nourish/function as they are meant to. These little gems are the best natural laxatives I have found. USE THEM!
But in all honesty, if you are having issues getting your proteins in, or the correct amount of healthy fats, you can definitely still throw these into your smoothie bowls. Also make a great natural jam emulsifier. They are still a wonderful source of superfood nutrition even when not using for their laxative powers!