Friday, January 4, 2013

Super Healthy Foods!

Today I want to talk to you about super foods! As in super HEALTHY foods that are incredibly good for you, easy to find and easy to incorporate into meals. Doing the research for this blog entry was so eye-opening – I had no idea how amazingly nutritious some of these foods were! I chose these over other foods for no particular reason other than the fact that they’re some of my favourites, they’re relatively easy to find and they’re fairly familiar to the majority of people. There were so many foods I wanted to include, but I had to draw the line somewhere! So these are the eight I picked to talk about, and I hope you find this information as helpful as I did!

1    Spinach

Not only does spinach make a fantastic salad base, it’s also incredibly good for you for a few reasons.  It’s very rich in antioxidants, those fancy molecules that are supposed to fight cancer and other damaging cell behaviour. It’s got a ton of Vitamin A, in fact a 100 gram serving has over half of what you need in a day. Lots of vitamin C, too, of course, and it’s high in protein and high in fiber. Although spinach is high in iron and calcium, we can’t absorb very much of it because it also contains things that stop us from doing so. So, if you’re looking for a good veggie source of iron and calcium, you’re better off to go with some of the other foods on this list. But keep eating spinach because it’s a fantastic super food in other ways and it’s, well, freaking delicious. Every time you munch on some spinach you are contributing to your good health, so eat up!


Yummy yum! One of my favourite foods in the whole world, broccoli is a power house of nutrition and deliciousness. It’s got around the same levels of protein and fibre as spinach, more vitamin C in a 100 gram serving than you need in a day, and a ton of Vitamin K – the vitamin which helps with blood coagulation.  And broccoli has a special combination of high levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin K, which can help you absorb and maintain a balance of Vitamin D. Most of us are Vitamin D deficient, I know I am, so any veggie that can help us keep more of it in our system is worth eating a lot of! Although eating broccoli raw is also good for you, steamed broccoli is a lot easier on your stomach, and, some say, might even lower your cholesterol. But for the moment let’s just focus on the fact that broccoli is yummy, it’s packed with nutrients and it’s something that’s really easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. Because everyone loves broccoli, even kids!


Mmmmm.  Mushrooms! I’ve been having a love affair with them lately, and here’s why! Mushrooms are so incredibly good for your health, and it seems as if new benefits to eating them are constantly being discovered! All mushrooms are high in B vitamins, potassium, protein and copper, which can help to protect the heart. But the news about mushrooms lately is that they can help promote anti-tumour activity and prevent cancer! Reishi mushrooms have even been found to help protect and heal the liver and help your immune system. Shiitake mushrooms are an amazing source of vitamin D. In fact, a 100 gram serving of them contains 46,000 IUs of vitamin D, more than 7000% of what we need in a day! Wow! So, basically, you should just eat shiitake mushrooms every day. Yup. A serving of the same size also contains 17 g of protein, tons of iron and nearly all your B vitamins.  They help the immune system, help lower your blood pressure, and could help fight cancer. So while Shittake mushrooms are better for you than your basic white mushrooms, any kind of mushroom is good for you, and is definitely worth incorporating into your diet.


I’m fresh off a trip for sushi whereupon I ate many a piece of avocado, so forgive me if I oversell this one a bit. But, seriously – avocadoes are AWESOME. They’re full of antioxidants that prevent your intestines from absorbing certain kinds of fat, and they’ve also been proven to lower your bad cholesterol levels and raise your good cholesterol levels. They’re also very filling because of all the “good fat” that they contain, making them the perfect addition to any meal to make it nutritious and satisfying! If you’ve never eaten avocado before, try it on top of black bean burritos or on a sandwich. It has a lovely creamy texture which may take some getting used to but trust me – once you do, you won’t want to stop eating them!

Garlic has been used by humans for over 7,000 years, both as a medicine and as a food. Ancient Egyptians used it to cure various ailments, as well as ancient Greeks and Romans. Garlic is useful to regulate your blood sugar, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, help with your digestion, as an antifungal, and it’s great for your heart. The majority of the health benefits that you get from garlic come into play best when it’s eaten raw. Scared? Don’t be. There are a bunch of ways you can eat garlic raw and it’s still delicious. It’s a great addition to homemade salad dressings, or you can use it as a garnish on cooked dishes. My favourite thing to do is to mince raw garlic and mix it with extra virgin olive oil to make a simple and delicious salad dressing. It packs a punch to be sure – lots of protein, B vitamins, calcium, vitamin C, iron – you name it! Adding garlic to your life could just be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.


I just recently discovered this delightful food and am glad I did. Quinoa is a “pseudocereal”, meaning it’s not a true grain, but you can use it in many of the same ways as rice or pasta. This makes it perfect for people with gluten allergies. It also has a LOT more nutrients than your standard cereals, including a lot of essential amino acids, tons of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc, which makes it perfect for vegans or people who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. If you’re not sure about quinoa substitute it for rice in a dish and see how you like it – it truly is delicious and filling, and I have a feeling you’ll love it. For lots of awesome quinoa recipes visit this website:

         Chia Seeds

So, you know those Chia pets you used to want so badly when you were a kid? Yes, this is the same thing – the seed from the chia plant, or salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. The seeds have been eaten for centuries, with the Aztecs being the first recorded civilization to cultivate and ingest them. Chia seeds have become all the rage lately, and with good reason – they are incredibly nutritious, and surpass nearly every other food source in terms of vitamin and mineral content. They have a unique combination of soluble and insoluble fibers, so it can help balance your blood sugar. Not only that, but they’re packed with protein, calcium and antioxidants. They can absorb up to 9 times their weight in liquid, which makes it easy for them to take on the flavour of whatever you’re cooking them in. I must admit, I haven’t tried chia seeds yet personally, but I plan to very soon! For chia seed recipes visit this website: (Apparently you can make almost anything with them!)

        Hemp Seeds

My personal favourite! The incredibly overlooked powerhouse of a seed! The nutritional benefits of adding hemp seeds to your diet is just now truly being recognized. Hemp is one of the earliest known domesticated plants and has been cultivated for nearly 12,000 years! Contrary to popular belief, the hemp plants we take our seeds from do NOT contain enough THC to get anyone high. To give you an idea, hemp plants usually contain less than .3% THC, while cannabis plants used for recreational or medicinal purposes contain 2-20%. So rest assured, there is absolutely no way to get high from consuming hemp seeds, and they are INCREDIBLY good for you. Not only do they contain an insane amount of protein, they are also rich in Omegas 3, 6 and 9, Vitamin A, the B vitamins, calcium and iron, and contain absolutely no cholesterol.  They have a sort of nutty flavour, which makes them a perfect addition to your morning smoothie. You can also buy hemp seed milk, hemp seed butter, hemp seed protein powder, hemp seed oil and more. From personal experience, I have been drinking hemp protein shakes twice a day for about a week now and I have never felt better. So if you’re afraid of hemp, don’t be!

I hope you found this information helpful. Like I said, there are many other powerhouse food you would do well to add to your diet, including almonds, asparagus, pineapple, kiwi, kale… I could go on and on. But I will hopefully be writing about those sometime soon. J

My sources for this article:


  1. Very informative Marita, we eat a few of these foods but not enough - must make more of an effort to incorporate them into our diets.

    how about some tips on getting Agnes to actually like mushrooms!? ;-)

  2. Haha, well I have heard some people say that kids just need to taste something consistently over the course of a few years while their bodies grow and their taste buds change and then they'll like them for the rest of their lives. For instance, when I was a kid I HATED squash, but my mom always forced me to eat it, and now it's one of my favourite things in the entire world. So just keep feeding her mushrooms and I'll bet one day she'll love them! As for making her like them now... I have no idea. Kids are picky eaters - they have lots and lots of taste buds! Good luck! :)

  3. So happy to have this info! Glad that I already eat quite a bit of these foods but could definitely stand to eat more of them :) Will you come with me to do a big shop of healthy stuff and help me plan out a weeks of recipes and snacks with me?

    1. Absolutely I will! I wish I had more recipes, but I drink shakes for breakfast and lunch so I really don't cook that much. I do have a few that I really enjoy, though, so I will absolutely share those with you and go shopping for ingredients with you. :)