Sunday, April 28, 2013

Taste The Rainbow: Six foods to rock your meal plans

I say To-may-to, you say To-mah-to. 
It really doesn't matter how you say it, tomatoes are good for you. The lycopene in tomatoes is a mood lifter which reduces inflammation and helps regulate energy levels and reduce stress.  Rich with antioxidants, these pretty fruits (or vegetables, whatever you like to think of them as) not only fight free radicals, but are also packed with awesome nutrients like Vitamin B6, Niacin, and Folate which help with cardiovascular health. Buy organic tomatoes, or, best of all, home-grown organic for the most nutrition and best flavor. 

Sweet on Sweet Potatoes.
More potassium than a banana, rich in Vitamin C.... it's a bird, it's a plane... no, no, it's a sweet potato! If you've scoped out the blogs, you may have noticed Sweet Potatoes are pretty popular among the Paleo community.  That's because these babies aren't just a bunch of starch like their regular white relatives.  No, these things are beautiful.   They are high in B6 which helps prevent degenerative diseases.  (Good for your heart!)  Sweet potatoes also contain iron, so Anemics- eat up!  Stressed?  Eat a sweet potato.  They contain magnesium which promotes relaxation.  Ahhhhh.

Positively Pineapple!
Pineapple aids in food digestion thanks to an enzyme called bromelian which is also known to have anti-cancer, anti-clotting, and anti-inflammatory properties. (Yay!)  Good news for those who have taken on the Whole30 challenge or Paleo diet due to inflammatory issues!  It's rich in vitamins and minerals (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and much more!)

Eat your Brussel Spouts.
Seriously, eat them.  These little cabbage relatives are mean, green, fat-burning machines.  Brussel sprouts stimulate the production of adiponectin, a hormone that sends a message to your body to begin burning stored fat as fuel. They're full of anti-cancer agents, and, like pineapple and sweet potatoes, they offer plenty of fiber to keep your tummy satisfied and your digestive system running smoothly.

I love you Berry much.
Blackberries (and those in the blackberry family, like dewberries) are another inflammation reducer. As you may have heard, the antioxidants in blackberries destroy free radicals (which harm cells and lead to all sorts of health issues, including cancer). In addition, they are a great source of Vitamin K, a hard-working vitamin that aids in the absorption of calcium. Just one cup of blackberries contains 30% of the dietary fiber recommended (who says it's hard to get fiber without grains?). And ladies, it's said to help with PMS as well!

Does it seem like coconut products have become all the rage lately?  There's a reason! (Actually, many of them.)  Forget Sprite, Gatorade, and Pedialyte when your kiddo is sick! The "juice" from the coconut contains all five of the same electrolytes as human blood (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorous).  Electrolytes are necessary for proper muscle function and blood pressure control.  Electrolytes are most commonly depleted through sweating (so, drink up before and after a workout), but also through sickness (diarrhea, vomiting, etc).  You don't need a sugary, chemical-filled drink to replenish them. Coconut water will do much better!  That's not all, though. Coconuts are a healthy fat which contain a fat-fighting fat (True story!).  You see, these healthy fats increase the oxidation of fat which allows your body to burn fat more efficiently.  And, while coconut oil makes a great lotion, it also helps ward of viruses and bacteria (so cook with it!). Coconut oil can improve insulin use within the body, boost thyroid function, and assist with digestion (as well as absorption of fat-soluble vitamins).

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