Wednesday, 16 December 2015

How to Eat Naturally | Add SUPER Foods to Your Diet

I'm sure you've heard all the buzz about Superfoods lately, you've probably even taken it upon yourself to do a little research on them, and added them to your diet.  And with good reason, they're Super foods! Right?
But what makes them Super, and how do they really benefit you?

Superfood is simply a term created to describe foods that have 'superior' health benefits.  However, all foods created in nature, i.e. naturally, have their own particular health benefits, they all provide our bodies with needed nutrition.  All natural foods are Super Foods.  We simply need to allow them to be super for us.  And we do that by eating the foods when nature provides them for us, in their own season: The period of time in which they are naturally available.

All produce: Fruits and Vegetables are not naturally available ALL year long.  Some are, such as as Broccoli, Spinach, some Citrus and Bananas.  Others which magically appear on your grocery shelves all year long, are normally grown outside of the region and shipped.  Yes, this allows for some variety, but recall the points highlighted in Part 2 of this Series: Eat Fresh & Seasonably.  The fresher foods are when we consume them, the more nutrition they provide, and therefore, more beneficial they are to our bodies.

There are so many different fruits and vegetables that we could eat a different one each day of the year, depending on the region in which you live of course.  
I grew up on a tropical island in a home with many, many fruit trees, I was fortunate to have easy access to fruits all year long.  I have also lived on the East Coast of the US.  It was a shock not having the fruits I knew and loved even available in the grocery when I first moved, but the positive side of that, was the opportunity to try to a host of other fruits and vegetables that were native to that region, and even more with the additional seasons.  Now, I'm back to living on an island again, but in the warm temperate zone, so many of my tropical island fruits, as well as the cooler climate produce are not locally available.  There are those with overlapping climate/season availability, but again there are different options naturally available.
I shared that short tidbit to say that no matter where you live, there is variety which allows you to take advantage of the rolling availability of produce.

Why would you want to add variety to your diet?

  • When we eat different foods, we give ourselves a greater variety in our diets, we are also gaining a greater range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients throughout the year.  
    Sure we enjoy eating particular foods, we have our taste preferences and get comfortable preparing things in a certain way.  We get buckled down in our routines and don't even think about alternatives.  But in doing so we are limiting and disadvantaging ourselves.
  • Variety is the spice of life.
    I don't know about you, but I enjoy eating different foods.  I like trying new things.  And I find it most boring to eat the same thing day in and day out.  Introducing even one different fruit or vegetable to a meal can change the entire meal, with taste and and presentation. Much like the drive to add colour to your plate to ensure you're consuming all food groups, different foods from those groups are just as important.
  • Different Fruits and Vegetables work together, in that one may provide a particular mineral and the other provides another which may help the body absorb the first.   Without both your body is unable to utilize the benefits of either.  

Why we shouldn't eat the same foods everyday?

  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, as well as Fish and Seafood contain trace levels of toxins in addition to their beneficial vitamins, mineral and nutrients.  
    A diet consisting of the same foods all the time, means you're ingesting increased levels of these toxins, which may lead to hormone imbalances, and affect thyroid and kidney functions.  It also means you're getting the same vitamins, minerals and nutrients all of the time, some of which your body only need and use small amounts of, and extra is discarded, or, may also lead to improper function of kidneys and liver.
  • Fruits and Vegetables contain different essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
    No one fruit or vegetable is able to provide our bodies with the full spectrum of nutrition. Not even SuperFoods! While Superfoods may contain more than the average, each one still lacks something that our bodies need.  By eating the same things we create deficiencies in our diet, and our bodies are unable to perform, develop or function optimally.  It may even lead to illness or disease.
    *This also applies to Herbs
So if you've found yourself picking up the same items weekly or monthly, try adding something different to your basket the next time.  If you have a produce stand, market, or farm in your area, visit them and you won't have to force yourself not to get the same things, because they simply won't have it available.  If these scenarios seem far fetched to you, there are now subscription services that send in-season and fresh produce to your door.  
So there's really no excuse.

With these options you'll be having something new on your plate for dinner before you know it!

~ Josie Jo ~
What was the last new food you added to your regular diet?

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