Goji Berry the Super Fruit!

Goji BerryOne of the questions I always get asked is what are the best healthy foods to snack on that will not make you gain weight. My answer is always goji berries! They are quick and easy to eat, taste great and have so many health benefits. That’s why they are a super fruit!

Goji berries are also known as wolfberries. They are mainly grown in Asia. Goji berries have been used to try and treat many of today’s health problems like high blood pressure, age related eye problems and diabetes. They can be eaten raw, dried, cooked. They can be used in juices, wines, medicines and herbal teas.

What are the Health Benefits of Goji Berries?

Goji berries are filled with powerful antioxidants so they are great for anti-aging, the immune system and the skin. They are rich in vitamin A, C and contain vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E. Goji berries are also a great source of beta carotene so are good for improving vision. They contain 18 amino acids and around 21 minerals. They contain more iron than spinach. Roughly around 15 times as much and 13% more protein than whole meat. They have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with calcium so are great for your bones too!

This super fruit contains natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds. They also can help in muscle growth so they are a great muscle building snack. The amino acids in goji berries help the body to produce more growth hormone.

How Many Goji Berries Should You Eat a Day?

I recommend you eat two handfuls a day. You can add them to your porridge or add then to a smoothie. I tend to just eat them raw. They taste great, so they make a nice tasty snack!

Can Goji Berries Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, they can because of their low glycemic index value. They won’t cause your blood sugar levels to rise quickly and then crash causing you to crave more sugary foods like high GI foods do.

Stress can play a big part in gaining fat. When we are stressed we release too much cortisol which can result in weight gain by increasing cravings for sugary food. It also stops the secretion of growth hormone as well as depleting the adrenal glands, causing fatigue, resulting in overeating to restore energy levels. Goji berries can lower your stress levels. Goji berries are an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a biological substance found in certain rare plants and herbs that help the body adapt to changes and stress. They can also help with better sleep, increased energy, mental clarity and faster injury recovery.

There you have it. They are not only great for your body, they help you lose weight, build muscle and they taste nice too!

3 Healthy Snack Foods You Should Include In Your Diet

The secret to staying in great shape is to eat small and regular. To do this you need to snack on healthy foods that will keep you satisfied and with plenty of energy for the day. Here are 3 of the top foods you should be snacking on:

1) Raw Carrot

Raw CarrotRaw Carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, biotin, thiamine, potassium and fibre. Carrots can reduce cholesterol, help prevent heart attacks and lower the risk of getting certain cancers with the high amount of beta-carotene in each carrot. The beta-carotene also helps with anti-aging. It serves as an antioxidant that fights against free radicals and the aging of cells. Research results from Harvard University suggested that people who eat more than five carrots a week are much less likely to suffer a stroke than those who only eat one carrot a month.

Carrots are also great for healthy eyes. The Beta-carotene in the carrot is converted to vitamin A in the liver. The vitamin A converts into rhodopsin which aids night vision. That’s why carrot is associated with helping you see in the dark. The antioxidant properties may help prevent cataracts. Carrots are good for dry skin. They help skin to become softer and smoother. They aid in the reduction of acne by detoxifying the liver, helping lower the toxins in the blood stream. Stomach and gastrointestinal health is also improved.

Carrots are great for keeping your teeth clean. They help eliminate dirt and plague from the teeth and gums whilst killing germs in the mouth. The saliva produced from carrots help scrub any stains on your teeth.

2) Pears

PearPears are a great source vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin E, folate, potassium, fibre, niacin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, fructose, glucose, sucrose, pantothenic acid. They do not contain any saturated fats, cholesterol or sodium and contain around 60-100 calorie. Make sure you eat the pear with the skin on. The majority of the pears antioxidants, vitamin C and dietary fibre are contained in the pear skin. The antioxidants protect the cells from damage from free radicals.  Pears contain more nutrients per calorie than calorie per nutrient.

Pears have a low glycemic index (GI) of only 38. GI foods with a low glycemic index are digested and absorbed more slowly. They produce a more gradual rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. Pears can help a person lose weight and improve concentration. The low GI in pears can help prevent coronary heart disease and obesity. Pears can also aide in the management of diabetes.

Pears are considered to be a hypoallergenic fruit. This means they are less likely than other fruits to produce an allergic reaction when eaten. This is one of the reason they make a great, healthy snack for young kids or people who suffer from food allergies. Pears are useful in treating inflammation of the mucous membranes, arthritis, gout, colitis and gallbladder disorders. Your risk of developing asthma reduces by eating pears on a regular basis. Pears can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer. The fibre in pears can bind to help remove cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

The boron in pears helps the body retain calcium which can help prevent osteoporosis.  Pears contain antioxidant and anticarcinogen glutathione, which can help prevent high blood pressure and strokes. You reduce your chance of having a stroke by 50%. You can lower the risk of macular degeneration which is the main cause of vision loss in older adults. The potassium can also speed up the recovery time from muscle fatigue after exercise and help prevent cramps. Pears are a great afternoon snack or pre work snack due to their the quick and natural source of energy from monosacharides (fructose and glucose) and carbohydrates They are great for increasing energy levels at work or at the gym.

3) Bananas

BananaBananas are a great source of energy. They can help reduce the chances of depression. They can improve your mood by converting the tryptophan into serotonin. Your potassium levels decrease when stressed so eating a banana is a great way to boost your levels back up and relieve stress. Bananas are also high in iron and can also sooth heartburn due to their natural antacid effect on the body. They also trigger the production of mucus in the stomach which provides a protective barrier against stomach acids.

The high potassium and low sodium can also help in reducing high blood pressure. If you are trying to give up smoking then bananas can help with the nicotine withdrawal. Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium help the body fight the nicotine withdrawal. The potassium can aid bone health also. The modern high-salt diets can increase urinary calcium loss but the potassium can slow down the effects. They are a great source of fibre for a healthy digestive system.

Summary

All three foods make great snacks that won’t cost you much money. Eating these daily will not only keep your energy levels up but will also aid in keeping your body in a healthy state.

Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil

Cod Liver OilSupplements play an increasing role in health and nutrition these days. A major reason for this is the quality of the nutrients in the soil has declined over the years due to over farming. What is the difference between cod liver oil and fish oil? Cod liver oil is made from the fish liver of white fish such as cod and halibut. Fish oil is derived from the fatty flesh of the whole fish such as cold water fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel.

How about Omega-3? Both cod liver oil and fish oil contain the same Omega-3’s in similar proportions. Omega-3 promotes heart health, lowered inflammation, decreased formation of atherosclerotic plaques and optimal brain function. Omega-3 can also help relieve symptoms of depression. The major negative of taking cod liver oil is it’s been shown to contain a mixture of potentially harmful contaminants ranging from mercury to chemicals such as dioxanes and PCB’s. There’s also the chance of the rancidity of the cod liver oil. So make sure you keep it in a dark bottle in a cool, dark place.

Cod liver oil also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A and D.  These vitamins are stored in the fish liver so are present in cod liver oil capsules. They are not contained in fish oil capsules. Fat-soluble vitamins can cause toxicity if taken in large quantities. The upper limit intake for adults is 2,000 IU for vitamin D and 3,000 IU for vitamin A. If your vitamin D intake is above this amount it can lead to vomiting, weakness, constipation and nausea. Over the limit for vitamin A could cause liver problems, central nervous system disorders and osteoporosis.

The Verdict?

I used to take cod liver oil capsules as I just assumed if you don’t eat two portions of fish a week then you could get Omega-3 from the capsules. I then became aware of fish oil capsules. I wanted to know the difference and which one should I take. As I mentioned above they both contained Omega-3 so that was good but the game changer was the mixture of potentially harmful contaminants in cod liver oil that come from the fish liver. I knew fish oil did not have vitamin A and D but these could be found in foods or multi vitamins if you were lacking in these vitamins. Cod liver oil is ideal if you don’t get much sunshine and you are lacking in vitamin D but apart from that I would definitely recommend taking fish oil over cod liver oil.

What Is A Superfood?

We hear the term “superfood” quite frequently these days but what is a superfood? A super food is a food rich in nutrients or phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that contain disease preventive properties and prevent cell damage. These foods are not processed and don’t contain additives, artificial ingredients or high levels of saturated fats. Super foods are low in calories, so are great for losing weight. They can also lower your risk of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Popeye’s Favourite Food Was A Superfood!

SpinachSpinach is a great example of a superfood. It’s one of the most nutritious foods available. Spinach is rich in vitamin A and vitamin K. It also contains many more nutrients such as manganese, folate, calcium, magnesium, co-enzyme q10, glutathione, lutein, omega 3 essential fatty acids, Polyphenols , iron, vitamins B6, C, D, E, Zeaxanthin, riboflavin, protein as well as dietary fiber.   These nutrients also help increase your (SPF) level and lower your risk of sun damage as well as strengthen your bones. The magnesium helps towards maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. Spinach can also improve brain function, eyesight and gastrointestinal function. The flavonoids in spinach help battle those free radicals to help prevent against cancer. One cup of spinach only contains around 40 calories.

Best Way To Eat Spinach?

You can eat spinach fresh or cook it. Fresh spinach makes a great replacement for salad in your sandwich. If you are cooking spinach it is best to steam it rather than boil it. Steaming it retains more of the nutrients than boiling it. Another method of getting your weekly intake of spinach is by adding it to a smoothie. Get in the habit of adding spinach to your weekly meals and utilize the huge benefits of this superfood.