This post was provided by our friends at Terra Origin.
The summer heat is here, and this year it seems stronger than ever! It can be really tempting to grab sugary beverages to quench your thirst, but before you know it, the calories quickly add up and you haven’t had lunch yet! Lucky for us, Terra Origin offers two great summer drink recipes to cool you down and keep you healthy!
Cool Red Lemonade
This lemonade is a winner for any hot day spent soaking up the sun in your backyard. You can even blend it up and save it in the fridge for later. Surprise your guests with this low-sugar, high-nutrient alternative to a summer classic!
- Combine water, lemon juice, Reds Superfood Kiwi Strawberry in a blender and stir.
- Add strawberries and kiwis and mix in or add to garnish the drink.
- Chill until ready to serve.
This is a morning treat that will cool you down and leave you full and energized for you day. The sugar content is extremely low compared to iced coffee beverages bought at coffee shops, so you won’t experience that glucose crash after.
- 1 medium-sized frozen banana
- ½ tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 2 scoops Terra Origin Chocolate Bone Broth Protein
- 1 cup cold coffee
- ¼ cup vanilla soy or almond milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Ice to the consistency you prefer
- Add all the ingredients to your blender and mix until it is smooth and frothy!
- For an extra protein and flavor kick, you can add a tablespoon of almond butter, or the nut butter of your choice. If you want a touch of healthy fats, bullet proof it with two tablespoons of coconut oil!
- Top your frappuccino with cocoa nibs, shredded coconut or a dusting of cinnamon.
Enjoy a chill summer!
This post was provided by our friends at Genuine Health.
Fermentation’s popularity is growing in culinary and nutritional circles, but it’s been around since the Neolithic Age. We have our ancestors to thank for learning to harness the process, eventually mastering methods to improve the nutrition of their foods, not to mention the taste and more practical aspects like food preservation. Traditional techniques took time, as microbes and enzymes slowly worked in converting carbohydrates in foods to organic acids and/or alcohol—improving their digestibility and nutritional value in the process.
Why We Should Care About Fermentation
But why should we care about fermentation now? Here are just a few reasons:
- The Standard North American (SAD) diet of processed and refined food is severely lacking in essential nutrients.
- Industrial agriculture has depleted soil of both nutrients and beneficial bacteria, and transporting food over long distances further reduces nutrient potency.
- A cultural fear of bacteria, heavy reliance on antibiotics and rampant use of chemical cleansers has resulted in over-sanitization.
- This trifecta has damaged our food supply, our digestive health and the essential bacteria in and on our bodies—our microbiome—resulting in the rise of dietary sensitivities, allergies, digestive issues and chronic disease in our culture.
Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
With fermentation, you nourish more, digest more and absorb more. Cultured foods may be (very) old news, but how they can nourish us is being brought to light. Research is revealing a significant range of health benefits from fermented foods, in how their unique properties are of enormous benefit to our nourishment and gut ecology, aiding in the prevention of disease by:
- Partially breaking foods down to rid them of “anti-nutrients”—physical or chemical features that inhibit nutrient absorption, thus readying them for effective human digestion
- Increasing food’s bioavailability by “unlocking” vitamins, minerals, amino acids and carbohydrates
- Amplifying the nutritional value of foods by increasing and even generating nutrients
- Improving digestive health by supporting a strong gut ecology, helping allergies, food sensitivities, weight management, inflammation, skin health, mood and immunity
How to Get the Most Out of Fermentation
While traditional diets were up to 30 percent fermented, in today’s world, it’s not very realistic for it to make up that much of your diet. Some fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and natural sourdough breads can be incorporated into your diet for a dose of fermented fare, but supplementation is an easy and time-efficient way to increase your intake.
In fact, the plant and whole-food based ingredients used in high-quality fermented supplements have been shown to provide specific health benefits. For instance, fermentation intensifies the strength of phytonutrients in superfood supplements, increasing their ability to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body.
Do vegan or dairy-based protein supplements leave you feeling bloated? If so, select a fully-fermented version, which renders the proteins more tolerable with no bloat. Lastly, seek out unique ingredients, such as VitaFiber, a fully fermented prebiotic fiber that helps to feed your friendly gut bacteria.
So there you have it. If you want to absorb maximum nutrients from your food, support digestion and satisfy your beneficial microbes without the bloat, fermentation is the way to go!
Recipe provided by our friends at Navitas Organics
Who doesn’t love a light and airy, delicious dessert?! This Peruvian-inspired chocolate mousse is an antioxidant-packed powerhouse loaded with traditional ingredients and adaptogenic properties that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
3 Cans full-fat Coconut Milk (refrigerated)
1/3 Cup Navitas Organics Cacao Powder
2 tsp Navitas Organics Gelatinized Maca Powder
2 tsp Honey
1 Pint Raspberries
Optional: Shaved Chocolate or Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs
- Scoop the thick cream from the top of the canned coconut milk and place in a large bowl or stand-mixer, discarding the liquid.
- Next, using a stand-mixer or a hand-mixer, begin to whip the coconut milk until it becomes light and airy, and takes on the consistency of whipped cream.
- Remove roughly 1/3 of your whipped coconut milk and place it in a separate bowl to the side.
- Next, add the Cacao Powder, Maca Powder, honey and sea salt.
- Gently fold the Cacao Powder into the mixture before whipping again.
- Once fully combined, scoop your chocolate mousse into individual serving dishes and top with the whipped coconut milk you reserved to the side.
- Top with berries and shaved chocolate or Cacao Nibs and enjoy!
Makes 3-4 Servings
Recipe provided by our friends at Navitas Organics
This satisfying, chocolaty treat packs a serious crunch and loads of healthy fats, omega-3s and protein from the varied nuts, seeds and superfoods. Great on its own, on-the-go or topped over your cereal or oatmeal!
2 cups Sliced Raw Almonds
2 cups Raw Pecans
1 cup Raw Walnuts
1 cup Navitas Organics Coconut Hemp Pumpkin Seeds
3 Tbsp Navitas Organics Chia Seeds
1 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/4 cup Navitas Organics Cacao Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
½ cup Medjool Dates, seeded and chopped
½ cup Dried Cherries
¼ cup Navitas Organics Goji Berries
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the nuts, seeds, cardamom, Cacao Powder, and salt.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla, pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Spread the mixture evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, add dried cherries, dates and Goji Berries and stir.
- Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Once the granola is visibly browned, remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Store in an air-tight glass container in a dry, cool place. For maximum freshness use within 2 weeks.
Recipe provided by our friends at Navitas Organics
This jam acts just like boysenberry preserves‚ yet is dense with nutrition‚ low in sugar‚ full of whole superfoods‚ and completely unprocessed. Featuring two all-star superfoods – acai and chia – it’s a fantastic way to sneak extra antioxidants‚ essential fatty acids‚ and vital micronutrients into any diet.
For a stronger fruity taste‚ mix in ¼ cup muddled fresh berries (like strawberries or blackberries) before serving. Use on bread‚ with muffins‚ on top of desserts‚ or enjoy a spoonful solo with zero guilt!
½ cup Apple Juice
2 Tbsp Navitas Organics Acai Powder
2 Tbsp Navitas Organics Chia Seeds
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- Mix together the chia seeds with the apple juice in a small bowl or glass and let sit for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring once.
- After the chia has gelatinized, mix in the acai powder, maple syrup, and lemon juice.
- For best results, allow mixture to set for 30 minutes before serving. Will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
You’ve heard of the health-boosting elixir golden milk—now you can have it for breakfast! This recipe uses Elmhurst Oat Milk to create a delicious dairy-free, nut-free, easy-to-make overnight oats, packed with the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric. Elmhurst uses zero artificial flavors or colors to create their deliciously creamy oat milk. It’s certified non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free and perfectly compliments the flavor of these golden oats!
½ cup rolled oats-
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch black pepper
½ cup Elmhurst Oat Milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
- In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (from the oats to the black pepper) until combined.
- Add in the oat milk and maple syrup and mix well.
- Place the mixture in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
- In the morning, add on whatever toppings you desire (or don’t!) and enjoy.
I am sure you have heard somewhere, on some Instagram page or wellness blog, that starting your day with a healthy breakfast, like this green smoothie, sets the stage for the entire day.
I’m a firm believer that you can always make the choice to be healthier—doesn’t matter breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but this breakfast smoothie makes it easy to start your day loaded with nutrients. I also love this green smoothie as a midday “pick me up” and to cool down after a workout.
I’ve experimented with multiple green smoothie recipes, and this one stuck. So refreshing!
It also doesn’t have a banana in it—not hating on bananas (at all), but most all healthy smoothie recipes contain a banana, and I wanted to change it up. This easy smoothie is absolutely delicious and packed with superfoods, making it highly nutritious, detoxing, and healing.
Green Smoothie: Key Ingredients
- Frozen mango and hemp seeds make this green smoothie extra creamy.
- Dates add a bit of natural sweetness.
- Spirulina is added in for its detoxifying benefits.
- Flax and hemp are added for omega-3 and omega-6.
- Cordyceps, also known as edible medicinal mushroom, give an immunity boost.
Benefits of a Green Breakfast Smoothie
Starting your day with leafy greens and a healthy breakfast does have validity. You’ll notice shortly after your nutrient-packed smoothie: better focus, less of a desperate need for caffeine, and healthier food cravings throughout the day. Even though you can always make a healthy choice post-breakfast as well, this smoothie detoxes the body, fuels it properly and sets you up for a day filled with nutritious foods.
I’ve personally tested it for taste and results for the past year. My verdict? You have to make this!
Detox and Chill Green Smoothie Recipe
Serves 2 (Or if you’re like me, one.)
You will need:
- Place all the ingredients, with the exception of 1 cup of water, in a blender.
- Slowly add in the remainder of water while blending to aid in the blending process.
- Enjoy, detox, and chill (and reap the benefits!).
This piece was created in partnership with our friends at Kuli Kuli.
You’ve likely heard of superfoods—and may incorporate some into your diet already—but it can be challenging to keep up with the myriad of options aimed at improving your health and well-being. Enter moringa, an incredibly versatile, nutrient-dense plant that goes above and beyond the call of duty, even when compared to other superfoods.
What Is Moringa?
Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, leafy tree that has been utilized in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and is known for its resistance to drought.
“Morgina possibly dates back as early as 7,000 B.C. to the Siddha healers in India who used it as a traditional herb and the Egyptians who used its oil for their skin,” says Matthew Myers, a wellness consultant at LuckyVitamin. “Moringa is native to the southern foothills of northwestern India and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables or for traditional herbs. Moringa is now grown all over Southeast Asia, Central America, Africa, the Middle East and even Hawaii.”
In addition to being used as a food, supplement and topical ointment, moringa has also been used to purify water and in the production of biodiesel fuel (1). Many parts of the moringa tree are able to be used in some capacity.
“Moringa’s leaves can be dried and crushed into a powder to be used in soups and sauces, the seed pods can be boiled and cooked, the seeds can be roasted and the roots can be shredded and used as a condiment,” Myers says. “In supplement form, the whole leaf or leaf extract is available in capsules, powder, liquid juice blend, tea bags and even bars. Its seed oil is used for the skin, and it is also found in some personal care conditioners and soaps.”
As a food, moringa contains a large number of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, K and E, minerals like iron, potassium and calcium, and antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber, Myers says. Moringa also contains the nine amino acids needed to form a complete protein, which is rare among plant sources of food and is generally derived from animal sources.
Moringa offers a number of health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, improving digestion, and supporting skin, muscle and bone health, Myers says. Moringa can also boost energy and promote healthy blood sugar levels in individuals who already have normal ranges, he adds.
A good source of iron, beta-carotene, potassium and calcium, moringa possesses antioxidants that may help support cardiovascular health, some studies suggest (2). In addition, studies have also suggested that the components of the moringa plant may help promote normal blood sugar levels (3). It’s important to note, however, that more research is needed to further substantiate both of these claims.
Moringa has also been proven as an excellent source of iron for people with anemia (4). Like other leafy greens, moringa contains high levels of non-heme iron (the type of iron found in plants). Moringa has seven times the amount of iron as spinach and six times the amount of iron as kale (5).
As with all supplements and herbs, talk to your doctor or medical care professional before taking any new products, Myers says, as some medications can interact with supplements and natural herbs. In addition, Myers recommends talking to a specialist before taking moringa if you are on any type of hormone-related medication.
Some studies suggest that the leaves of the moringa plant can be used to increase breast milk production (6), however, there is not enough evidence to confirm that moringa is safe for nursing infants. In addition, the root, bark and flowers of the moringa plant should be avoided entirely by pregnant women. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before trying any type of moringa product.
Ways to Add Moringa to Your Diet
Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked. In powder form, the leaves can also retain their nutritional value for years without refrigeration. Moringa powder can be added to smoothies or mixed into sauces and stews. It can also be found in certain energy shots and health bars.
Used as a seed oil, moringa can help protect and moisturize the skin, Myers says. To use it, wash and pat your skin dry, then apply the oil directly to the face to soothe dry and irritated, skin. It can also be used as a hair oil by massaging two to three drops in damp hair, beginning at the scalp and working toward the ends of the hair, he says.
Myers recommends taking the leaf extract in capsule form and following instruction labels for dosing recommendations.
“All supplements use the leaf and seed part of the plant,” he says. “If you are to consume the actual plant itself in its natural form like in traditional cooking, use precaution when consuming the bark, root and flowers in high doses.”
Moringa Green Tea Lemonade Recipe
Looking for a simple (and refreshing) way to get your daily dose of moringa? Try adding a scoop to a tall glass of green tea lemonade!
2 cups boiling water
2 green tea bags
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 to 6 lemons)
¼ cup natural sweetener, such as agave or honey (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons pure moringa vegetable powder
1 cup sparkling water
Lemon slices for garnish (optional)
- Add green tea bags to boiling water and steep about three minutes. Remove tea bags and discard.
- Once tea has cooled a bit, mix in lemon juice, sweetener and moringa powder.
- Pour lemonade mixture into a pitcher with ice.
- Top with sparkling water.
- Garnish with lemon slices and enjoy!
Golden milk doesn’t just have to be a cold-weather staple. As the temperature heats up, why not trade in your turmeric tea or latte for a frozen treat that packs the same punch? Enter golden milk popsicles.
If you need a refresher on the health benefits of turmeric—golden milk’s star ingredient—it has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The brightly colored spice is also known to fight infection and soothe digestive issues.
You’ll have to be patient while these freeze, but they’re worth the wait! Here’s how to make a batch of golden milk popsicles at home.
Golden Milk Popsicles
Yield: Approximately 4 ice pops (depending on mold size)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- A couple dashes of vanilla extract
- Pinch of ground pepper
- Pinch of salt
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture into ice pop mold and freeze for five hours or until solid. When ready to eat, take ice pop mold out of freezer and briefly run under warm water to loosen pops. Remove and enjoy!
What makes a “superfood” so super, anyway? Well, sometimes it has more to do with the super-powered marketing team behind the product than the food itself. (Seriously, have you ever tried to enjoy powdered seaweed?) So, starting right now, let’s take back the word “superfood” and redefine it as a food that’s super good for you and also tastes super delicious. Here is our list of top 10 superfoods to work into your diet today.
Top 10 Superfoods
Sick of brown rice? Yeah, so are we. That’s why you should try this supergrain, which has a satisfying chewy texture and is a touch nuttier-tasting than brown rice. Even better, at 7 grams per ½ cup (cooked), freekeh contains twice the protein of quinoa. The same amount also has 8 grams of fiber (a medium Red Delicious apple has 5).”Freekeh has three times the fiber of brown rice,” says Valerie Goldstein, a New York-based dietitian. Serve cooked freekeh as a simple side to steak, pork chops or salmon. It’s also great mixed into meatballs and meatloaf.
Maybe your grandfather was on to something. These little fish contain a boatload of omega-3 fatty acids, a good kind of fat that research shows may help your heart. Canned sardines have 500 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s per 3-ounce serving, according to Seafood Health Facts (1). Salmon, by comparison, has 1,500 milligrams of omega-3s. But here’s the catch: Salmon is tricky to cook correctly; canned sardines are already cooked. To make them taste great, try a few stirred into your next batch of pasta with red sauce.
You may have seen this yellow-orange powder in the spice aisle. It comes from a root that looks similar to fresh ginger, though it tastes more like an Indian curry. Curcumin, a compound in turmeric, may help fight inflammation, according to a 2017 review of studies published in the academic journal Foods (2). Never tried the spice? When you fry up your next round of over-easy eggs, put a shake or two of ground turmeric into the butter. Then slide the golden eggs onto toast and enjoy.
Chocolate is great for your heart, your brain and your happiness (everyone already knows that last part). But there’s a catch: It’s dark chocolate that produces the cardiovascular and neuro-protective benefits, according to a 2017 study review by Italian researchers (3). That’s because milk chocolate strips out the beneficial compounds within cocoa beans called flavanols. Cacao nibs are the dried seed of the cocoa bean. Yes, they are bitter like dark chocolate, but they taste excellent on a peanut butter and banana sandwich, stirred into oatmeal or mixed into homemade granola.
These shelled creatures contain a sea’s worth of vitamins and nutrients. There’s zinc, which helps support immune health. There’s iron, which helps your cells do their many jobs. And there’s vitamin B12, which aids your metabolism. “Oysters are pretty much pure protein on a calorie budget. Six medium oysters have around 45 calories and 5 grams of protein,” says Abby Langer, a registered dietitian and owner of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto. If you’re squeamish about raw oysters, consider starting first with canned, smoked oysters. Their flavor is meaty and they taste satisfying atop crackers with a little lemon juice, sea salt and fresh chopped chives.
These teardrop-shaped seeds may look small, but they’re mighty. Eat 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and you’ll consume 6 grams of stomach-filling fiber—about as much as one medium pear. They’re also a good source of lignans, compounds that may help protect against cancer, diabetes and kidney disorders, according to a 2015 review of studies by scientists in the Middle East (4). Plus, “Flaxseeds are a good source of plant-based omega-3s, which can help prevent heart disease, among other benefits,” says Langer. Ground flaxseeds are easier to digest than whole, she says. Sprinkle them over yogurt, into smoothies or even atop a salad for a nutty taste.
We’re not just talking about those white button mushrooms you’ll find in salad bar buffets and atop pizza. We’re talking about the varieties you’ll now see at most good supermarkets: shiitake, oyster, cremini, enoki, chanterelle, porcini and more. Shrooms are the only vegetables that contain vitamin D, a nutrient you usually derive from the sun. But many people lack the vitamin D—and that’s detrimental because D can help defend against cancer, hypertension and diabetes. “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so saute mushrooms in coconut or olive oil to help increase absorption,” Goldstein says.
Don’t want cancer haunting you? Eat more of these. Pumpkin seeds contain gamma-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E that may fight cancer better than other nuts and seeds, according to the USDA (5). “Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, which helps us relax and can also assist with sleep. They’re a source of zinc, and contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats,” Langer says. They’re crunchy and satisfying as a snack, but they also add a pop of nuttiness to soups and stews. And to think that you toss them in the trash every Halloween…
These big, beautiful, two-toned root vegetables contain glucosinolate, a compound also found in broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Consuming high amounts of cruciferous vegetables like these may help reduce your risk of several cancers, including bladder, breast and prostate cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (6). Save the turnip greens too! They’re delicious sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper as a simple side dish.
First off, no, partaking in hemp will not produce, ahem, similar effects to partaking in marijuana. Though they come from the same plant, hemp seeds do not contain the “high” producing THC. These seeds do contain protein (about 9 grams per 3 tablespoons) and magnesium, which helps regulates blood pressure. “Hemp hearts are also rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which may help lower inflammation and promote satiety,” Goldstein says. Try hemp hearts in your baking. They’re good in muffins, banana bread and cookies.
Humans have been using hemp in some form or another for more than 10,000 years. In fact, evidence of hemp seeds and oil used in food, as well as hemp cord remnants, have been found in modern-day China and Taiwan dating as far back as 8,000 B.C.E. (1)!
In the millennia since, hemp has been used for all kinds of practical purposes—such as a base for rope and paper—as well as a source of nutrition. And, according to present-day nutritionists, it remains an excellent source of protein, amino acids and fiber that many people would benefit from adding to their diets.
Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
Before diving into the hemp’s nutrition, it’s first worth differentiating between hemp and marijuana, as people often mistakenly conflate the two. “It’s a question we get all the time,” says Jane Schwartz, a registered dietitian who, along with her business partner, Stephanie Goodman, offers nutrition coaching through Princeton, New Jersey-based The Nourishing Gurus. “But while marijuana and hemp come from the same plant family, they are not the same thing at all.”
Hemp and marijuana plants are both part of the cannabis family, but hemp contains a very low amount—less than 0.3 percent—of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis (2). Hemp seeds, from which hemp food products are derived, have absolutely no psychoactive affect on the people who eat them.
Nutritional Benefits of Hemp
What hemp does contain, however, is a boatload of nutrition. “Hemp is rich in healthy fats,” Schwartz says. “It provides essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can be hard to get if you’re not eating fish. These nutrients are good for brain function and cell health, so it’s important that clients work them into their diets.”
She adds that the omega-6 fatty acids are coming from a compound called GLA, or gamma linoleic acid, which can have an anti-inflammatory effect. “Hemp seeds also contain arginine, a specific amino acid linked with reducing the risk of heart disease,” Schwartz says.
Goodman, a certified nutrition consultant, says that another positive attribute of hemp is that it’s chock full of protein. “There are 10 grams of protein in just three tablespoons of hemp seeds,” she explains. “It also contains a lot of leucine, which is really good for muscle protein synthesis. This is particularly beneficial for people who exercise a lot.”
Goodman and Schwartz further explain that hemp also contains a lot of minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese and magnesium, all of which are important in a healthy, balanced diet. “That hemp contains magnesium in particular is fantastic because so few people actually get enough magnesium in their diets,” Goodman says. “Magnesium is good for heart health and bone health, and it’s good for sleep and digestion.”
Adding Hemp to Your Diet
Hemp can be purchased in several forms, but the most popular are seeds and powder. Schwartz notes that while both forms have dietary benefits, there is one marked difference: seeds tend to contain a lot less fiber than powder. This is because seeds are typically sold without their hulls, which is the part that contains fiber. Hemp powder, on the other hand, is composed of whole ground hemp seeds, hulls included. “So if our clients are looking to add more fiber to their diets, we usually recommend sticking to hemp powder,” Schwartz says.
There are other types of hemp food products, including oil and milk. Though, Schwartz is careful to mention that hemp oil is not temperature stable. “You never want to heat it. But it’s great as a replacement for olive oil in salad dressings,” she says.
Due to its many, many nutritional benefits, Schwartz and Goodman recommend hemp to almost all of their clients, and especially those who are vegetarian or vegan and may struggle to eat enough protein. “It’s really easy to add to most dishes,” Goodman notes. “It has a very mild flavor and tends to work well mixed into most foods. We recommend putting the powder in smoothies and sprinkling whole seeds over rice or oatmeal, but really, hemp works anywhere you might include nuts or seeds.”
When you feel your sweet tooth start to tingle, you most likely want to satisfy it with something sweet. Unfortunately, the sugary confections and candies you turn to are not always going to be the healthiest. Though this might be disheartening, there is still reason for hope. Chocolate has long been considered a food with health potential, though it tends to go through so many processes it loses most of its health benefits along the way.
To get the most from your sweet snack, opt instead for cacao nibs. Essentially, these little bits of delight are the immediate product of plucking cocoa beans from their original spot, roasting them, and breaking them into tiny bites. If you are hoping to get a boost of nutrition the next time you want to satisfy a craving for something sweet, cacao nibs could be your best bet.
No matter what you eat, you should always take a moment to consider the nutritional value of the food in front of you. A banana, for example, can make for a perfect snack when you’re hungry because it is light and packed with important nutrients like potassium. Still, there are plenty of people who do not enjoy the taste of banana. Should you want to increase your potassium level without the help of this yellow fruit, cacao nibs might be a good substitute.
Cacao nibs are said to contain a powerful punch of potassium, which can be useful when it comes to improving the condition of your cardiovascular system. Potassium tends to lower blood pressure and strengthen the overall integrity of the heart. If you’re not getting enough potassium and definitely don’t want a banana, grab a handful of some of these tasty little nibs.
Lots of Heart
Potassium might help your heart but there are tons of other nutrients and vitamins found in cacao nibs that help to improve cardiovascular performance. Cacao nibs are said to be an excellent source of flavonoids, which is useful for your heart. Flavonoids are compounds found in many plant-based foods. These compounds operate as antioxidants, specifically helping with lowering inflammation around the arteries. Flavonoids also help to thin blood and improve the way it circulates around the body.
Cacao nibs also contain a number of other useful antioxidants that serve a variety of useful purposes for the heart and related systems. In certain studies, those who ingested cacao nibs for a specific period of time were reported to have lower levels of LDL, which is considered a harmful form of cholesterol responsible for many cardiovascular diseases. If the health of your heart is a top priority for you, see what cacao nibs might be able to do.
Ever feel fatigued throughout the day even though you got plenty of sleep the night before? This happens to plenty of people and it often can be linked back to a lack of specific nutrients in your system. Magnesium is a vital nutrient people require to stay active and functional on a daily basis but it is also a nutrient most people have a deficiency with. When fatigue is part of your daily ritual, you might want to change your diet around a bit and add cacao nibs into the mix.
Cacao nibs are packed with magnesium, making them an easy and tasty source of this vital chemical. The more magnesium you get each day, the more likely it is you are going to feel energized, alert, and ready for whatever your day is going to bring to you. Magnesium has also been shown to improve overall brain function, so it can never hurt to snack a bit more on cacao for the sake of your mind.
Chocolate is a popular snack for many people because it contains ingredients that helps the brain and body to feel good. Specifically, chocolate helps to release serotonin, the chemical responsible for generating feelings of joy. While cacao might be chocolate in a more raw and unrefined form, it still contains more than its fair share of elements that can improve your mood.
Anandamide, for example, can be found in cacao nibs and this fatty acid neurotransmitter is quite impressive. Known far and wide as the molecule of “joy” and “bliss,” eating foods containing anandamide has been said to act as a mood enhancer and even assist a person in combating the negative impacts of conditions like anxiety and depression. You probably already felt chocolate improved your mood on a rough day but you might not have realized how scientific that assumption was.
Fresh and Young
Finally, it is important to focus on the antioxidants found in cacao nibs one last time, specifically the polyphenols. These compounds are important for improving the integrity of your cardiovascular system but they do a lot more. Cacao nibs have the same polyphenols as green tea, which aids the skin in appearing fresh and healthy. Snack on some nibs and fight off the aging process in a sweet and simplistic way.
While you might not need any more excuses to snack on chocolate, the many health benefits associated with cacao nibs can sweeten the deal just a bit. Add these tasty little bits to your daily snacking routine and feel the difference yourself.
Ways to Use Cacao Nibs
Cacao nibs have a few benefits over chocolate chips. First, they stay crunchy instead of melting. This means they can add a satisfying texture to both savory and sweet recipes.
Another fabulous factor is they are sugar free without the biting bitterness of unsweetened chocolate. They’re a bit more like a nut or seed, with a chocolatey flavor that you can sprinkle into a salad, a side dish, create a great seasoning for a main dish, or add to a dessert. They don’t over dominate what you use them in, the way chocolate chips often can.
You might want to snack on them right out of the bag, but go ahead and sprinkle freely, on your steak, in a corn salad, on yogurt, hot cereal, or try them in a beverage like we did here. They are also fun to use along with the melting kind of chocolate for a smooth and crunchy effect in baked goods. When adding to a sauce, start by using a half teaspoon and gradually add more to your own taste. There is no limit to where cacao nibs can go.
Cacao Nibs Recipes
Pineapple Cacao Mint Cooler
Total time: 5 minutes
Move over lemonade, pineapple is just as refreshing and naturally sweet. And when combined with cooling mint and mind-elevating cacao nibs, you have a tropical summertime beverage that can make you feel fabulous—no sugar added. Don’t forget that pineapple has its own digestion superpower called bromelain that can help with keeping your tummy flat too. You may want to double or triple this recipe, keeping the leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon cacao nibs
Blend all ingredients. Drink immediately or allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight for a richer flavor. (Strain if desired.)
Glazed Cacao Nib Carrots
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 7-10 minutes
This sweet and savory side can easily be transformed into a main dish by adding pork, chicken or other heavy protein and using enough water to allow for a longer cooking time. The ingredients blend together, creating a flavorful sauce that gets reduced into a coating.
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
6 medium carrots, scrubbed and sliced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2-4 tablespoons water (If you want your carrots very soft, use more water and simmer until it’s all evaporated.)
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or sweetener of choice. Note: Brown rice syrup is very mild. When using other sweeteners, you may want less.)
Pinch sea salt
- Place the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.
- Mix the carrots and nibs in the olive oil and simmer for a minute.
- Stir in the sea salt and mint.
- Add in the brown rice syrup and coat the carrots and nibs.
- Add the water and stir.
- Allow the dish to simmer until the liquid is reduced completely, stirring to coat evenly.
Ways to use cacao nibs and recipes by Susan Marque.
Recently, there seems to have been a huge spike in the popularity of coconut oil. Though this oil has been used for a variety of purposes for a considerable amount of time, it is important for consumers to understand a few basic points in order to make informed purchases. By learning a few basic facts, you are more likely to understand which oils are more likely to offer you the most health benefits.
Coconut oil is said to be beneficial because it is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides. Known commonly as MCTs, these chemical compounds can provide a number of benefits to the body including safe weight-loss and increased energy. Unfortunately, pure coconut oil also contains long-chain triglycerides. These compounds can have a negative impact on your body, slowing down digestion and making it easier for the body to store fat cells. The presence of long-chain triglycerides in coconut oil has led to the development of MCT oil.
MCT oil is a synthetic oil created out of pure coconut oil. Palm oil is often involved in the process, as it allows the finished product to contain higher levels of MCT. By taking the long-chain triglycerides out of the equation, the MCT oil is able to highlight the best benefits coconut oil can bring without the same drawbacks.
Since MCT oil was first developed, a number of studies have shown some interesting benefits. While the oil had already been known to help improve digestion, further research has suggested it can help to lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Another study points to MCT as a way to help with patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. While the oil is not a way to prevent dementia, the studies suggest it can prove helpful in easing the symptoms in individuals already suffering from it.
What is very important to keep in mind is that coconut oil does not produce the same results. When the long-chain triglycerides are present in the oil, it prevents a great deal of the health benefits from emerging. This means anyone looking to try involving coconut oil in their daily routines might want to weigh out whether or not MCT oil might be a more practical fit.
A Variety of Uses
MCT oil is not used in all of the same ways as coconut oil, though there is a bit of overlap. Many people love to bake or cook with coconut oil but this is not possible with MCT oil, due to its composition. Instead, MCT oil is perfect as a nutritional boost in a smoothie or protein drink. By using the oil to enhance your current diet, you are likely to see a number of the metabolic effects in no time.
When it comes to cooking, you may still want to consider coconut oil. Though MCT might offer a few more advantages in some departments, coconut oil seems to have far more health benefits than other cooking options like olive oil. Coconut oil can even be swapped out for butter if you are considering vegan recipes. While coconut oil offers some benefits, remember to use it sparingly as the fat content is still quite high.
Both coconut oil and MCT oil offer advantages depending on the situation. When you are simply looking to add some extra nutrients to your daily intake that can help to improve your energy, digestion, and cardiovascular health, MCT oil is the way to go. For cooking and baking, coconut oil is still a safe bet.
Article written by Joe Palinsky
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.
Starting a plant-based diet? Get ready for the inevitable question: where are you going to get your protein?
Don’t worry. With so many great sources available, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a few foods that can fit into your new diet. Let’s look at 7 protein sources for a plant-based diet.
This algae superfood is incredibly rich in protein and is a perfect ingredient for smoothies. With 40 grams of protein per serving, spirulina also contains the highest amount of glutamine found in a plant food.
2. Chia Seeds
No longer a strange superfood, chia seeds have become a stable of health food. Rich in protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber, you can sprinkle chia seeds on oatmeal, cereals, porridges or make a delicious chia seed pudding with almond milk.
3. Black Beans
An awesome source of protein, black beans contain 15 grams per serving and can be easily added to your diet. Used in salads and veggie burritos, black beans also contain lysine and leucine, two amino acids rarely found in plant-based foods.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Perfect for baking, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of protein as a single cup contains up to 12 grams. Considered a complete protein, these seeds are also high in healthy fats and minerals such as zinc and magnesium.
Lentils are a great source of protein as well as fiber and carbohydrates. With 20 grams of protein per cup, lentils contain a ton of amino acids and can be easily added to your diet in salads, tacos, or mixed with rice or quinoa for a delicious meal.
6. Hemp Seeds
Hemp Seeds have 9 grams of protein per serving as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A complete amino acid, hemp seeds have a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor that can be added to increase protein content to many recipes of smoothies, baked goods and desserts.
A gluten-free grain, quinoa is also a great source of protein with around 15 grams per cup of cooked quinoa. Considered a starchy protein, quinoa also contains carbohydrates and fiber and is widely used in hot or cold cereals, salads, or in meals instead of rice.
have been one of the top-selling superfood products for many years as this natural algae is incredibly nutritious and can provide a ton of health benefits. If you are still uncertain about it, let’s give you 8 reasons to give spirulina a try
Spirulina contains great amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. This algae is high in high-quality protein, often compared to eggs, and it’s also a great source of vitamin B1, calcium, and iron.
Spirulina can help remove heavy metals including arsenic. Spirulina is extremely high in chlorophyll, which can help remove toxins from the blood and boost the immune system.
Spirulina has been considered by many specialists as a top natural energy enhancer. Spirulina can help unlock sugar from our cells and improve metabolic energy, giving our bodies a tremendous boost.
One of the best natural products to help reduce elevated cholesterol levels, spirulina supplements contain 65% protein and amino acids including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Difficult to be found in food sources. GLA normally has to be created by the body but spirulina is one of the few foods with high content of GLA.
5. Blood Pressure
Phycocyanin is a pigment found in the spirulina that scientists have discovered possesses antihypertensive effects, in other words, it lowers blood pressure. Consuming the blue-green algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome.
6. Blood Sugar
Spirulina may be especially helpful in balancing blood sugar, and may even be as effective as diabetes medication in some instances. It can also lower HbA1c, which is a long term marker of blood sugar levels.
7. Weight Loss
Spirulina can promote weight loss and low-fat stores through a variety of mechanisms. Spirulina has the ability to improve fat burning but it can also curb hunger and overweight people seem to benefit the most. To maximize this benefit, try eating your high protein spirulina in the morning or during midday instead of at night.
8. Allergies and Sinus
Spirulina may help reduce allergies as well as alleviate sinus issues. Research suggests spirulina can reduce inflammation that leads to nasal congestion and other issues such as itching and sneezing.