With a new superfood launching every week it seems, it is easy to get confused with which nutritional powder to use when. While smoothies offer the perfect chance to try the latest and the greatest in superfoods it is easy to get carried away and throw everything in the blender without much thought. But a little mindful mixing might create better results, after all when Hippocrates said ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ he didn't mean take all your medicine at once! This month we are trying to simplify our blends to focus on the nutrition we feel we need - increased energy, mindful focus or clear skin. Try simplifying your smoothie ingredient list by mixing one of two ingredients per smoothie depending on the result you need.
Ideal to use in your breakfast smoothie, try ditching your morning coffee and add two or three of the below to your favourite smoothie base to kick start your day.
- Maca: Originally consumed by Inca warriors to increase stamina and energy for battle, Maca is rich in an abundance of energy enhancing micro-nutrients such as B1, B2, B12, C and E. This subtly sweet addition to your smoothie is an adaptogen meaning it has the ability to rebalance and regulate the body depending on where our individual imbalances lie.
- Activated Almond Butter: High in energy inducing plant-based protein, almonds are a great addition to any active #greenbeauty's daily diet. However, if you are consuming nuts on a regular basis it is an good idea to ensure that they are soaked before consumption. This is due to the high amounts of naturally occurring enzyme inhibitors which block our bodies absorption of both the macro and micro-nutrients that nuts contain, Translated, that means less available protein and energy! We make sure to always soak our nuts overnight before making our smoothies or when we’re short of time we use activated almond butter to ensure we get the most out of this energy enhancing food.
- Cordyceps: Utilised for centuries in Chinese medicine, the Cordyceps Sinensis is often referred to as a type of ‘energy vitamin’. This Chinese medicinal mushroom was discovered centuries ago by Yak herders of the Tibetan mountains who noticed the increased energy of their herds after grazing on wild Cordyceps. Research has since concluded that Cordycep consumption increases ATP energy production and oxygen utilization, making it a great addition to any exercisers natural fitness boosting regime.
- Bee Pollen: Considered an energy and nutritive tonic in Chinese medicine, bee pollen has been used by cultures world over in a surprising number of applications. Rich in proteins, carbohydrates, free amino acids, and vitamins including B-complex and folic acid, this naturally energising blend of macro and micro-nutrients is great for enhancing stamina and fighting off fatigue.
A smoothie makes the perfect mid-afternoon snack in place of candy or crisps. Smarten your smoothies by adding a few of the superfoods below to help focus the mind for the last few hours of your working day.
- Four Sigma Foods Mind Herbs: Featuring a combination of all-natural adaptogenic herbs, this calm inducing, balance restoring and stress relieving blend provides a great source of brain food for mental clarity and support when performing mental tasks. It has even been said that it may work to unleash hidden cognitive abilities!
- Cacao: Known to stimulate the secretion of endorphins and improve blood flow to the brain – raw cacao contains high levels of magnesium (arguably the richest dietary source of magnesium on earth!) and has been shown to optimise our use of oxygen, boost brain function and calm the nervous system to promote a state of enhanced concentration and focus.
- Coconut Oil: Unlike other fats that are broken down in the intestines and transported into the blood, coconut oil is high in medium chain triglycerides (MCT) aka ‘healthy’ fats, that are absorbed into the body intact and transmitted immediately to the liver. This fast-working process offers a direct source of sustained energy to conquer the task ahead of you from start to finish without the crash that artificial energy-inducing stimulants imbue.
- Oats: Made up of slow releasing complex carbohydrates and healthy levels of glucose (the brains basic fuel source), oats are great for sustaining energy levels, allowing for concentration to be maintained when performing tasks that require periods of focus. Go for a gluten-free variation and steer clear of overly processed instant and quick-cooking varieties.
FOR HEALTHY SKIN
Good skincare is a combination of the food you eat and the products you use. Start with some mindful mixing of the ingredients below and you'll have a headstart on your #skinfood for the day.
- Chia Seeds: Containing large amounts of Omega-3 vital for optimum skin health, Chia Seeds are one of the richest vegetable sources of these essential skin-loving fatty acids. Moisturising the skin from the inside out, Chia Seeds are highly anti-inflammatory and a great source of B vitamins and antioxidants to help combat the onset of premature ageing.
- Avocado: Also rich in essential fatty acids, avocados are a firm favourite in the #contentkitchen and a star ingredient of many of our go-to recipes. Featuring an array of antioxidant carotenoids which sweep up free radicals and protect skin from environmental damage, avocados are additionally rich in vitamins C and E making them a great natural moisturiser and skin healer.
- Acai: Featuring anthocyanins, the powerful antioxidants responsible for the deep blue colour of some of our favourite fruits, Acai been shown to reverse damage from free radicals whilst protecting the skin from future exposure. Significantly high in vitamin C, it has been shown to assist in collagen and elastin production and has a strong anti-inflammatory action.
- Pure Synergy: Made up of 60 organic wholefood and botanical concentrates including sprouts, grasses, vegetables, fruits, flowers, mushrooms, sea plants and herbs, this green superfood powder feeds your skin and sweeps your body of stubborn toxins accumulated over time that may very well lie at the root of your skin concerns.
Aquous Lepidium meyenii Walp (maca) extract and its role as an adaptogen, in an endurance animal model. Suárez, S.; Oré, R.; Arnao, I.; Rojas, L.; Trabucco, J. Anales de la Facultad de Medecina 2009 Vol. 70 No. 3 pp. 181-185
Jeukendrup AE, Saris WHM, Schrauwen P, et al. Oxidation of orally ingested medium chain triglyceride (MCT) during prolonged exercise [abstract]. Med Sci Sports Exerc . 1995;27(suppl 5):S101.
Lab-Grown Cordyceps Sinensis Hybrid: A Nano-processed Medicinal Mushroom that Really Delivers By Richard Alan Miller, 2005, http://pharmaceuticalmushrooms.nwbotanicals.org/cordycepssinensisheaa.pdf
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Volume 14, Number 5, 2008, pp. 403-412. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2008.0004. Authors: Harunobu Amagase, PhD Dwight Nance, phD