We always hear the word powerfoods, its scattered amongst blogs, health magazines and the media so much so that we are forgetting many of the true powerfoods. To me they are simple things that are easy to find and put to use in our everyday life. They are also foods which hold a powerful effect on our bodies are enjoyable at the same time, I’m going to give a quick run down on what powerfoods I love to use.
1 - Coffee
This may seems like a simple one but great coffee truly is a super food. I have written about coffee before as its really great stuff, but only when utilized correctly…There is a huge difference between fresh coffee and the stuff we can commercially buy or even the stuff most coffee shops have….A freshly brewed espresso or drip coffee can have a tonic like effect on your body with various benefits:
Coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of thyroid disease, including cancer, thannon-drinkers.
Coffee provides very significant quantities of magnesium, as well as other nutrients including vitamin B1.
This goes especially for those of us eating paleo, Flax meal is a cheap and effective item to add to your pantry; These tiny brown little seeds have been around for at least 1 million year its an age old remedy to keep good gastrointestinal health; Hippocrates used it as a health tonic back in the ancient greek times so it really is something that has stood the test of time! On top of this Flax is a key source of ALA which our bodies converts into the ever important Omega-3 fatty acids. Charles Poliquin has also written before about the efficiency of Ground Flax at flushing estrogenic substances out of the body, this is in part thanks to its bulk forming fiber which it contains in abundance.
I would suggest buying a bag of cold milled flax and storing it in the fridge once opened; use it to sprinkle on anything from salad or add to yoghurt….It will add bulk to your food and make you feel fuller longer, it also kills cravings for starchy foods like bread and cereal.
A good source of omega-3 fatty acids is flax seed. It is better to get the milled seeds than the oil. Either way make sure to refrigerate upon opening. Flax seed can help lower the amount of estrogen-16 in women’s bodies. Estrogen-16 causes fat storage in the hips and thighs among other things. People whose body fat is stored in the belly have too high levels of stress hormone. One cause of high levels of stress hormone is too much steady state cardio. - Poliquin
I have recently grown to really love this stuff; I have found its uses in both savory and sweet dishes….Its great added to things like meat balls as it gives a whole new dimension to the meat’s flavor and makes it an especially warming meal for the winter months. I would recommend adding a TBSP to things like Chili Con Carne or Sauteed Spinach.
Cinnamon holds various benefits these have recently been documented on T-Nation who recommend cinnamon as a potent substance to improve insulin sensitivity;
Numerous studies have shown it to improve the metabolic action of insulin resistance by increasing glucose uptake by the cells and enhancing the insulin-signaling pathway in muscle.
Why is this important? Well, for one insulin is something that you have control over with your diet and eating patterns. Doing things like IF and resistance training will improve insulin sensitivity which can lead to more food being partitioned to muscle when you eat, Having good insulin sensitivity also provides a good hormonal for your body potentially boosting testosterone….
Improved insulin sensitivity is one of the reasons why kamikaze pro bodybuilders sometimes inject insulin. - T-nation
So cinnamon is something you should try and use daily add some to your coffee or any shakes you make. Its also surprisingly good when added to dishes that require a mixed seasoning. Or you could try some Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce with your chicken!!
4- Frozen Spinach
I have recently grown to love this stuff for a few reasons;
- Its Cheap
- Easy to Make
- Full of Calcium (who needs milk?)
- Rich in Phytonutrients
We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but you may be surprised to learn that he may also have been protecting himself against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and other diseases at the same time.
On top of this it makes a great substitute to rice in dishes like curries which reuqire a bed of something to eat with. The reason I recommend frozen spinach is that it allows you to use a huge amount and as fresh spinach wilts into tiny sizes when cooked you really need large amounts. I usually use about 5-6 frozen balls of spinach with a meal. A favorite recipe of mine is with pine nuts; First de-frost the spinach and cook it until its warm, put it into a sieve and let it drain for 3-5 minutes, during this time pan fry some pine nuts until they are brown and crispy, add back in the spinach add some olive oil and cinnamon and give it all a good stir about……
This is a great side for things like steak or meatballs but it also works very well with a nice thick coconut curry. Always keep a bag handy in your freezer!
5- Red Wine
Wine is a beautiful thing, its something that makes a meal complete and is an ideal tonic to have with your evening meal to unwind and further enhance the flavor of your food. Wine holds various health benefits mainly coming from the high levels of resveratol it contains. This compound has shown to be one of the most potent anti-oxidants known to man and its no coincidence the people who live the longest in the world normally have a glass or two of wine everyday, french paradox anyone? Wine has been shown to have a more potent health protective effect than that of any other alcoholic substance keeping your heart healthy and even helping you digest your food. Its also a extremely effective anti-estrogenic so it should be in everyone’s arsenal for healthy feel good eating and drinking!
The quality of the wine you drink is important and while you don’t need to be spending big money on each bottle of wine you buy it pays off to invest in a wine which has been made with a bit of TLC. This site called Good Cheap Wine has a great list of affordable tasty wines so its well worth a scan before you head out for a bottle of merlot!
I like to drink my wine with dinner especially when eating red meat. Theory to Practice has a great example of what I mean: