Top ‘feel good’ foods

Articles, Food | 20th May 2016 | By

Foods that nourish and reinvigorate the body, and get you feeling and looking your best have made my final list. These are some of my suggestions to include and alternate in your diet where possible, as from my experience they are energizing, and make you shine that little bit more inside and out. Eating a varied, predominantly plant-based diet, with fresh seasonal produce, is your best guarantee of feeling good. Yet some foods really do help supercharge the system. Especially during times of stress, be it emotional or work related (or both!) While I appreciate everything on the list wont suit everyone’s individual taste preferences, keeping an open mind to new ingredients and textures is a good attitude on your road to better health. As you’d encourage kids to try new foods, you should follow your own advice! Here are some ideas to wet your appetite…

1. Dark Chocolate
Aromatic, sensual, delicious; chocolate has long been enjoyed for its health benefits. Revered as symbols of life and fertility in Mayan society, the cocoa pod was represented as ‘the god’ of food, worshiped as nourishing, fortifying, and even for it s aphrodisiac qualities. Rich in flavonoid antioxidants, its been linked to reducing inflammation (aka ageing), cholesterol, and regulating blood flow. Make sure you choose quality at 70% cacao minimum. A small square after dinner should do the trick, or with a handful of almonds as a tasty afternoon snack. Check out my raw chocolate biscuits for a delicious treat!

2. Seaweed
If you are suffering with stress or anxiety, seaweed is your new best friend! High in B vitamins (depleted during these times) and a rich iodine source, sea vegetables have been linked to supporting thyroid function, reducing inflammation and fighting cancer. Therapeutic levels of folic acid and magnesium protect the heart and cardiovascular system, while magnesium can be excellent for menopausal symptoms. Easy to prepare, just soak 10 minutes from dried. They make a delicious oriental style salad, or snack, check out my recipes!

3. Alfalfa sprouts
When compared to a list of antioxidant rich vegetables, sprouts rank as leaders among the pack. They are the most significant dietary source of phytoestrogens, which are suggested to play an important role in the prevention of menopausal symptoms, heart disease, and breast cancer. They are also important for regulating our own sexual hormones, helping to keep us in balance. You can pick them up from most health food stores, or supermarkets too. Or sprout your own if you’re feeling adventurous! Check out my delicious sprouted bean salad for more ideas!

4. Oysters
It’s no coincidence Aphrodite, the Grecian goddess, whose name we derive the word ‘aphrodisiac’ rose from the sea on an oyster shell before giving birth to Eros! Oysters provide the highest concentration of zinc of any food, a key nutrient in men’s sexual health. They are also a fantastic source of protein, trace minerals (copper, iron, selenium) and vitamin B12. If you are suffering from the after effects of a heavy evening, a couple of oysters are an incredible pick-me-up! Don’t just take my word for it, try them out for yourself!

5. Lemon juice
As one the most potent and concentrated source of Vitamin C, I squeeze this stuff everywhere when I’m cooking. On salads, to lift a sauce, over cooked vegetables with a little olive oil. The grated zest is great for adding flavour to marinades, baking, and deserts. So why is Vitamin C so hyped? Its primary function is in the manufacture of collagen, the protein that literally holds us together, healing wounds, bruises and yes keeping wrinkles at bay. Increased vitamin C intake has been shown to boost immunity, protect against pollution and cigarette smoke, and prolong life expectancy. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning during times of stress you pee-out more (to put it frankly). So you should be definitely increasing the uptake during these times. Worth a cheeky squeeze, no?

6. Herbs and Spices!
Herbs and spices, fresh preferably, are a fantastic way of adding flavour, variety, uplifting the senses and spicing to your life, literally! I am a huge fan of parsley; it’s another ingredient I insist on adding everything. Whether its eggs in the morning, salads, soups, stews, it seems to lift and add a savoury edge to all my dishes, lending a lighter hand to salt also. (Its no secret our diets are too sodium heavy!) I buy a chunky bunch at the local market and sit it at my windowsill in a large jug of water, tearing off as I please all week. Its high in chlorophyll, and an excellent source of vitamin C, you cant go far wrong with it. Chop-chop!

7. Avocados
The Aztecs didn’t call it ‘the testicle tree’ for no good reason. Long considered by the church as the fruit of sin, some studies have linked avocados to accelerated testosterone production in men. They are high in monosaturides (unsaturated fatty acids) an excellent source of potassium (2-3 bananas worth), B Vitamins and fibre. Potassium is essential for balancing our sodium (salt) rich diets. They are also a filling and tasty breakfast option, check out my recipes for further ideas!

8. Chia Seeds
Once you are a chia convert you’ll never go back. I recently convinced my sister to try these (the most stubborn of converts) she now cant get enough of her chia morning porridge! So what to do with the stuff and why eat them? Chia seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with little calories (great for reducing food cravings are loaded with antioxidants, are high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, improve sports endurance and are a high quality source of protein and fibre. Its no wonder ‘chia’ has been enjoyed since and translates from the Mayan word, meaning ‘strength’. Check out my gorgeous and sweet Chia Porridge recipe for more ideas!

9. Liver
When I was studying for my Nutritional Accreditation, I couldn’t believe how many vitamins and minerals came up in liver. It’s literally a powerhouse! You may be surprised this has made my food porn list, as it’s not always the sexiest ingredient people think of, but the health benefits are well worth it. It’s natures most concentrated source of Vitamin A, contains all the B Vitamins in abundance (the water soluble one’s we need more in times of stress especially), its one of the best sources of folate and a highly usable form of iron. While the average man consumes enough iron, an average 25% of women have a low intake. Iron deficiency (or Anemia in extreme cases) can lead to hair loss, Casper the Ghost complexions, weakness and a general fatigue all the time. Liver has a fantastic anti-fatigue factor and is seriously worth a try! I personally find it delicious. With a fine Chianti and Father Beans… Only kidding.

10. ‘Kefir’ (or Probiotic yoghurt)
Interest in the health benefits of cultured (fermented) dairy foods dates back to the early 1900’s. The therapeutic role of probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillius and Bifidobacterium in such probiotic foods, has been linked to various health benefits, with improved intestinal health at the top of my list. Its no wonder the Greeks called our stomach ‘the second head’, when your gut is working well, and your extracting the most nutrients from your diet, you feel, well great! Kefir is a cultured milk product (you can also make a delicious dairy-free alternative from coconut milk) You can even make your own from culturing the spores, which keep pretty much indefinitely with the right care. Kefir bacteria can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yoghurt doesn’t seem to accomplish. It also contains beneficial yeasts, which help control and eliminate destructive yeasts in the body. Check out my delicious Kefir Royal recipe, which incorporates the soothing essences of Lavender essential oils!

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Douglas MacDonald
    24th May 2016

    Hello Francoise,
    Congratulations on an impressive looking website! Good luck with the responses.
    Underneath this comment box, it says; ‘You can use these HTML tags:’ – I’m not sure what they are there for but clicking on them reveals nothing.
    Love,
    Douglas

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