Healthy Foods on Supermarket Shelves
It’s easy to feel confused by the labeling on foods these days. And especially with products in organic grocery stores. They bring up more questions than they answer. Are they really worth the money? Are they actually a wonder ingredient? Will this overhyped product solve all my problems, make me super healthy and save me from Friday night’s alcohol binge? With this in mind, let’s step away from the bright lights and clever packaging, and look at some of the basic foods found in regular supermarkets, and how they can supercharge our health. Here’s some you’ll find in my basket:
1 - Cauliflower
A member of the brassica family, cauliflower is rich in sulfur containing nutrients and glucosinates, to reduce inflammation and support liver detox pathways. The liver is our main detox organ and while it is always actively removing toxicity from our body, the support of vegetables such as cauliflower means it can be more efficient in doing so. I’ll ‘rice’ my cauli to add to curries or stir fry with vegetables and eggs at breakfast, but the hot favourite is roasted with some sea salt and paprika for a delicious side to meals.
2 - Olive oil
When coconut oil took main stage not long ago it felt like the golden oil of olives was pushed aside, but that shouldn’t be the case. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants to support brain, skin and heart health and contains essential mono-unsaturated fats to reduce inflammation in the body. We love extra virgin olive oil over salads and steamed vegetables of course, and I’ve even been using good quality olive oil to rub into my skin as a nourishing moisturizer, as the air is drier with the seasonal change.
3 - Apple cider vinegar
Mother Nature’s super tonic. Apple cider vinegar (with ‘The Mother,’ a naturally occurring probiotic if you get the organic good stuff) is great for boosting digestive and immune system health. It does so by giving our digestive system a bit of a kick into action and improving the break down of foods to be readily absorbed into our bodies to help us thrive. The gut is the seat of the immune system so they work hand in hand to support each other, good digestion leads to strong immunity. If digestion feels a problem for you (bloating, cramping, irregular bowels) some apple cider vinegar in warm water to start your day (sipped through a straw to reduce acid on teeth) can work wonders. Use it otherwise as part of dressings for vegetables and marinades for meat, chicken and fish.
4 - Herbs
Wonderful, delicious and nutritious herbs speak mountains for turning basic food into a masterpiece. They’re rich in phytochemicals (compounds to protect cellular damage), and can be the easiest solution to take standard condiments to flavour foods away (far far away) from your diet. Bottled condiments and sauces, while easy, are charged with sugars, additives and preservatives that unfortunately do zip to enhance your nutrition. Herbs on the other hand … well, they are your ultimate team members in the kitchen. I’ll pop fresh herbs such as coriander, parsley, mint, basil and dill into smoothies, use them to spice up any and almost every dish, and with any leftovers at the end of the week throw them into a blender with olive oil, garlic and almonds to make a pesto.
5 - Almonds
Snack time anyone? If muesli bars or raw treats have perhaps taken over your life a little too much of late then maybe scratch back to basics and just go with a handful of these little nutrition bombs. Almonds are so great to have on hand for a snack. They’re a wonderful source of fibre, essential fats and amino acids to up the protein component in our lives too. A small handful once per day is what we nutritionally recommend (around 10-16 nuts depending on the size of the individual) but if you’re not a snack person and go three main meals instead then don’t be shy of crushing and tossing over meals for a yummy crunch factor…works a treat with baked cauliflower and herbs… see how it all comes together?
6 - Yoghurt
Plain or coyo, whatever your mojo, yoghurt is still one of the most wonderfully simple foods for good health. Plain, natural dairy yoghurt goes through a fermentation process and in doing so, generates all these heavenly micro bacteria to support the health of our digestive system. You may know these as acidophilus, bifidus and lactobacillus. Coconut yoghurt (for our non-dairy preferred people) can similarly be fermented with a kefir strain or if eaten neat (aim for plain coconut yoghurt, not those blended) will help satiate hunger throughout the day. You only need a little of each to get your hit.
7 - Spinach
It was a tough call on this one as all leafy greens have a place in my fridge, but spinach is still one of my favourites. It’s been an established nutrition player throughout the ages and truly gives so much to our bodies through fibre, iron, folate and magnesium, just to start. While silverbeet (the big guns in the spinach family), are delicious shredded into meals, we’re loving using them as a wrap for lunch alternates or around a burger with the lot for a mid week meal. Baby spinach doesn’t hold back on the goods either and is a great bonus to pop into blended smoothie bowls, raw treats, and to have on hand to toss with leftovers to freshen up your meals with some crunch and nutrition punch the following day.