1. Chia Seed – Cha cha cha chia is right ladies and gentlemen except these bad boys do more than just compliment a clay pretend pet, they’re actually tiny edible seeds that served as stable food by the Indians of the southwest and Mexico. Chia seeds are extracted from the desert plant Salvia hispanica and by looking at the benefits of these seeds, I’d say thank God for that discovery. This seed contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium. About 2 teaspoons of chia seeds contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals. As far as the uses for chia seeds, for one you can replace flax seeds with these because they digest easier and don’t need to be grounded up. Also, if you’re not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, go ahead and add chia seeds to the mix. They’re the richest plant source of Omega-3, containing even more than Salmon. So next time you think of chia, think seeds not pets!
2.Coconut Oil – Coconut oil may be a little weird but it’s more useful than a gun at a knife fight. Pure virgin coconut oil contains no hydrogenation (the process of adding hydrogen to make a liquid fat hard) and contains 92% saturated fat, the highest amount of saturated fat of any fat. The saturated fat in coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which are fatty acids of a medium length. These MCTs go straight to the liver from the digestive tract where they’re used as a quick energy source. Research shows that the medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil increase energy expenditure which can potentially lead to significant weight loss over time. Reducing appetite is another benefit of coconut oil compensation thanks to the process of how the fatty acids in it are metabolized. Other than in health and fitness, coconut oil has numerous uses such as improving skin moisture and protecting your hair from damaging sun rays. What’d I tell ya folks? A gun in a knife fight. Onnit makes a heck of a coconut oil.
3. Quinoa – You wanna talk quinoa? Well let’s talk about some damn quinoa then! Quinoa dates back 3 to 4 thousand years ago when Incas first realized that the seed was fit for human consumption; the Incas grew to believe quinoa increased the stamina of their warriors during battle. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat, containing all nine essential amino acids which make it a complete protein. Outside of macronutrients, quinoa contains more micronutrients than any other grain, amassing a quite magnificent list of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This super grain is known for helping maintain efficient heart and blood vessel function by being an excellent source of magnesium, a vital mineral required for optimal metabolism, cardiovascular and blood vessel function. If you and migraines become good friends all too often, eat some quinoa, its abundant in riboflavin (B2 vitamin) which promotes blood vessel expansion in the brain and reduces the chances of migraine headaches. Constipation is no match for quinoa either due to the fact that quinoa contains twice as much fiber as most other grains, so if you’re plugged up, bear down on some of this to flow free.
4. Ezekiel Bread – Ezekiel Bread is touted as one of the healthiest breads out there but what exactly makes it so healthy? First off, Ezekiel bread contains no added sugars, no trans fats, no cholesterol and no flour. Being that Ezekiel bread has no added sugars it’s pretty low on the glycemic index which comes in handy for diabetics who have to keep their blood sugar levels in check. This bread is made from sprouted grain which means its number of healthy nutrients is increased and harmful anti-nutrients decreased. Ezekiel bread is higher in protein (4 grams in 1 slice) and dietary fiber (3 grams in 1 slice) than your average loaf of bread thus making it the top choice for fit fam folks. This bread is also easier to digest than others so it’s suitable for those who suffer from Celiac disease and our gluten intolerant peeps out there (Ezekiel bread is not entirely gluten free so keep that in mind).
5. Flax seed – Earlier in the list we found out flax seed can be replaced by chia seeds in certain ways so I say it’s time flax seed got some shine here. The history of the flax seed dates back to 3,000 BC and is still around today being utilized for its health benefits. Flax seed is the seed from the plant Linum usitatissimum and is known for its omega-3 essential fatty acids, which has been shown to have heart healthy effects. This seed contains both soluble and insoluble types of fiber and lignans which may help protect against cancer by blocking enzymes that are involved in the hormone metabolism of tumor growth. Flaxseed and flax seed oil are both used to make medicine as well as the seed being used itself to treat high cholesterol, ADHD, breast pain and a slew of other conditions and disorders. Chia seeds may not need to be grounded up but flax seed is still very much a winner.
6. Matcha Tea – We all know about the health benefits of green tea but have you gulped down some Matcha Tea yet? If not, start. Matcha Tea was originated in the Japanese culture and is the highest quality powdered green tea available. The health benefits of Matcha Tea actually trump generic green tea’s because when you drink this tea, you ingest the entire leaf as opposed to just consuming the brewed water of run of the mill green tea. This tea contains over 100 times more epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) than any other tea on the market and EGCg is most known for its cancer fighting properties. Did you know this tea can increase your energy and endurance for up to 6 hours? Of course you didn’t. Well due to the effects of a unique combination of nutrients and L-Theanine, Matcha drinkers experience endurance over a longer period of time without nervousness or any other stimulant side effects. More good from Matcha, this type of tea has been proven through scientific study to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL), all the while providing numerous healthy antioxidants for the body.
7. Sauerkraut – Although I’m not a fan of sauerkraut whatsoever, even I may have to consider adding some of these healthy fixings onto my plate. Sauerkraut is a probiotic food which means it promotes good gut health by restoring healthy gut bacteria levels to assist in the digestive process that may have been depleted by antibiotic dosed foods or substances. Sauerkraut is abundant in vitamin C, even having been taken on long voyages back in the day to help prevent the disease scurvy which developed from a vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin A also flourishes throughout the veggieness of Sauerkraut, promoting eye health and aiding in immune function. It looks like I owe Sauerkraut a formal apology for being this good for me and not having a place in my diet.
8. Kale – Popeye loved his spinach but I bet if he packed in some kale his forearms would have been thicker than a dictionary. Kale has been dubbed one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet and I’m going to tell you why. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef and iron is essential for good health because it forms hemoglobin and enzymes along with transporting oxygen to various parts of the body. Scared of developing cancer? Eat more Kale, the antioxidants found in this veggie such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect the body against various cancers. This vegetable is known to be super duper rich in vitamin K which is necessary for various bodily functions such as normal blood clotting, bone health and preventing heart disease. Surprisingly enough, per calorie kale has more calcium than milk, so if you want strong bones and want to prevent your bones from diminishing as quickly over time, eat some of this green leafy goodness and harness happy health!
9. Lentils – Lentils are a legume which is derived from plants but this one right here is special. Lentils are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to nutritional value, providing potassium, calcium, zinc, lean protein, folate and iron to an individual’s diet when included. A single cup of cooked lentils contains 16 grams of dietary fiber and although they do contain soluble fiber, they’re an excellent source of insoluble fiber. Referring to that same cup of cooked lentils, there’s 18 grams of protein with less than 1 gram of fat which is the ideal meathead side dish to an already chicken and brown rice filled tupperware container. The exact same cup of cooked lentils supplies 358 micrograms of folate, supplying nearly 100 percent of the 400-microgram daily requirement of folate for adults. Seems to me all you need is 1 cup of cooked lentils but if you were to get crazy and make 2 cups, you’d be supercharging your body with more nutrition than it’ll know what it do with.