If you are new to all this what, you may very well ask, are Super Foods?
Well amongst the better known are blueberries, kale and salmon. No doubt you will have heard countless times about the nutritional benefits of these everyday ingredients, commonly labelled “Super Foods.”
There’s no official scientific definition of a Super Food, but it’s generally accepted that Super Foods contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants, substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent disease.
While there are a number of common foods that provide these nutrients, there is also an array of more exotic and less mainstream Super foods that are worth getting to know. These include Kefir, Acai, Maca and mangosteens but more about these next week.
Today we are going to focus on one of the best known and loved Super foods the Avocado.
As super foods go, they don’t come much more versatile than the avocado. The soft, creamy consistency and the mild, nutty flavour pair with just about anything, adding a generous portion of healthy fats, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin K and folate to your plate. Delicious at breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snack time, it’s little wonder that avocados are one of the most popular and widely grown fruits around the world.
To celebrate the avocado in all it’s smooth, buttery glory, here’s a list of 16 ways to use them.
1. On their own, with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of Himalayan Salt. An excellent energy boosting snack!
2. Paired with scrambled eggs and bacon for a classic paleo breakfast!
3. With tomatoes: Avocados and tomatoes pair exceptionally well together, and as it turns out, that’s no co-incidence. When paired together, avocados increase the absorption of lycopene, the cancer-preventing antioxidant found in tomatoes. In a study by the University of Ohio, pairing avocado with tomatoes improved lycopene absorption by 400%!
4. Cut into wedges and added to almost any salad
5. Guacamole: Mash two ripe avocados with the juice of half a lime, half a clove crushed garlic, two finely chopped spring onions, one red chilli (optional), salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Ideal for Mexican dishes, burgers and salads!
6. Added to smoothies for extra creaminess
7. Sliced on top of a home-made chilli
8. Coconut crusted avocado fries. Need we say any more?
9. Added to burgers, along with caramelised onions
10. Paired with grilled chicken and a dash of cayenne pepper
11. Avocado pesto: For a twist on the classic pesto, mash a ripe avocado together with pine nuts, fresh basil, a squeeze of lemon and a little garlic.
12. Halved and topped with a generous splash of hot sauce
13. Raw chocolate making: Believe it or not, avocados are fantastic for making healthy desserts – especially those that involve chocolate! Use them in brownies, chocolate mousse, truffles and cakes to add a wonderful creaminess.
14. Avocado ice cream: Blend an avocado, a frozen banana, 200ml coconut milk and a dash of vanilla extract. Leave in the freezer for 3-4 hours, mixing every hour or so. Allow to thaw slightly before serving, topped with fresh berries!
And they’re not just for eating, either…
15. As a face mask: Great for dry and sensitive complexions, avocado face masks are an excellent way to provide your skin with much needed hydration and nutrients. Avocado oil is used in many of the leading anti-aging moisturisers and treatment lotions – but to save yourself some money, use the whole fruit instead! Our favourite avocado face mask combines three tbsp mashed avocado, one tsp raw honey, and one tsp macadamia oil. Apply to face for 10 – 15 minutes once a week for a serious complexion boost!
16. As a hair mask: Avocado is amazing for dry hair. Combine half a mashed avocado with an egg yolk and a tablespoon of olive oil. Massage into hair from root to tip, then leave to set for 30 minutes before rinsing. When avocado is combined with egg yolk and oil, it acts as a humectant, infusing moisture deep into the hair cells.
How do you use your avocados?
Almost anybody can tell you at least a little bit about gluten, as it has become quite the villain in today’s dietary world. In reality, gluten intolerance is a very serious issue and, although it may be up on the radar recently, it is more than just a passing fad.
Most people tend to consider gluten intolerance to be a food allergy or they may equate it with celiac disease. It is neither. It is a condition that occurs in the gut and if it is not cared for properly, it can affect your lifestyle in many ways.
When gluten proteins remain undigested in the gut, they are considered a foreign invader by the body and treated as such. As a result, your gut can become irritated and the absorption of food is reduced significantly.
Gastrointestinal issues can cause a number of uncomfortable problems, including pain, diarrhea and vomiting. When it comes to gluten intolerance, however, the signs may be similar or they could be quite different. Unfortunately, an issue with gluten intolerance often goes undiagnosed because most people continue to eat gluten and simply ignore the symptoms they are experiencing. Doing so can lead to additional diseases and autoimmune problems that could last a lifetime.
The following are 8 common signs that could point to gluten intolerance. If you are experiencing these symptoms with any severity, your doctor should be consulted.
1. Stomach Pain – One of the most common signs of gluten intolerance is stomach pain, along with other gastrointestinal issues. Those issues can include bloating, diarrhea, gas and constipation. When you eat foods that contain gluten, it can irritate the lining of the small intestine and can affect your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the food you’re eating.
2. Dizziness – Although most people would ignore this issue or consider it to be something else, gluten intolerance can often lead to disorientation, brain fog and feeling as if you are off-balance. Those issues are more likely to occur after you eat foods that contain gluten.
If you constantly have a cloudy feeling, don’t consider it to be normal, it isn’t! After you removed gluten from your diet, you may feel as if the cloud has been lifted from your thoughts.
3. Mood Swings – It is true that many different issues could lead to mood swings but gluten intolerance is one of those issues that should not be ignored. Many people that have such an intolerance feel as if they are anxious, irritable and upset for no reason after eating gluten.
4. Migraines – headaches can occur for many reasons as well but gluten intolerance can lead to chronic migraines and it should be considered a warning sign. Typically, the migraine will occur anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes after you eat.
5. Skin Itchiness – Due to the fact that your gut is having a problem processing gluten, inflammation is likely to follow. Your skin may also experience problems as a result of the inflammation, and it can show in a number of different ways. When your gut is unhappy, it can lead to dry, itchy skin and issues such as psoriasis and eczema.
6. Fibromyalgia – Approximately 4% of the population in the United States, mostly women, suffer from fibromyalgia. There are some rheumatology experts who feel as if gluten sensitivity may have a lot to do with the prevalence of fibromyalgia. It may not be directly related to it, but the gluten sensitivity could cause health problems that would lead to a secondary form of fibromyalgia.
7. Chronic Fatigue – When there are problems in the body, you are likely to feel mentally and physically exhausted. Even though you may be getting plenty of sleep at night, you still wake up in the morning feeling as if you are drained. This also has a lot to do with inflammation and the energy your body is expanding while it tries to manage the gluten proteins that you should not be eating.
8. Lactose Intolerance – The symptoms of gluten intolerance and lactose intolerance are very similar to each other. That is why it shouldn’t be surprising that individuals who have a problem with lactose may be more likely to have a problem with gluten proteins. In addition, dairy can lead to acid reflux and in turn, that can be a large part of gluten intolerance.