One of the best whole grains out there. Oats are a complex carbohydrate which means you'll have long-lasting energy instead of a blood sugar spike and crash. They also have more protein and fiber than their fellow grains which helps keep you full long after you're done eating and they can keep your cholesterol in check. If that's not enough, oats are chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help keep your body functioning at its optimal level including:
-Vitamin B1 (metabolism, heart function)
-Manganese (blood sugar regulation, antioxidant properties),
-Magnesium (brain and muscle function, anti-inflammatory)
Bottom line: make sure you eat your oats, whether as oatmeal, granola or in healthy cookies (our personal fav).
PRO TIP: oats are naturally free but make sure you look for brands that are certified gluten free, as there's often cross-contamination in the growing process which could mean bad news if you have a gluten allergy! We love Bob's Red Mill.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been getting a lot of press recently, and for good reason. It's a saturated fat that's beneficial for the body (sounds impossible, right?) because it's an MCT, or medium chain triglyceride. Basically, they are broken down in the liver quicker than other fats so you can use the energy right away and you'll burn them off instead of storing them as fat. Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties and can help fight infection and microorganisms. If you want shiny, luscious hair and smooth and supple skin, coconut oil can help you get there, with it's penetrating properties and its anti-inflammatory effects. We love coconut oil as a substitute for unhealthy fats in baking!
As we like to call them, the wonder nut. Almonds are incredibly nutritious and loaded with antioxidants that protect you from free radicals, or toxins that cause damage to your body. They are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber so they help control hunger and keep you satiated throughout your day. Too boot, they help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure levels. You can eat them raw (where you'll get the most benefits) or you can roast them to bring out a delicious, warm and nutty flavor. If you're feeling peckish, a handful of almonds will tide you over and make for a delicious snack alongside fruit!
Flaxseeds come in two varieties, brown and golden. The golden is a little milder in flavor but both can be added to many foods to enhance flavor and nutrition. Throw some on top of a breakfast bowl or smoothie or add them into bread dough or baked goods for an extra hit of protein and fiber. They are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids which aid in brain function, heart health and mood regulation that can be hard to come by if you're vegetarian or vegan. They also contain lignans which are an antioxidant that is thought to help in the prevention of cancer.
NOTE: Grind or crush whole flax seeds before eating them to release their benefits, as humans have a hard time breaking down the whole seeds.
One of our favorite superfoods (superfruits?) and no superfood list will be complete without them. First of all, they're absolutely delicious, like nature's candy. You can eat them raw (our fav), use them in desserts, or add a burst of sweetness to your summer salad! These little guys have some of the highest antioxidants levels of any fruit. They are low in calories and fat while high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, giving you a lot of bang for your buck, health-wise. One of the antioxidants blueberries contain are flavonoids, the most important one being anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help to combat the effects of free radicals, improve memory and cognitive functioning and ward off cardiovascular disease.
So there you are. We recommend using these ingredients in as many ways as you can on the daily. If you want an easy snack you can bring anywhere that you don't have to make, make sure to snag some of our Superfood Cookie Bites and count how many of these 5 superfoods are in your favorite flavor!