By Dr. Joey Shulman
Start the new year off right by boosting your immune system, antioxidants, energy, metabolism and overall health by adding these trendy superfoods to your diet
1. Probiotic-rich foods
I always say: “You are only as healthy as your pipes.” In other words, you are only as healthy as how you are absorbing and digesting.
In addition to supplementing your diet with probiotic capsules – these friendly bacteria can aid digestion, reduce bloating, boost your immune system and help get rid of unwanted yeast – it’s a good idea to add certain probiotic-rich foods into your diet, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso soup, kefir and pickles.
2. Green tea
A high source of antioxidants, green tea has long been known for its health benefits. As an alternative to coffee, green tea causes the body to secrete the amino acid L-theanine, which creates a feeling of alertness without causing the normal “java jitters.”
In addition to containing lots of antioxidants, green tea is good for heart health and having anti-aging effects on your skin. Green tea can also give your metabolism a boost, providing an extra edge on weight loss. Taken in supplement form or consumed as tea (two to three cups per day is recommended for weight-loss effects) green tea is a daily must-have.
If you’re a green tea lover, you can also try matcha green tea powder, which goes one step above green tea in terms of its nutritional value. When it comes to nutritional content – especially its high level of antioxidants – matcha green tea is much more powerful and potent.
3. Delicious sea vegetables
Sea vegetables are filled with beneficial vitamins and minerals that are optimal for health. Some of the more common sea vegetables include:
• Kelp: an excellent source of iodine and an important mineral for maintaining the health of your thyroid gland
• Kombu: a high source of protein that is also high in vitamins and minerals, especially iron
• Dulse: a good source of fibre that helps to improve digestion
• Nori: an excellent source of protein, iron and essential amino acids.
All of these vegetables are also low in calories, making them guilt-free additions to your diet.
Quinoa is a supergrain rich in fibre, magnesium and protein. It is gluten free and easy to incorporate into many recipes that call for pasta or rice. Quinoakeeps best in the refrigerator once opened and should be rinsed thoroughly prior to cooking.
You must eat fat to lose fat. Many of the clients I’ve worked with have been “stuck” in their weight loss because their diets were too low in fat, causing their metabolism to slow down. Of course, fats have more than twice the calories of protein and carbohydrates, so portion size is important. However, incorporating good fats into your diet is critical for heart health, skin health, immune system function, cellular repair and weight loss.
Of all of the “good fats,” avocados top the charts for nutritional profile. High in monounsaturated fat, rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre and packed with disease-fighting antioxidants called carotenoids, they are a beneficial addition to salads and wraps or can be turned into a delicious guacamole dip. The recommended serving size is 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado per day.
Joey Shulman is a bestselling author and the founder of the Shulman Weight Loss Clinics. For more information, please visit drjoey.com