Supercharge your diet to thrive
A healthy diet with a wide variety of foods including colourful vegetables, fruit, protein sources, legumes, grains, a healthy balance of fats....is a great foundation to build on. Of course, many choose to eat more or less of certain things for specific reasons (no dairy, no grains low fat, high fat, etc) but for most people, a varied diet of fresh foods with little or no processed foods will cover many bases.
However, there are many reasons why a basically healthy diet is just not enough. It could be chronically sub-par digestion which prevents proper absorption on nutrients. It could be habits, or even medications, which cause specific nutritional needs (eg alcohol, smoking, laxatives, antibiotics, antidepressants and the contraceptive pill all create different nutritional needs). For many it can be that they eat out a little more than is good for them, or fall back on processed foods too often. Others such as the elderly, small children and teenagers, have specific nutritional needs which can be difficult to meet when they do not eat enough healthy foods, have poor digestion or are fussy.
On top of that, we have some of the oldest soils in the world here in W.A., and crops are given only the minimum of nutrients to get them to grow properly. Often micronutrients such as selenium, and minerals such as magnesium, are lacking. Plants can only create with the building blocks they are given.
Therefore, it is wise to consider your own individual nutritional needs, what stage of life you are in, whether you are under a lot of stress (which for example burns up magnesium), what your bad habits are, and whether your diet is optimal for you. Long term deficiencies can lead to chronic health issues that are difficult to resolve, and are best prevented.
While taking supplements is one solution, and often in the short term this is advisable, my preferred method is to supercharge the diet with superfoods and superherbs, on a regular basis. The superfoods tend to be higher than average in particular nutrients, but also represent a more wholistic approach to health, rather than always thinking in terms of individual nutrients and bottles of pills.
For example, any wild foods you eat, whether its wild game, or wild plants, will be very high in nutrients. One of the reasons people living in Crete are considered to have such low rates of heart disease, and long lives, is attributed to the amount of wild plants they eat, amongst other things.
Home grown foods can also be high in nutrition IF you are paying a lot of attention to the quality of the soil.
Therefore I have some suggestions for adding extra nutrition to the diet, to help provide some insurance againstdeficiencies.
Herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, fennel and coriander, are incredibly high in phytochemicals, and can be picked from the garden and used in cooking and salads, regularly. They provide such a rich variety of nutrients, as well as gut healing properties, with safe amounts of essential oils that our bodies can cope and work with, and which help stimulate digestion.
Your humble daily cup of tea can have ginger and other spices added, and these help with circulation, digestion, brain health and more. Cinnamon is a spice you can add to many things such as porridge, tea or desserts, with its blood sugar balancing properties.
You can add medicinal mushrooms such as reishi and chaga extracts, to your coffee, with little change to the taste (except to the coffee purists!). These mushrooms have been used since ancient times to promote health and longevity and blend well with coffee.
If you have a smoothie in the morning, it can be a great way to add lots of superfoods and herbs. I often add coriander (for supporting detoxing of heavy metals and pesticides), leafy greens such as kale of spinach (for iron and detoxing), spirulina (protein, iron, detoxing, so much goodness) and barley grass juice powder (again, detoxing and nutrition). Then I might add some herbs such as ashwaghanda and licorice for my adrenals, dulse for mineral and iodine especially for my thyroid, some medicinal mushrooms, and some vitamin C powder. Of course, fruit is also in there, and in particular I always love to use wild blueberries, which are one of the best superfoods out there.
I am sure you have seen the huge array or superfoods possible, and perhaps there are some you are drawn to. It can be good to rotate them regularly and try different ones.
Juicing vegetables is another way to supercharge your nutritional intake.
So there are a few ideas that I hope inspire you to kick up your nutrition a notch or two, and I guarantee you will feel the difference in your energy levels and mental clarity.
What are your favourite superfoods?