My Favorite Holiday SuperFoods

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holiday superfoods

My Favorite Holiday SuperFoods

The holiday season is notorious for high stress, and lots of high sugar, high fat comfort foods.The inevitable result of this late season binge is a huge energy drop, and lots of illness, trouble and more stress to start the new year.  Here are my favorite holiday superfoods!

There are so many natural foods, herbs, & spices that are exploding with the tastes and textures we love, why do we buy into the “traditional holiday season” and submit to the man-made death trap of processed foods.  Make your holiday season healthier and more harmonious with the best superfood nutrition. Try utilizing these 3 holiday superfoods in your recipes:

AntiInflammatory_Cover

Cinnamon:

This incredible spice is one of the highest anti-oxidant rich herbs with an incredible ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbancy Capacity) score of 131,420 (1).  Cinnamon’s powerful essential oils are known for their “anti-microbial” factors (2).  Studies have shown this spice to be highly effective at halting the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida (3).

Cinnamon also helps to balance blood sugar by stimulating insulin receptors, giving them a stronger affinity for the blood-sugar lowering hormone (4).  In response, the body needs to produce less insulin in order to create the desired effect.  This creates less pancreatic stress, improved metabolic rate, and decreased inflammation (5).

If this isn’t enough, the mere scent of cinnamon has been shown to powerfully stimulate regions of the brain allowing for greater attention span & memory.  Sprinkle tons of this amazing spice on sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, fruit, pastries, ice cream, egg nog, etc.  Be sure to use cinnamon with your holiday superfoods.

cinnamon_healthbenefits

Cacao:

This nutritional powerhouse is one of the highest anti-oxidant rich foods, boasting an ORAC score of 55,653 (6).  Chocolate is made from the seeds Theobroma cacao.  The seeds are dried, roasted, & processed to form cocoa, the major component of chocolate.  Cacao beans taste like dark chocolate, because they are dark chocolate!

Cacao contains a group of powerful anti-oxidant polyphenols called flavenoids that include catechins, epicatechins (the widely regarded anti-oxidant in green tea), and procyandins (famed component of grape seed extract) which are known for their incredible ability to reduce free radical attack, destroy bacteria/viruses/yeast development, and inhibit cancer formation (7).

Cacao is also rich in major minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.  These minerals are essential in maintaining normal cardiovascular tone (stabilizing blood pressure), immune, neurological, and reproductive health (8, 9).  Incredible cacao based recipes such as rich and creamy fudge , truffles, and chocolate balls the whole family will love can be found on our recipe page.  You will love using chocolate and cacao with your holiday superfoods!

cacao_darkchocolatefacts-580x1024

Coconut:

This nutritional powerhouse is a high-energy, weight loss, immune boosting superstar.  The 90% saturated fat content of coconut oil has been given it a bad rap for ages, but the new science has shown these medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) to actually improve cardiovascular function by reducing inflammation, and providing a preferred fuel for the heart in stearic acid (10, 11, 12).

In addition, the saturated component gives coconut oil remarkable strength to maintain its normal structure under high heat.  Due to this relatively uncombustable nature, it is the supreme oil to cook with and to utilize as a facial & body moisturizer.

These fatty acids do not require bile or large amounts of pancreatic enzymes to be metabolized (like most fats do) so they are easy for the liver, pancreas, and the rest of the digestive system (13).  In addition, coconut has been shown to stimulate the thyroid and speed metabolism, increasing the body’s natural fat burning abilities (14).  Finally, the MCT’s enhance immunity by providing strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral, & anti-fungal functions (15).

Be sure to utilize the many coconut products such as coconut oil, milk, cream, flour, flakes, etc. in your different recipes.  Enjoy these great holiday superfoods!

CoconutOil_Benefits

Sources For This Article Include:

  1. Superfoodly – Spices, Cinnamon, Ground Link Here
  2. Ooi LS, Li Y, Kam SL, Wang H, Wong EY, Ooi VE. Am Antimicrobial activities of cinnamon oil and cinnamaldehyde from the Chinese medicinal herb Cinnamomum cassia Blume. J Chin Med. 2006;34(3):511-22. PMID: 16710900
  3. Science Direct A comparison of Chemical, Antioxidant and antimicrobial studies of cinnamon leaf and bark volatile oils, oleoresins and their constituents. Link Here
  4. Sartorius T, Peter A, Schulz N, Drescher A, Bergheim I, Machann J, Schick F, Siegel-Axel D, Schürmann A, Weigert C, Häring HU, Hennige AM. Cinnamon extract improves insulin sensitivity in the brain and lowers liver fat in mouse models of obesity. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 18;9(3):e92358. PMID: 24643026
  5. Antioxidant Effects of a Cinnamon Extract in People with Impaired Fasting Glucose That Are Overweight or Obese. Link Here
  6. Superfoodly – Cocoa, Dry Powder, Unsweetened Link Here
  7. Katz DL, Doughty K, Ali A. Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Nov 15;15(10):2779-811. PMID: 21470061
  8. Paillard F. [Effects of chocolate consumption on physiology and cardiovascular diseases]. Presse Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;43(7-8):848-51. PMID: 24954290
  9. Blumberg JB, Ding EL, Dixon R, Pasinetti GM, Villarreal F. The science of cocoa flavanols: bioavailability, emerging evidence, and proposed mechanisms. Adv Nutr. 2014 Sep;5(5):547-9. PMID: 25469389
  10. Kochikuzhyil BM, Devi K, Fattepur SR.Effect of saturated fatty acid-rich dietary vegetable oils on lipid profile, antioxidant enzymes and glucose tolerance in diabetic rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;42(3):142-5. PMID: 20871763
  11. Garvan Institute – How Coconut Oil Could Help Reduce The Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes Link Here
  12. Hunter JE, Zhang J, Kris-Etherton PM. Cardiovascular disease risk of dietary stearic acid compared with trans, other saturated, and unsaturated fatty acids: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jan;91(1):46-63. PMID: 19939984
  13. Foufelle F, Perdereau D, Gouhot B, Ferre P, Girard J. Effect of diets rich in medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides on lipogenic-enzyme gene expression in liver and adipose tissue of the weaned rat. Eur J Biochem. 1992 Sep 1;208(2):381-7. PMID: 1355731
  14. Arunima S, Rajamohan T. Influence of virgin coconut oil-enriched diet on the transcriptional regulation of fatty acid synthesis and oxidation in rats – a comparative study. Br J Nutr. 2014 May 28;111(10):1782-90. PMID: 24513138
  15. Shilling M, Matt L, Rubin E, Visitacion MP, Haller NA, Grey SF, Woolverton CJ. Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile. J Med Food. 2013 Dec;16(12):1079-85. PMID: 24328700

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