With new, so-called superfoods gracing the headlines of health columns on regular rotation, we look at the advice of leading nutrition experts and their take on the healthiest ingredients, their benefits and how to integrate them into delicious recipes.

Get Smooth And Stress-Free With Oats

The humble oat – or Avena sativa to give it its scientific name, might just be the healthiest grain on earth. They’re packed with essential minerals like manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as beta-glucan, a soluble fibre known to reduce bad cholesterol and reduce sugar cravings–which comes in handy after the holiday indulgences. Oats also contain a unique antioxidant, avenanthramide, that increases the production of nitric oxide, and facilitates blood flow thereby lowering blood pressure. We could all use a lot less stress, right? Especially when attacking that list of resolutions. Lastly, when cooking with oats, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Avena sativa has soothing skin properties, so you can ditch the rubber gloves and enjoy soft, smooth hands. 

Recipe: Oat Pancakes
In this recipe from RDN, Jessie Gutsue of Culinary Nutrition Project, oat flour in place of refined wheat flour is a great way to make your pancakes and eat them too, but without the bloating and sugar crash that can accompany a classic full stack.

Discover the recipe here.

Lion’s Mane For The Brain

The latest ‘magic’ mushroom on the scene has mind-altering properties, but it’s not what you think. Lion’s Mane mushroom (hericium erinaceus) is an edible mushroom native to North America. Early research has found it helpful in preventing dementia, while also reducing anxiety and depression. Give your brain a boost to get the year rolling right. 

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies
As surprising as it may seem, holistic physician, Dr Sony Sherpa recommends using Lion’s Mane mushroom powder from Nature’s Rise to bake energy and brain-boosting chocolate chip cookies. They make a great snack or a post-workout power-up. 

Discover the recipe here.

Lustrous Locks With Lentils

Lentils are packed with folate (folic acid), a compound known for restoring and maintaining red blood cell production which keeps vital nutrients flowing throughout the body. This is a main reason it tops the list of pregnancy vitamins for reducing birth defects. Another benefit of increased circulation, especially to the brain and scalp, is increased and healthy hair growth.

Recipe: Middle Eastern Lentil and Carrot Salad
This delicious salad combines carrots with lentils. Known for their high vitamin A content, carrots aid in the production of sebum, which helps keep the scalp and hair moisturised and supple.

Discover the recipe here.

Cheers To Kimchi

The Korean staple of fermented cabbage, radish or cucumber, seasoned with ginger and garlic, has captivated the culinary world for its crunchy texture and unique blend of sweet, savoury and spicy flavours. Holistic nutritionist, Ethan Dansereau explains that the microbes formed during the fermentation process (probiotics) help digestion by breaking down essential nutrients, which allows the body to utilize the food we eat, and synthesize vitamins when we need them the most. These beneficial microbes also boost the immune system. Ginger and garlic are natural antivirals, and cabbage contains calcium, Vitamin K and C—making kimchi a must during cold and flu season.

Recipe: Make Your Own Kimchi
If you’re imagining that making your own kimchi will be a long and complex process, then it’s time to think again. While the fermentation does take a few days, the actual work involved is minimal with the rewards far outweighing your efforts.
Kimchi is a classic Korean side dish, but it adds va va voom to all kinds of meals, like Kimchi fried rice.

Discover the recipe here.

Going Green

Leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale and collard greens are rich in iron, folate, and calcium, all known to strengthen fingernails, prevent breakage and speed growth.

Recipe: Collard Greens and Kale
This recipe for kale and collards is a quick and easy sauté with olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice for a spicy, citrusy zing. 

Discover the recipe here

Go For The Avo-Glow

When it comes to glowing and healthy skin, it’s all about the good fat. Avocados are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, known to promote and preserve moisture in the skin. So, order the extra guacamole or whatever avocado-heavy concoction most appeals to you. 

Recipe: Grilled Salmon With Avocado Salsa
Whip up this simple and satisfying grilled salmon with avocado salsa. Salmon is also famously high in Omega-3, so this is sure to give you a boost.  Aside from its health properties, the salsa is bright and tangy with red onion, fresh cilantro and lime juice. 

Discover the recipe here.

Kiwi For Killer Immunity

This fuzzy little fruit has three times the amount of Vitamin C found in an orange, and according to registered dietician, Amy Shapiro, it’s fantastic for detoxification. Regular kiwi consumption helps with elimination and regularity, which keeps keeping things moving and bacteria at bay. Amy recommends simply slicing the top off of a ripe kiwi and eating it with a spoon.

Recipe: Homemade Kiwi Lemonade
As an alternative, try this refreshing kiwi lemonade.

Discover the recipe here.

For Strong Bones: Think Pink

January is pretty frosty in a lot of the world, and getting around is far from simple when it’s icy underfoot. Protect from broken bones, and keep your skeleton strong with osteoporosis-fighting ingredients like pink grapefruit, fresh figs and watermelon. Pink grapefruit is packed with Vitamin C, a classic nutrient, which along with calcium, is known to support bone health. But as any integrative health specialist will tell you, minerals like magnesium and potassium facilitate their absorption, so don’t neglect your electrolytes. Fresh figs and watermelon are both excellent sources of these key minerals. 

Recipe: Pink Grapefruit Sorbet
It may be chilly outside, but there’s always room for ice cream. Or in this case, sorbet. The recipe calls for pink grapefruit, but you can easily substitute it with figs or watermelon, or even combine them!

Discover the recipe here.

Sweat First, Sweet Potato Later

Strenuous exercise can deplete your body’s glycogen levels. Glycogen refers to glucose that our bodies store inside the liver and muscles as a much-needed energy source. It’s tempting to hit the gym hard after the holidays, but don’t forget to refuel. Sweet potatoes or yams are an excellent source of glycogen as well as potassium and Vitamin A. They’re a complex carbohydrate, which means your body will metabolize them slowly, thus avoiding the sugar crash and giving your muscles the time to absorb everything they need.

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds
These oven-baked sweet potato rounds are easy to prepare and make a great side dish, or even a stand-in for crackers on your cheese and charcuterie board. For extra crunch, slice them more thinly or simply bake a little longer.

Discover the recipe here.

Boost Those Baby Blues

Carrots typically top the list for eye-healthy foods to include in your diet. This is predominantly due to them being rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin-A. What is less known is that blueberries are just as beneficial. Their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and collagen-stabilising properties, help to strengthen the tiny but vital blood vessels at the back of the eye. Blueberries are also high in anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, which lower high blood pressure and keep oxygen flowing to the retina.

Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Salad
This tasty salad is a tempting antidote to the season’s rich food and is quick and easy to make.

Discover the recipe here.

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