'Can't Live Withouts': Top 4 Health Foods

At a recent an avocado a day team meeting we decided it would be great to start a themed series of blog posts called our 'Can't Live Withouts'. These will be quick little titbits of information on our favorite things from food, to life, to wine.  Each post will feature 4 items each of us find we literally can't live without! We are starting things off with our favorite health foods. Give them a try!

Jamie can't live without: Blueberries
Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants which help prevent many chronic diseases as well as reduce the effects of aging. They have even been shown to reduce belly fat, preserve vision and help promote health of the urinary tract. I try to eat blueberries everyday in my morning smoothie (a great brand is the PC organics frozen variety). I am usually very busy with school and find it really convenient to buy them frozen, they come in a convenient zip-lock bag and add a great hit of antioxidants to my favorite morning snack. When you're buying them make sure to give the bag a shake and see if the berries are loose. If the bag has been left to thaw it will feel like a big block of ice inside and may mean that the berries were left unfrozen for a period of time. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables in general is a really easy way to get your daily vegetable intake and the freezing process has very little effect on the actual nutritional content of the food.

Kate can't live without: Quinoa 
Quinoa is one of the hottest grains to grace the food industry over the last few years. It is gluten free and a complete source of protein!(13.1g of protein per 100g) It is also a great source of magnesium, iron and amino acids such as lysine. As a vegetarian I find it an excellent source of protein, not to mention it is highly versatile; with fruit and honey or beans and red peppers, it can go savory or sweet!
Make sure to follow the cooking directions on the box. If you are worried about your cooking skills try a rice cooker! It is a quick and easy way to assure your quinoa comes out fluffy and moist.

Christine can't live without:  Almonds 
Almonds are one of my favorite snacks for school and after exercise because they are quick and nutritious.  I think of almonds as the superior nut for many reasons.  Compared to peanuts, they have more protein, are anti-inflammatory (peanuts are pro-inflammatory), and contain less saturated fat.  Another little known fact about almonds is that in 1 serving you can receive 37% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E.  Just make sure you are eating raw (not roasted) and unblanched almonds to receive all the benefits!
Here are some quick facts for 1 serving (4 oz or 23 almonds):
·      160 calories
·      6g of protein (same as 1 egg)
·      6g of carbohydrates
·      14g of fat (mostly unsaturated or “good” fat)
·      3g of fiber
·      Good source of vitamin E, riboflavin, various minerals

If you find you need a quick snack and aren’t really a nut person, you can try natural almond butter as a peanut butter substitute—just be careful as almond butter is easier to indulge in and can be high in calories and fat.

Nadia can't live without:  Matcha
My love affair with matcha began in second year university.  One sip of this frothy rich emerald drink and I was a changed woman.  Matcha is powdered form of green tea that was originally created by zen monks in Japan who used it to help them stay awake and focused during long periods of meditation. Now, matcha is used in cooking to flavour pastries and ice cream as well as enjoyed on its own.  What makes matcha so good for you is the fact that you are actually ingesting the entire tea leaf, instead of just steeping and infusing the hot water.  This makes it equivalent to approximately ten cups of regularly steeped green tea, and contains almost 135 times more EGCG antioxidants.  Matcha has also been known to do the following:
  • Enhance mood and mental focus for up to 4 hours
  • Increase alkalinization of blood
  • Increase metabolism up to 40% in regular consumers (some studies show it may be beneficial for weight loss)
  • Provide a source of zinc, selenium, vitamin c, and magnesium

What not to love I ask? What is not to love!? I have gotten into the habit of throwing a serving of matcha into my morning smoothies; it gives me the caffeine and energy I need for morning class that lasts well into lunch.

The An Avocado A Day Team


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