As the weather gets warmer, thoughts turn toward healthier eating, and smoothies top the list. We spoke with naturopathic doctor Dr. Nadia Musavvir, ND, to help explain the benefits of the hottest superfoods out there, tell us how we can tweak our diets to include more of them on a regular basis and share some favorite recipes with us.
Rona Berg: Why add more fiber to your diet? How much/how often?
Dr. Nadia Musavvir: Flax seeds and chia seeds are great sources of fiber. Flax seeds are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. They also contain lignans which help balance estrogens by supporting healthy metabolism (great for women with PMS). They’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid which makes them beneficial for supporting healthy inflammation levels and reducing oxidative stress.
Chia seeds are a rich source of minerals, fatty acids and fiber also making it a great addition to any meal or smoothie. If possible, I recommend 1-2 teaspoons of either (or both!) seeds daily.
Fiber helps slow the breakdown of glucose (soluble), adds bulk to stool allowing for regular bowel movements and more efficient elimination of waste (insoluble), helps to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. Reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, IBS, hemorrhoids. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25-35 grams. Try: BareOrganics Ground Flaxseed
RB: How do you know which superfoods are for you? What are the health benefits of turmeric, ashwagandha, noni fruit, marine super greens?
NM: The ones right for you are the ones you will be consistent with. All will have different benefits however since none are used to treat specific conditions, adding any, assuming they’re along with other healthy habits, will provide some benefit.
Turmeric is wonderful for balancing healthy inflammation levels and is also considered hepatoprotective, meaning it supports liver health. Most people can stand to benefit from turmeric, however, for it to be absorbed, it needs to be in the presence of fat and/or black pepper. Try: Turmeric Root Powder & Turmeric Root Juice
Ashwagandha is a great Ayurvedic herb that is considered the best rejuvenative herb, balancing to the nervous system and to the body’s stress response. It’s also indicated for ailments due to overwork, making it another herb that most people in today could benefit from.
Noni fruit and marine super greens are filled with many beneficial antioxidants and minerals. Marine super greens also provide essential fatty acids and aid in healthy detoxification.
Try: Noni Fruit Powder
RB: What is the best way to incorporate these into your diet? How much/how often?
Turmeric is the easiest to incorporate because it can be used in cooking, in creating tasty drinks such as turmeric lattes, aka golden lattes. They can also be used in smoothies.
NM: Why incorporate marine minerals into your diet? What are the benefits? How much/how often?
Minerals are important because our soils are very mineral-poor due to modern agricultural practices. Minerals from marine greens are a variety of minerals that are often lacking in modern diets. These are safe to be taken daily.
Try these tasty and refreshing recipes for yourself.
1 ½ - 2 cups non-dairy milk of choice
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee
Small pinch black pepper
Maple syrup or sweetener of choice to taste
Mix and heat all ingredients.
1 cup blueberries
1-2 cups non-dairy milk of choice (to desired consistency)
1 tablespoon nut butter of choice (i prefer almond butter)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1 teaspoon marine super greens
Blend all ingredients.
1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup to taste
Mix ingredients thoroughly, leave to “gel” to pudding-like consistency for at least half an hour. Add desired toppings when ready to consume.
Optional toppings: Freshly ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, cacao powder, chocolate chips, berries, sliced bananas, sprouted buckwheat, more chia seeds, bee pollen, pomegranate seeds