Photo Courtesy of Joanna Koszinska
Boost your energy, fitness and all-round health with some no-nonsense advice from me. I'm going to cut through the confusion of all the conflicting information around which can often be overwhelming. Here are my practical tips that you can easily incorporate into your life without feeling that the task is impossible
New Healthy Habits
The Super Powders
Moringa - The moringa tree is often called the “the miracle tree” or the “tree of life.” In the Philippines, they call it a “mother’s best friend.” In Senegal, it’s the “never die tree.” The leaves of the marina tree are packed full of antioxidants which may help cholesterol and help to manage blood sugar. It has a nutty flavour that I think works perfectly in smoothies.
Acai - The acai berry is an amazing Amazonian fruit from Brazil. The acai berry has been cherished by indigenous people of the rainforest for centuries. It has a High ORAC Score - meaning it is rich in antioxidants. It is 3x higher than goji and 10x higher blueberries. It is a source of polyphenols, the compounds that make it so purple. The darker the colour, the higher its levels of polyphenols. Add Acai to your smoothies or sprinkle over your muesli to boost your immune system.
Maca - Maca powder is known as Peruvian ginseng, and it has been used in Peru for 1000s of years. Legend has it that the Inca warriors used to take it before heading into battle in order to increase their energy and stamina. Maca is an ideal breakfast ingredient as it can give you a natural burst of energy, without the need for caffeine. Add it to porridge, use in smoothies or why not make my delicious Banana Maca
Banana Maca Muffins Ingredients (12 Muffins)
Chlorella - Chlorella are phenomenal and ancient microalgae that contain the highest amount of chlorophyll per gram than any other plant on Earth! This powder is rich in carotenoids, which can improve skin and studies have shown it helps to lower cholesterol. Its worth adding to your smoothies (but use strong flavours to mask its 'pondy' flavour!
Baobab - The fruit of the African baobab tree is high in fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C. It has a host of healthy benefits including:
Butter for avocado
Spread mashed avocado onto toast or crackers instead of butter. Avocados contain healthier unsaturated fat and potassium which will help lower blood pressure.
White sugar for date syrup
Date syrup is less refined that white sugar. It tastes delicious drizzled on porridge or in salad dressings. For the biggest benefit, make your own - by simply boiling dates, so that you maintain the fibre content of the whole fruit which will help to balance your blood sugar. However please note that date syrup is still a sugar so too much will not be beneficial!
Coffee for matcha latte
Matcha tea is very high in antioxidants, amino acids, and chlorophyll, which is responsible for it’s beautiful bright green color. Of the amino acids contained in matcha tea, L-theanine is the most prevalent and is known to have a relaxing effect on the mind and body; hence why traditionally monks would sip matcha tea to help ease their mind for meditation while the subtle caffeine content creates focus (this could be because theanine increases serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and glycine levels in the brain). Try making my deliciously addictive Matcha Green Tea Latte.
White Pasta for Spelt Pasta
Spelt contains lower levels of gluten that white wheat pasta yet still retains a nice bite once cooked, unlike many gluten-free pastas which go soggy. A bowl will leave you feeling less bloated, plus spelt is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B2 an, niacin, copper and magnesium. Please remember that it is not gluten-free so if you are intolerant to gluten leave well alone!
Double Cream for Coconut Yoghurt
Coconut is packed with vitamins C and E, iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also full of B vitamins, which release energy from the food we eat. Dairy-free coconut yoghurts are as cream as an indulgent treat - use to top desserts, or stir into curries.
Store Cupboard Heroes
Turmeric - If I could only take one spice with me to a dessert island - this would be my spice of choice. Its packed full of health benefits. Add this golden spice to scrambled eggs or rice dishes, or sprinkle over roasted vegetables. Amongst its many health giving properties it can help to soothe stomach upsets and boost collagen production in skin and joints. To find out more about this amazing spice read my guide to All You Ever Wanted To Know About Turmeric. A grind of black pepper will dramatically improve the absorption of curcumin - which is the active compound in turmeric. Try my deliciously comforting Turmeric Milk.
Lentils - These are one of the 10 Plant Based Proteins You Should Be Eating more of. You can get them canned, dried or in ready-to-eat pouches, all varieties are a fabulous source of iron, especially if you're a vegetarian or vegan. As a complex carbohydrate they are also rich in folate, which will help keep your energy levels up and moods steady.
Chickpeas - Rich in plant hormones called isoflavones, chickpeas exert an oestrogen-like effect on skin - helping to boost collagen production, skin thickness and elasticity. Make your own hummus or add to salads, tagines or rice dishes.
Coconut Milk - This increasingly popular drink contains more essential minerals than cows milk including potassium, magnesium and iron. Although high in saturated fat, it's in the form called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which our bodies use quickly so they're less likely to be stored as fat.
Saffron - Bursting with protective antioxidants, saffron strands help to fight age-releated vision loss and may prevent hardening of the arteries. Add a little sunshine to a risotto, paella or a sweet dessert - a pinch is all you need.
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!