Lentils are nutrient-dense pulses, low on the glycemic index, gluten-free and a natural choice in these carbohydrate-phobic times. A ½ cup of lentils provides over a full serving of protein along with a whopping 8 grams of fibre. The protein and fibre slows the absorption of the carbohydrates allowing for a steady release of energy. Lentils provide a significant source of iron and magnesium, both critical minerals for the physically active. Iron is integral in transporting oxygen from the lungs to every cell in the body. Magnesium optimizes the flow of blood by relaxing our arteries and veins.
These fabulous fungi provide a host of health benefits. Not only are they low in calories, cholesterol and fat, but they have been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-cancer effects. Wild mushrooms are potent immune boosters and while they can help ward off the common cold or seasonal flu, they have also been shown to impede the development of certain tumours.
Asparagus contains a phytochemical called saponins. Saponins have both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and improve blood pressure. Asparagus is also a natural source of inulin. Inulin is a type of dietary fibre that is not broken down until it reaches our large intestine. At that stage it can be used to nourish and stimulate our healthy bacteria, Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. Having sufficient “friendly bacteria” in our gut helps keep our digestive system in balance, boosts our immune system and may help alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and lactose intolerance. Hint – it’s in season now, so get out there and enjoy it at its best!
Whether you are an athlete in training, or a casual gym-goer, your body is likely to feel stiff and sore post-exercise. Instead of taking a pill to help alleviate the pain, try ginger. The active component in ginger, called gingerol, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps block the key enzyme involved in causing inflammation. Ginger has been shown to reduce both osteoarthritis and exercise-induced muscle pain and swelling. Its effects are not confined to the muscles, however, it too shows anti-cancer effects, aids detoxification, and is a proven treatment for nausea.
Nuts are rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and have been shown to reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and improve the flexibility of arteries. They are also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, protein, fibre, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. If that doesn’t convince you to add these nutrient-powerhouses to your diet, maybe this will. A recent study found that people who ate a daily handful of nuts were more likely to live longer than those who rarely consumed nuts. You can’t argue with that now can you?Share This: