Scoping the scene at the Natural Products Expo West in Southern California, I was a little overwhelmed at the sheer size of this event. Product pitches were being thrown at me left and right, but a handful of items made a genuine impact and left me wanting more. For the best in quality, healthy benefits, and flavor, check out my top five product picks from the weekend.
Last weekend, I attended the Natural Product Expo West to check out the hottest new trends in health food and to taste what products will soon be hitting the shelves of our favorite markets. While there was so much to taste and explore, a few themes pervaded the healthy landscape. Check out nine of the top trends you'll be seeing in natural food stores this year.
Between meetings, appointments, work deadlines, errands, family obligations, and workouts, our lives are so full of activities that we often fill our bellies with the quickest, easiest bites we can get our hands on. Whether your goal is to drop unwanted pounds or to simply maintain your current weight, it's in your best interest to pause before you start haphazardly noshing and ask yourself these four important questions.
Am I hungry? Seems like a silly question, because you're eating — so you must be hungry, right? Many times people reach for food out of boredom, convenience (the bag of chips was open), depression (chocolate to drown your breakup sorrows), happiness (to celebrate a promotion), or desire (who could pass up the amazing cookies your coworker brought in?). But if you recently ate, then you're probably not truly hungry. Make sure you're due for a snack or meal before picking up the fork.
Is this food filling holes in my diet? We must eat to live, and that means the food we gobble down should offer our bodies the vitamins and nutrients it needs. Your daily diet should also be balanced. If you ate a high-protein breakfast of eggs and Greek yogurt topped with nuts, then reach for something that offers your body something besides protein for that midmorning snack, such as fiber, potassium, or vitamin A. Think of each snack and meal as a piece of your daily diet puzzle, an opportunity to take in what your body is lacking.
Keep reading to find out the other two questions you should ask yourself before eating.
Are brain-boosting foods on the menu? Eighty percent of a tot's brain is formed by the time they're 3 years old, and eating well is an important part of that development. While diet alone isn't going to turn a lil one into a nuclear physicist or child prodigy, there are certain nutrients that encourage healthy brain development.
How much do you know about these brain-boosting superfoods? Take the following quiz to find out.Take the Quiz
It's amazing how many foods are out there that help with everything from weight loss to reducing your appetite to improving your sex life. As more studies are done, researchers these days are finding even more amazing superfoods. Read on for the top five new superfoods that should be in your fridge or pantry at all times!
5 New Superfoods to Stock in Your Fridge and Pantry
1. Seaweed. A new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that seaweed is a rich vegan source of heart-healthy food "bioactive peptides," that are usually only found in milk products. Stock up at your local Asian market!
2. Kamut. High in iron, fiber and protein, this whole grain comes in everything from flours to pastas. The grain is touted for its concentration of selenium, zinc, and magnesium.
3. Coconut oil. Once villainized for its high fat content, coconut oil is now one of the hottest health foods. High in lauric acid, coconut oil is now said to be a superfood that boosts metabolism, burns fat and helps keep your immune system strong.
4. Incaberries. Also known as physalis or cape gooseberry, incaberries are prized for their high levels of phosphorous, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B12, protein and bioflavoniods. A true superfruit and superfood!
5. Hemp oil. Made from hemp seeds, hemp oil is tasty (and legal!) in salad dressings, mayonnaise and dips. Highly digestible and a vegetarian source of essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6), this superfood is also high in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, carotene, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
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It's National Nutrition Month, and while you may be eating all the bright colors of the rainbow, don't overlook that less flashy color — brown. As in, the brown crimini button mushroom, a market and salad bar staple for good reason.
The common mushroom is hiding some important nutrients that vegetarians should make sure they get enough of. One such important nutrient is selenium. While meat, seafood, grains, and nuts have excellent levels of the mineral, mushrooms are the only produce that have high levels of it, so they are especially important to include in your diet if you are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.
Selenium helps produce antioxidants and also keeps your immune and thyroid systems healthy. Studies have even shown that it may reduce LDL cholesterol levels as well as help with inflammatory diseases. Crimini mushrooms are packed with the stuff: five ounces of the mushrooms provide over half of the daily value of selenium.
The benefits don't stop there, however. Mushrooms are also high in other important minerals, including iron, zinc, and potassium, as well as vitamin D.
I love to sauté crimini mushrooms in a little olive oil and seasoning for a quick side dish, but if you're into Meatless Mondays or thinking of giving up meat for Lent, try a mushroom leek tart, a vegan mushroom and garlic bisque, or a hearty broccoli and mushroom quiche for dinner.
It's easy to roll out the sugar cookie dough and toss on some sprinkles for a quick Valentine's Day treat. While a cookie may taste delicious, it can be the downfall to a healthy diet. 'Cause who can truly make a batch of cookies without licking the bowl and eating about half a dozen when they are baked in your kitchen? Instead of tempting yourself with the usual suspects, consider showing your sweetheart or your girlfriends how much you care about them and their health with these simple and easy Valentine shaped dishes. They're sure to win their hearts over.
Want to look and feel younger? Time to bulk up on your antioxidants! Foods rich in the anti-aging molecule are often tasty, recipe-friendly, and readily available at most grocery stores. The question is, do you know which ones they are?
Come take my quiz to see if you are knowledgeable in the world of the super food!Take the Quiz
Why all the hoopla about antioxidants? Well if you want to keep a young look about you and prevent some serious diseases, they may be your best friend. Considered a magical and sometimes essential part of one's diet, antioxidants help to keep existing cells alive and healthy. While many people rely on supplements or shakes to get their daily dose of antioxidants, there are easy and tasty ways to have an antioxidant-rich diet. Come check them out.