Eggs

For years, I only ate egg whites because I was afraid the yolk had too much fat and I also never really liked the taste of a runny yolk. Well that has changed and I seriously think I could eat eggs, with a runny yolk, everyday! Well... to be honest, I pretty much do! They have become one of my favorite foods and my go-to when I want something quick and easy, yet nutritious! My favorite way to eat eggs is on a piece of toast with mashed up avocado!

One egg contains about 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 200mg of cholesterol and about 13 other essential vitamins and minerals. Although people who have high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease should limit their cholesterol intake, cholesterol is actually essential for good health! There are vast amounts of it found in the brain and it is used to make the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Benefits:

  • Eggs contain all of the essential amino acids! Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein and are necessary for muscle growth.
  • Rich source of the amino acid leucine, which is crucial in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
  • Eggs are easily digested and are bodies use these proteins efficiently.
  • The yolk is fairly high in vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and some of the B vitamins. The yolk also contains all of the fat and cholesterol, as well as most of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
  • The white of the egg contains about half of the protein, no fat, not vitamin A and about 20% of the total calories. Egg whites also have less of the other nutrients, except sodium and potassium. 
  • Eggs are a great brain food and are the richest dietary source of choline! Choline is also important for proper liver function, maintaining a healthy metabolism and increasing energy levels.
  • Great source of Vitamin D! They provide 10% of the daily value and essential in developing and maintaining healthy bones, and is important for maintaining calcium and phosphate levels.
  • Lecithin is concentrated in the egg yolk and is a substance that is crucial in the cell membranes in the body. Lecithin is important for the brain, specifically in regards to memory and cognitive processes.  

Grapefruit

Although I have always liked grapefruits, I really fell in love with them when we went to my grandparents place in Phoenix one winter. We picked them right from a tree in their yard and ate them for breakfast and they were seriously unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve had one that good since, but needles to say, I still love incorporating them into my diet because of their amazing taste and numerous benefits!

They are low in calories and are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and many other vitamins and minerals. They are especially high in fiber, vitamin A and C, as well as potassium. I love to eat grapefruits on their own, however, they can easily be added to salads or smoothies.

Benefits:

  • Can help promote weight loss and can help speed up the breakdown of fat. They are not only low in calories, but they have a natural fat-burning enzyme and can help to absorb and reduce the amount of starch and sugar in the body.
  •  Aids in digestion because if their high water and fiber content, which helps to promote healthy colon function and prevent constipation.
  • They are packed with bioflavonoids that help boost the immune system.
  • Their high antioxidant content, especially vitamin C, is crucial in the formation of collagen and therefore helps to fight skin damage, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall texture.
  • Grapefruits are particularly good for the cardiovascular system because its nutrients work to protect the arteries. The pectin content actually helps lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Pectin is also known to strengthen and maintain the elasticity of arteries.
  • The potassium content can also help to lower blood pressure, as potassium neutralizes the negative effects of sodium.
  • They are a natural anti-inflammatory and are good for people with chest congestion, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory disorders.
  • When applied topically, grapefruit can reduce cellulite due to its high levels of anti-inflammatory and skin-cleansing agents.
  • Ideal fruit for people with diabetes, as they are low on the glycemic index and don’t cause rapid increases in blood sugar. 
  • The bioflavonoids and vitamin C can actually help reduce swelling and water retention during pregnancy.
  • Grapefruits are over 90% water and are therefore extremely hydrating and full of electrolytes.
  • The aromatherapies of citrus fruits are known to help increase energy and vitality!
  • Although grapefruits taste acidic, its juice actually has an alkaline reaction after digestion, which helps put good bacteria into the intestines and is very beneficial for the digestive tract.
  • Grapefruits can help promote sleep and alleviate insomnia 

Pomegranate

Pomegranates are one of my favorite seasonal fruits! This powerful fruit usually starts popping up by mid-fall through early winter. Although pomegranates can take some work to eat, they are well worth it! They are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. I usually eat them alone or sprinkled into my oatmeal or Greek yogurt!

Benefits:

  • Rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce free radicals, protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
  • Because of their high antioxidant (specifically flavonols, which act as anti-inflammatory agents) concentration, pomegranates help reduce inflammation in the body, particularly the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
  • Their abundance of antioxidants can reduce inflammation in the gut and thus improve digestion. Therefore, the consumption of pomegranates is beneficial for those with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel disorders.
  • Their high antioxidant content reduces oxidative stress and damage. Oxidative stress refers to the imbalance between the production of free radicals and antioxidant defense, which can lead to potential tissue damage
  • Pomegranates contain loads of vitamin C! 
  • Vitamin C helps boost the immune system, which is something everyone needs in these cold winter months in Saskatchewan!
  • Vitamin C helps develop, grow and repair all of your body tissues. 
  • Vitamin C is vital in the production and formation of collagen in the body.
  • They have a high content of Vitamin K, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones, regulating normal blood clotting, as well as maintaining brain function and a healthy metabolism.
  • Good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is essential for good digestion and regular bowel movements. 

Spinach

Spinach is a nutritional goldmine! Some of the key nutrients in spinach include, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, folic acid, and iron. Since spinach contains oxalic acid (a compound that can affect the body’s ability to absorb calcium and other minerals), serving spinach with orange slices or freshly squeezed lemon, will actually increase the absorption of many minerals.

 

Benefits:

  • Rich in iron. Iron helps to produce hemoglobin, which produces oxygen into the red blood cells. 
  • It is a good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which helps the body cope with stress. 
  • It is beneficial for people with juvenile onset diabetes, due its manganese content.  
  • The calcium and magnesium content help build strong bones and teeth and also help lower blood pressure
  • It is a good source of fiber and helps flush toxins out of the colon.
  • Good for digestion, as it helps relieve constipation and also protects the mucus lining of the stomach. 
  • Helps prevent birth defects due to its folate content.  
  • Studies have shown that it can help protect against cancer due to its high antioxidant content.
  • The high antioxidant content can also help reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can accelerate aging and increase the risk of cancer and diabetes. 

Quinoa

Due to its high nutritional value, quinoa is considered a ‘super-grain’. Quinoa provides all of the essential amino acids, which cannot be made by the body and must come from food. In comparison to other grains, it is not only high in protein, but also high in iron, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. The way we cook and eat quinoa is similar to other grains and although I have referred to it as a grain here, it is actually more closely related to beets and green leafy vegetables like spinach and chard. When we eat quinoa, we actually eat the seed of a plant that is similar to spinach, not wheat.

One cup of cooked quinoa yields approximately 39 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat.

Benefits:

  • Quinoa is a complete protein, as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. 
  • Ideal for vegetarians as it contains lysine (a rare amino acid in vegetables), methionine, and cysteine, which are all important for vegetarians as most plant sources have inadequate amounts of these amino acids.
  • Perfect alternative to wheat, rye or barley because quinoa is gluten free!
  • High in insoluble fiber (about 5 grams per cup). Insoluble fiber cannot be broken down in the gut and therefore adds volume to waste in the digestive tract, which helps you feel full longer, keep bowel movements regular and help relieve constipation.
  • Fiber is great for the digestive system and also helps control weight, lower cholesterol, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Low on the glycemic index, which is ideal for those with diabetes or unstable blood sugar levels.
  • High in antioxidants, which help to reduce free radicals, fight aging, and are good for heart health.