This is a time where prioritising after our health on spiritual, mental and physical levels is absolutely necessary. Oftentimes it’s the little things that make all the difference, and natural foods are no exception to this rule.
While the act of adding in a few natural snacks might seem small, there are quite a few gifts from Mother Earth that can actually be enormously beneficial for our diets. Here are a few of our (tried and tested!) favourites.
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
If you’ve ever felt more cheerful after munching on some pepitas, there could be a few reasons as to why. These little gems are a major source of magnesium – an important mineral for regulating the body’s stress responses. An unfortunate cycle exists where stress depletes the body of magnesium… and low magnesium levels in turn intensify stress. Luckily for us, studies have reflected that increasing magnesium intake has the potential to ease the above.
Magnesium is also important for many of the neurotransmitters, hormones and enzymes involved in mood regulation. Research connects low magnesium intake with a higher risk for depression, suggesting that increasing magnesium may significantly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety; in some cases as effectively as an antidepressant drug.
Recommendation: Try mixing in a few handfuls with your morning porridge, or roasting and throwing some into a salad mix. Delicious!
This natural booster comes from a vegetable native to Peru. Here, the root (the edible part of the vegetable), is usually consumed as a ground powder. Used by Peruvian women for hundreds of years, studies have suggested that maca can alleviate menstrual cramps as well as symptoms of menopause.
Research has also linked maca to increased energy and performance. I can personally attest to this, and maca is often my substitute coffee – providing the same kind of energy boost, just without the caffeine low.
Recommendation: A teaspoon of maca powder blended in with a fruit smoothie will add an earthy, malty flavour. Yum.
A natural heavyweight, one tablespoon of chia provides us with 5 grams of fiber. And the cool thing is, because most of this soluble fiber – it works to slow down digestion. This gives us the feeling of being full, the perfect remedy for unconscious snacking habits. As well as this, Chia seeds are super rich in antioxidants, minerals and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Recommendation: Two words. Chia pudding! Enjoy!
Lion’s mane mushrooms
Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, lion’s mane is widely available and beneficial. Studies have shown that lion’s mane contains a number of natural health-promoting substances, including antioxidants and beta-glucan. This superfood has been linked with healing high cholesterol, depression, inflammation and Parkinson’s disease.
As well as all the above, lion’s mane is said to strengthen the immune system, stimulate digestion and even offer protection against cancer. Powerfully, studies have also found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines. This wonderful little mushroom continues to be studied in relation to cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.
Recommendation: Try and blend this in with a smoothie. Let’s just say this one has an acquired taste!
Remember when everyone became obsessed with this green powder a few years ago? There were a few good reasons.
Matcha can be described as the superhero of all green teas. Variation in harvest and production processes means that Matcha is the richest source of nutrients and natural antioxidants, of any green tea. Pretty cool. Consuming matcha has been linked with liver protection, improved heart health, aid with weight loss and increased brain function.
Recommendation: A iced matcha latte goes a long way. You can try out a vegan recipe here (I tend to substitute the milk option with soy, or oat milk… with an added scoop of vanilla ice cream!).
Small changes in diet, daily practice and perspective have the potential to shift us from ‘just surviving’ to thriving. If you’re feeling in need of a reset, why not try out the above or a few of our other practices? Stay safe, and we can’t wait to see you again soon.