(Photo curtesy of Darya Pino)
I eat avocados pretty much every single day…there are so many amazing health benefits of eating avocados but here I can only share five reasons why!
- Avocados are full of healthy fats – in particular monounsaturated oleic acid which has been shown to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). Oleic acid also helps reduce blood pressure and alleviates type 2 diabetes. Avocados therefore are good for your heart and may reduce heart disease.
- Avocados are full of super vitamins and minerals – vitamins A (healthy skin), B (healthy nervous system), C (supports immune system), E (healthy circulation), K (healthy bones), potassium (regulates blood pressure) and magnesium (lowers anxiety and stress).
- Avocados contain lots of phytonutrients – these clever little things can help prevent cancer. Carotenoids have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast and oral cancers. Letein has been shown to reduce breast cancer.
- Avocados are very low in sugars – unlike other fruits avocados have a very low sugar content so won’t cause those sugar highs and lows!
- Avocados protect your skin – the carotenoids present in avocados have been seen to reduce UV damage to the skin. They are also high in antioxidants which help protect against the free radicals that cause those wrinkles!
Avocados are super easy to add to any meal and guacamole makes a delicious dip for any time of day!
Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds of the plant Salvia Hispanica. Chia means ‘strength’ in South America where these little seeds have been consumed for hundreds of years… I eat them everyday in my yogi breakfast and here are 5 reasons why….
- Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants – chia seeds are one of nature’s richest antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight the free radicals that cause cancer and ageing. They not only repair damaged cells but can donate electrons to stabilise free radicals.
- Chia seeds are a super good source of protein – a diet high in protein prevents us from snacking. Protein is also important for muscle repair as well as the growth of hormones and enzymes that are vital to a healthy functioning body.
- Chia seeds are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids – in particular the alpha-linolenic fatty acid which is known to lower blood pressure, act as an anti inflammatory, increase HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol.)
- Chia seeds contain Quercetin – which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and anti-cancer properties. Quercetin also helps boost our energy levels.
- Chia seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals – calcium (healthy bones), magnesium (increases energy), manganese (helps absorb vitamins), zinc (healthy functioning of immune and digestive system), potassium, (enhances metabolism), vitamin B (healthy blood) and copper (reduces cholesterol).
Chia seeds are so versatile to use:
- Sprinkle on porridge
- Sprinkle on meat or fish
- Add to salads
- Mixix with yoghurt
- Add them to your baking – mix with muffins or banana bread
- Soak with almond milk and cinnamon for a yummy chia pudding!
This week I was asked why flaxseeds are so good for you and I didn’t have a particularly good answer so I wanted to do a little research. Here are 5 reasons why….
- Flaxseeds are super high in Omega 3 fatty acids – these beauties are one of the most nutritious fats you could eat. In particular it is the ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) in the flax seeds that have been show to help prevent heart disease and autoimmune diseases. We tend to eat a much higher ratio of Omega 6 (found in vegetable oils) compared to Omega 3 fatty acids so flax seeds are a really simple way to up your Omega 3 intake.
- Flaxseeds are powerful antioxidants – they contain lignans which help protect against free radicals which can cause cancer and other diseases.
- Flaxseeds could help prevent diabetes – low glycemic index foods (foods that don’t cause a sudden sugar spike) containing fibre have been shown reduce insulin resistance. Diabetes is just one of the many diseases that is caused by insulin resistance.
- Flaxseeds are high in fibre – this not only promotes a healthy digestive tract but also lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and therefore helps prevent heart disease.
- Flaxseeds help prevent cancer –there has been significant evidence showing that the lignans present in flaxseeds can protect against breast cancer and prostate cancer by interfering with tumour cell growth.
The best way to get all the wonderful nutrients from flaxseeds is to eat them ground rather than whole. Sprinkle them on your porridge, add them to cakes when baking or to your smoothies.
Click here for my recipe for Flaxseed Banana Bread.
Last week in my yoga classes I decided to talk about the breath and why it is so important for us to stop and take a moment to focus on our breath… Here are five reasons why….
- Become present – by focusing in on the breath we become present. Our breath is something that is always with us. We miss so many of the wonderful moments in life by forever living in the past or thinking about the future. Becoming aware of our breath brings us back to the moment we should be living in. I heard in a yoga class the other day that on average we have 16,000 and 96,000 thoughts a day….That’s a heck of a lot of thoughts to try and switch off from!
- Monitor your feelings – by tuning into the breath we can become more aware of how we feel. If we are feeling anxious or stressed then perhaps our breath has become short and restricted. By becoming aware of your breath patterns you can start to find ways of using the breath to look after yourself and create mental and emotional stability.
- Meditate on the breath – if you haven’t tried meditation before, focusing on your own breath is a really good place to start. Using the breath to meditate can help us see more clearly. It can help us create more space to become aware that whatever we are feeling right now will pass, that emotions are constantly changing and that we are not stuck in this moment.
- Relinquish control – we are not in control of our breath, breathing just happens. Our breath is automatic, just as blood pumps through your veins, just as we aren’t in control of the weather or every single emotion that comes to pass. By focusing on the breath we start to slow down and realise that we can’t always fix or change things. That sometimes it is better to simply let go.
- Create a bit of calm and peace – by concentrating on the breath, and in particular your exhalation, your parasympathetic nervous system starts to kick in. This is our “rest and digest” mode which helps us feel more centered, more calm, more relaxed and content.
So next time you have a spare moment, just breathe!
Image curtesy of Flickr and Michal Huniewicz