The Disney classic, Mary Poppins, taught me that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Now, I wouldn’t suggest sprinkling sugar over your kale salad, but this maxim may still have merit. Let’s think of the “sugar” as the things we choose to eat and drink because we like the taste. The “medicine” is the stuff that we should probably be eating and drinking for its health benefits. We have been tricking ourselves into eating healthier since the advent of the blender. However, there are more ways to incorporate the foods and beverages that lead to a healthier life without buying real estate inside our local smoothie bar. Here are some examples:
Kale. Kale definitely has a taste and it can be overwhelming at first. However, like most things, the body acclimates the more you eat it. Kale has been shown to help boost the immune system as well as deliver similar nutrients to those found in all dark leafy greens. Throw some in with a smoothie or replace less helpful greens, like iceberg lettuce, in a salad.
Garlic. There have been some very interesting studies that demonstrate garlic has cancer-fighting and antimicrobial properties. Additionally, it has long been identified as a simple way to aid in heart health. Try garlic powder or salsa with your eggs. Anytime you are sautéing any meat or vegetable, start with 1-2 cloves in the pan.
Green Tea. There is an abundance of research surrounding regular green tea drinking. Haven’t developed a daily habit yet? Try making this your early afternoon slump drink. You get to cash in on all the benefits while receiving a mild caffeine boost right when you need it.
Ginger. The positive effects of ginger for gut health have been documented for centuries. It’s a great (and spicy) way to holistically assist with nausea, digestion, and headaches. Consider adding it to that afternoon green tea, sprinkling it into your smoothie, or making ginger lemon shots.
Almonds. Almonds incorporate high-quality monounsaturated fats, fiber, and protein into our daily life. Try eating a couple of handfuls instead of a bag of chips or an energy drink. As a caveat, make sure you stop after the 2 handfuls for a snack. You can eat too much of a good thing.
Blueberries. Looking for something sweet at night? Microwave frozen blueberries for 60 seconds and then stir in a tablespoon of almond butter. It’s a sweet and savory way to get some last-minute antioxidants, protein, and fiber without putting you in a sugar coma.
Written by: Joe Saglimbeni