Top 10 Summer Superfoods

by CINDY MISKOWIEC & CHRISTIE REID of Synchronicity Wellness

Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means… an abundance of fresh, local foods will be available at your local farms and farmers markets. You can find everything you need from fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry and dairy, to sweet treats, flowers and even soaps and essential oils.

The benefit of eating locally and seasonally is that you get the best tasting, healthiest food available. The same reasons that keep the cost of seasonal food down also drive its quality up — the food is grown closer to you so it doesn’t spoil on its trip, it’s harvested at the peak of its season, and sold before it spoils. Ideally, this means you’re getting fruits and vegetables that haven’t had time to lose their flavor or their health benefits by sitting in a shipping container for a trip across the ocean. This locally grown food has the best quality of freshness, nutrition and taste.

One of our favorite places to shop for local foods and other local products are farmers markets. Bend is fortunate enough to have many great farmers markets including the Bend Farmers Market which starts on May 2 and the NW Crossing Farmers Market which starts on June 16. We also love shopping at Central Oregon Locavore. Locavore provides access to local food year-round as Bend’s only indoor farmers market, as well as offering various educational programs to community members, students, farmers, ranchers and producers.

Healthy eating is about eating smart and enjoying your food. Nutrition is the process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism and repair. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can improve your energy, health and happiness. We wanted to share our Top Ten Summer Superfoods, all of which you can find at your local farmers market or Central Oregon Locavore. We love these foods because they have so many great health benefits and are all great at reducing stress which is one of the areas we focus on in our practice.

These low sugar super fruits are packed with antioxidants, vitamins C and E, magnesium and manganese, making them great stress relievers. Research has shown that eating blueberries regularly can also help ease depression, insomnia and other mood disorders that can be triggered by or contributed to stress.

Almonds provide high levels of vitamins B2 and E, magnesium, zinc, selenium and healthy oils that provide stress-busting benefits. Enjoy a handful a day — raw or roasted. And don’t forget to toss almonds in your desserts and baked goods. In addition to almonds, walnuts and pistachios lower your stress hormones, reduce your blood pressure and boost your energy level.

Dark green vegetables like spinach are rich in vitamins A, B and C. Spinach also contains high levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus that help reduce stress hormones in the body and stabilize your mood. One cup of spinach each day can have relaxing, calming effects on the body. There are so many ways to include spinach in your diet — add it to your wrap, omelet, sandwich or salad.

Fiber, potassium, healthy fat, minerals, protein and vitamins C and E — all found in avocados and all nutrients that help regulate stress hormones by keeping your nerves and brain cells healthy. Eating one-half or whole avocado daily can significantly lower your blood pressure level and reduce your stress hormone level. Avocados are great plain, on salads, sandwiches or in a smoothie.

Lots of omega-3 fatty acids with strong anti-inflammatory effects make salmon a great superfood. Omega-3 fatty acids boost brain chemicals like serotonin that help maintain that happy feeling and regulate stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. And, omega-3 fatty acids help the brain function at a higher level. Try to eat two or three servings of salmon per week.

Yogurt is loaded with calcium, protein, vitamins and good-for-you-bacteria known as probiotics. It can help decrease the risk of osteoporosis and contains 20 percent more protein than milk per serving. But, you have to stick with organic or Greek yogurt in order to take advantage of all the benefits.

Green Tea
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins — all of which have a calming and positive effect on the mind and body. Green tea also contains an amino acid called theanine that promotes relaxation and improves focus and attention. Try substituting green tea for your morning cup of coffee and see if you can feel the difference.

Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains theobromine which is a natural mood elevator, and magnesium which helps fight stress, fatigue, depression and irritability. Research has shown that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day can greatly reduce the level of stress hormones in the body. Organic, raw chocolate will be your best choice.

The perfect snack, oranges boast a wealth of nutritious benefits and they provide over 100 percent of the daily value for vitamin C making them an immune-boosting superfood. Oranges are a good source of B1 and folate for proper brain development, potassium to maintain electrolyte balance, calcium for healthy teeth and bones, and over 170 antioxidants. The vitamin C and antioxidants help boost immunity and fight free radicals, which are released in the body when you feel stressed.

Brown Rice
Brown rice contains generous amounts of B vitamins, which are important for maintaining cells, tissues and organs. They work as natural mood stabilizers and help in biochemical reactions involved in brain function, healthy red blood cells, immunity and cardiac functioning. When you get an adequate amount of B vitamins, you’ll be better able to fight off stress and other mood disorders.

About Synchronicity Wellness
We started Synchronicity Wellness to help individuals make positive dietary and lifestyle changes to improve their health. Specifically we help with weight management, stress management and digestive issues. We both have improved our own health immensely by making these types of changes and that’s really what brought us into this profession. Most approaches to healthy eating dwell on calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Instead of creating lists of restrictions and good and bad foods, we work with our clients to explore basic improvements and implement gradual changes during our work together. As these pieces accumulate, our clients find these changes collectively creating a much larger impact than they originally anticipated. We work on what they want to improve within the circumstances of their unique situation. We practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that we look at how all areas of your life are connected. Does stress at your job or in your relationship(s) cause you to overeat? Does lack of sleep or low energy prevent you from exercising? As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole.

photos courtesy of Synchronicity Wellness Center

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