Are you tired of the coffee crashes and 3pm afternoon slump? Trust me, I’ve been there. When I was working in Advertising, 3 cups of coffee a day just wasn’t cutting it. I needed a clean, sustainable energy source that would nourish my cells on a deeper level, without the addiction or the crashes. Something that would balance my mood and keep me alert and focused throughout the day.
After going though Nutrition School, luckily I found the answer. Superfoods. Yup, and I don’t just mean kale, blueberries, and wild Alaskan salmon. While those are great, I’m referring to delicious plant products that are vibrant, nutritionally rich foods that offer tremendous dietary and healing potential. Superfoods are basically foods that are much richer in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, electrolytes and phytonutrients, and are much lower in calories. Because of this, they nourish our bodies on a very deep level, and are naturally packed with energy and mood-enhancing benefits.
Here are my 7 favorite superfoods to boost your mood and energy levels:
By far my favorite superfood, coined the “food of the Gods,” Cacao is harvested from an indigenous American jungle tree, is pure chocolate from the cacao bean (without the milk or sugar) and is one of highest anti-oxidant foods on the planet. Raw chocolate improves cardiovascular health, builds strong bones, speeds our metabolism, is a natural aphrodisiac, elevates our mood and energy, and increases longevity. 2.5 TBSP of raw cacoa powder has 70% more magnesium, 85% more potassium, 20% more iron, 75% more fiber, and 60X more antioxidants than 1 packed cup of spinach (Source: Navitas Naturals). I like to blend a TSP of cacao powder in my morning smoothie for a clean energy source that will last all day long. Try my LIV Superfood Power Protein smoothie. Be careful not to overdo it – this stuff is strong! My recommended daily consumption is 1 cacao bean per 17-22 pounds weight.
Maca is an Incan Superfood, also referred to as “Peruvian ginseng.” Prized for it’s energy boosting properties, and also very beneficial for hormone balance and thyroid disorders. Maca can be used for balancing hormones in both women and men, while also enhancing fertility. Use in moderation, as maca can be a strong energy and mood boosting superfood, while also enhancing strength and stamina. I typically add a teaspoon of maca powder to my morning smoothie or mixed in with homemade almond milk and hemp protein.
Goji berries are prized in Asian cultures as the “fountain of youth” berry. This berry is an “adaptogen,” a term used in the world of medicinal plants to describe a substance with a combination of therapeutic actions on the human body. An adaptogen invigorates and strengths the system, while helping the body to deal more easily with stress (Source: Superfoods by David Wolfe). Because of this, goji berries have been known to harmonize the energy of the adrenals and kidneys, resulting in enhanced energy, stamina, strength, and longevity. I eat goji berries raw or add goji powder to smoothies to experience their many benefits.
Hemp seed and oil is probably the oldest industry on the planet, going back more than ten thousand years. Hempseeds are packed with 33-37% pure digestible complete protein, with all of it’s original life-force energy and enzymes in tact (Source: Superfoods by David Wolfe). Plus, they’re packed with monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acids which are considered a healthy energy source for brain function and a quality beautifying oil. I love this protein powder in my smoothies. It’s easier for our bodies to digest and assimilate than other forms of protein, and I’ve found that it provides a clean sustainable energy source that lasts much longer.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae found in cold water lakes that is incredibly high in protein and a great source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and valuable nutrients. Because of the high concentration of protein and vitamins, Spirulina has been coined one of the most nutrient foods on the planet. It is also incredibly high in chlorophyll, which cleanses our blood and strengthens our immune system. In addition, spirulina can power better workouts and is known to increase fat burning during exercise, while reducing oxidation which leads to muscle fatigue. A little goes a long way and because spirulina is so concentrated, chances are you’ll feel the energy and health benefits from a small amount. I add 3 tsp to my morning smoothie or consume 3-6 tablets a day if I’m on the go for an extra energy boost between meetings.
Chia seeds are a longevity food, often coined the “runners food” because of the long burning energy source it provides runners. Chia seeds were an important food for the Mayansfor their ability to provide sustainable energy… in fact, chia is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” Loaded with protein, fiber, antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins – chia seeds have an important benefits for our brains and bodies. They areone of my favorite superfoods and can be added to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies or other wet foods. They expand so my recommendation is to soak them before for the best benefits and digestion.
Flax seeds and oil are one of the richest sources of Omega 3 fatty acids on the planet. Omega -3 fatty acids or “good fats” are critical for heart health and help fight inflammation, support brain function, energy production and more. Omega 3’s are also very important because they help to balance out the high percentage of Omega 6’s in our diet, which lead to inflammation and disease. Flax seed is also great for regularity and helping to keep our digestive system moving along. Eating in the morning is best, as I tend to find consuming at night may keep you awake longer. I grind up 3 tablespoons of flax seed in my coffee grinder, and add to my protein smoothie or on top of my oatmeal every morning.
There are so many other incredible superfoods that you can add to your diet to boost your energy and mood levels, like coconut, bee products ( royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis), aloe vera, seaweed and more, but these are my top 7!