The Powders and Seeds Filling our Instagrams: Health Benefits and How to Use them.

The rise of the Acai bowl is here. Long gone are the days where we would start our day with a bowl of Weetabix topped with a sprinkling (coating) of sugar and we felt confident that we had started the day in a substantial way. Instead, open Instagram or YouTube and suddenly powders and seeds and nibs and flakes have become the Holy Grail of nutrients and with the sheer number of them it can be difficult to know where to begin and what each ingredient does and how to use them. Therefore, I have put together a little selection of some of the superfoods to create a guide to help you quickly decide on the right nutrient for you body.

  1. Chai Seeds

Benefits: High in antioxidants, fibre, protein and Omega-3; good for the heart, bones and diabetes; helps digestion; and fuels your energy levels.

Directions: Add to water; blend into smoothies; sprinkle on salads or yogurt; add to porridge; make Chai Seed pudding; and can be used as egg substitutes when baking.

  1. Flax Seeds

Benefits: High in fibre and Omega-3; good for skin and hair; aids weight loss; lowers cholesterol; high in antioxidants; helps digestions; cancer prevention; and benefits menopausal women.

Directions: Grind and add to smoothies, yogurt and porridge; bake into muffins or pancakes; and soak and sprinkle on salads.

  1. Hemp Seeds

Benefits: Rich in GLA; helps arthritis and joints; aids weight loss; high in fibre to aid digestion; good for skin, hair and nails; cancer prevention; and good for the heart.

Directions: No need to soak. Add to smoothies or oats; sprinkle on salads or yogurt; and buy hemp protein powder.

  1. Sesame Seeds

Benefits: Lowers blood pressure; cancer prevention; good for diabetes, bones and digestion; anti-inflammatory; good for skin, hair, nails and teeth; and high in protein to boost energy levels;

Directions: Sprinkle on salads and yogurt; add to smoothies; mix into bread; and use sesame oil.

  1. Pumpkin Seeds

Benefits: Rich in magnesium, zinc and Omega-3; benefits for menopausal women, prostate and diabetes; good for the heart and liver; helps sleep; and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Directions: Add to oats; sprinkle on salads; and eat with other nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

  1. Acai

Benefits: Good for the heart, cells and skin; aids weight loss; high in fibre to aid digestion; reduces irritation; boosts energy; increases libido; and improves mental function.

Directions: Add powder to smoothies, protein shakes, yogurt and acai bowls; and eat the berries; and drink juice form.

  1. Spirulina

Benefits: Eliminates Candida; cancer prevention; lowers blood pressure; reduces cholesterol; boosts energy; and speeds up weight loss.

Directions: Add powder to smoothies, protein shakes, yogurt and oats; and take in tablet form.

  1. Maca

Benefits: Rich in vitamins and mineral; increases libido; helps balance hormones; boosts energy; good for the skin; and increases mental energy levels.

Directions: Add to smoothies and protein shakes; add to baked goods such as energy balls, brownies, granola bars; and add to oats and cereals.

  1. Cacao

Benefits: Natural mood booster; rich in magnesium and antioxidants; good for hair, nails and skin; helps sleep; fights inflammation; and improves blood pressure and cholesterol.

Directions: Add powder to smoothies and oats; replace coco powder when baking; add nibs to granola and energy balls, and sprinkle on oats, smoothie bowls and fruit.

  1. Baobab

Benefits: High in vitamin C, magnesium and calcium; high in fibre; antioxidant properties; boosts energy levels; good for the skin; and supports immune system.

Directions: Add powder to yogurt, milk, smoothies, oats and protein shakes.

  1. Turmeric

Benefits: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; increases brain function; lowers risk of heart disease; cancer prevention; helps arthritis; benefits against depression; anti-aging properties; and helps IBS.

Directions: Add to scrambled eggs, roast on vegetables; add to rice, quinoa and other grains; and add to smoothies.

  1. Coconut flakes

Benefits: High in fibre; high in protein; contains iron and zinc; boosts energy; healthy source of fat; good for the skin; and increases metabolism.

Directions: Sprinkle on oats and yogurt; and eat with fruit and nuts.

  1. Kombucha

Benefits: Aids digestions; promotes weight loss; helps detox the body; cancer prevention; boosts energy; immune support; and reduces joint pain.

Directions: Drink it.

  1. Frozen Berries

Benefits: High in fibre; high in protein; rich in vitamins and minerals; contains natural sugars; and contain antioxidants

Directions: Add to smoothies; sprinkle on ice-cream, oats and yogurt; and eat them whole.

I hope that this post helps gives you more of an idea what people mean when they talk about adding maca powder to their morning smoothies and more importantly, why they include it.

I already have started to include a few of these ingredients into my diet such as chai and flax seeds. Once I return back home to the UK from my year abroad in Madrid in the middle of July and I have access to things like a blender and a bigger fridge, I will be doing a huge haul of superfoods and will start experimenting with new recipes and ingredients including the ones on this list. I’ll blog my progress so make sure to follow me on here and on my Instagram to keep updated on the tips and tricks I learn along the way.

If you have any tips or tricks for me or any other superfoods that you think I or anyone else should try in the mean time, please stick it in the comments!

xo

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