What does “superfood” even mean?
Superfood is a trendy term that is often associated with nutrient dense foods.
There are no set criteria for defining superfoods and some health experts have even called the term a marketing ploy. But the truth is that there is no downside to including these nourishing foods in your diet as long as you keep it varied and don’t discount other healthy foods. In fact, superfoods are packed with large doses of specific nutrients linked with a multitude of health benefits. These nutrients range from free radical fighting antioxidants to anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids.
But what if I am following a low FODMAP diet?
One of the most frustrating things about having IBS is that a lot of healthy nutrient-dense foods wreak havoc and bring on a slew of digestive symptoms like painful bloating, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation and acid reflux. For example lentils and avocado have both been touted as super foods. They are both filled with healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals but for someone sensitive to FODMAPs they can also be a total nightmare.
The good news is that there are plenty of low FODMAP superfoods.
Including a few servings of these foods into your day can bring benefits such as improved energy levels, more youthful glowing skin, increased mental focus and even a better mood!
Check out this list of some of my personal favorites low FODMAP superfoods:
Blueberries: These super sweet berries are one of the most nutritious, antioxidant-rich types of fruit in the world. They have been shown to do everything from enhance brain health to keep your heart strong. Plus, in addition to the long list of health benefits that blueberries tote, this fruit is also low in calories and delicious.
Kale: Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more. Keep in mind that iron from plant foods is harder for the body to absorb but you can improve absorption of nonheme iron by combining iron rich plant foods with foods high in vit C. For example add sliced oranges to a kale or spinach salad, squeeze greens w. Fresh lemon or include sliced red pepper. Kale is also high in vit K, A, and calcium making it a great food to support bone health. It also provides fiber and sulfur which both assist in the body’s natural detoxification process and keep your liver healthy.
Salmon: Fatty varieties of fish like salmon are high in heart-healthy omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids that can decrease inflammation, boost brain health and keep your heart strong. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends including a 3.5 oz. serving of cooked fish (especially fatty fish) in your diet at least twice a week. Other types of fatty fish include mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna.
Flax & Chia Seeds: Both varieties of these seeds contain plant-based protein and provide anti-inflammatory ALA omega 3 fatty acids. If you can find sprouted seeds they are easier to digest and absorb nutrient benefits from.
Hemp Seeds: One of the most well-rounded and balanced of the “superseeds”, just 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 6 grams of healthy fats, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. One unique characteristic of hemp seeds is that they contain all of the essential amino acids which is uncommon for sources of plant protein.
Quinoa: While it is commonly known as an “ancient grain,” quinoa is technically not a grain or cereal grain, but a seed, and does not contain gluten. Like hemp seeds, quinoa is one of the few plant foods that is classified as a complete protein. A one cup serving contains 8 grams of protein which is more than its common counterpart brown rice.
How do you incorporate superfoods into your daily routine?
Ideally you are consuming a wide variety of healthy foods that includes all types of fruits and veggies (not just the ones labeled “super”). The more variety of whole foods you include the wider range of nutrients you will benefit from.
To get started, here are a few simple ways to include low FODMAP superfoods into your diet:
Whip up a power packed breakfast smoothie with blueberries and kale.
Top plain oats with flax or chia seeds as a balanced breakfast or mini-meal.
Add a scoop of quinoa to lunch salads-many restaurants and healthier “fast food” joints now offer this as an option.
Cook an Asian inspired stir fry with salmon and vegetables for dinner.
Combine ½ cup cooked red quinoa with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, crumbled feta, olive oil and fresh lemon for a refreshing mediterranean salad.
Have more questions about following a low FODMAP diet? Contact Cori today for a free phone consultation.