Not only are eggs one of my favorite foods, but they are super beneficial to helping the body function optimally. The yolks are very high in healthy fats and protein. For every 100 grams of eggs you eat you are getting 11 grams of saturated fat and 12.6 grams of protein. The yolks are rich in vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, D and choline; as well as phosphorous and zinc. Although there is a fair amount of cholesterol in the yolk, this cholesterol is not linked with serum cholesterol (which is the cholesterol that doctors are concerned with). It’s a huge myth that eating egg yolks daily will raise your cholesterol! In fact, taking in cholesterol actually helps the liver out! You see, the liver actually has to produce cholesterol every day, but if we eat some through natural foods it has to produce less. When purchasing eggs, the best choice are those from a local farm that do not feed the chickens soy or corn meal. Chickens are grazers and should have access to roam and eat grass and insects. The best eggs are going to be organic, pasture-raised from a farmer you can trust. Eggs range a lot in price based on the quality of the environment the chickens are in and what they are eating. My advice is to find a local farmer (most farmers are cheaper than in-store prices) or buy eggs at your local farmer's market for optimum nutrients. The color of a yolk says a lot about it's nutrient profile, the darker orange (verses pale yellow), the more minerals and vitamins you will be eating! To find a local farm near you click HERE.
2) Spinach or Kale
Eating some form of dark leafy greens every single day is a good habit. Spinach is packed with iron, folate, B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and many others! Kale is rich in vitamin K, C, E, B2, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and fiber. All of these are vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function optimally. Leafy greens will also help your liver detox all of the junk it absorbs from nutrient poor foods, pollutants, chemicals, and alcohol. I highly recommend buying organic greens as the leaves of plants have direct contact with any pesticides used on non-organic plants. Some easy ways I incorporate dark leafy greens daily include: adding 1 cup of sautéed spinach or kale to my frittata for breakfast, sautéing kale to go with fried eggs, adding 2 handfuls of spinach to a smoothie, or eating them as the base of my salad for lunch.
This is a more recent addition to my routine and I’m definitely seeing results. Collagen is a type of protein that makes up a lot of our hair, skin, nails, ligaments, and tendon tissues. I've talked about the benefits of collagen previously in this blog post. Consuming collagen peptides helps make up for not eating animals “head-to-toe” (meaning cartilage, ligaments, or other collagenous tissues) like our ancestors use to. Collagen will help support and strengthen your joints, cartilage, nails, hair and skin. In addition, it can be beneficial in supporting a healthy gut, as it strengthens the lining of the digestive tract. Collagen comes in a powder form that is flavorless and can be added to hot or cold beverages/food like coffee, tea, smoothies, oatmeal and just about everything in between. I even have a Brownie Protein Bite recipe that has some collagen in it. Adding collagen to your morning routine will liking help keep you full longer as well. When purchasing collagen peptides make sure they are produced from grass-fed cows!
4) Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil or straight up avocado!
These healthy fats are a little controversial in the nutrition world, but a lot of research is being done and it’s showing that there is a benefit to the saturated fat from coconut and the monounsaturated fat from avocado. Saturated fat found in coconuts is made from medium chain triglycerides (MCT). These MCTs are digested differently than other fats and can be used for energy almost right away. Avocados are primarily made of monounsaturated fats, which is the "heart healthy" fat and may help lower cholesterol. Avocados are also lower in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats which has been linked to promote inflammation in the body (very BAD!). Both coconut and avocado oil are still high in fat though, so remember to limit your intake to ½-1 TBSP per sitting of these oils. One thing to mention, get organic unrefined (virgin) coconut oil, not the refined stuff!
5) Sauerkraut, Kombucha, or a probiotic supplement
Raw fermented vegetables like sauerkraut can have a big impact on the health of your gut. A healthy gut is key to our overall well-being as 75% of our immune system is located in our intestines. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, Kombucha (fermented tea), well-sourced whole-milk yogurt, kefir, and kimchi are great natural sources of the healthy probiotics that will support good gut bacteria. Supplementing with probiotics either with food or in a pill form has been shown to be beneficial in a variety of autoimmune conditions like IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, and autoimmune thyroid disease. In addition, restoring the balance of gut microflora has a direct effect on the tight junctions that line the intestines which can help heal leaky gut.