Imagine a type of food powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood. Did I mention that there are no side effects? You’d surely stock up on a lifetime supply, right? Guess what? Yerba mate offers you all of these benefits, since it is essentially a super food.
By now you all know that I am a absolutely a huge fan of yerba mate. It is a huge part of my life and my daily diet. I bet I could go on and on about the benefits of drinking yerba mate, but actually instead of talking about yerba mate itself, I’d like to go ahead and talk about super foods instead.
For those of you who have no idea what super foods are, here is a quick explanation. Super foods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients – nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. We all may be adding more salads and vegetables to our diets, but concern over the quality of foods grown on mineral depleted soils makes Superfoods an intelligent choice.
Ever since I started this blog I have gotten all sorts of emails from folks wondering about what would be the best food to match their yerba mate drink. A while back, I did write a post about the best foods to eat with yerba mate, but I didn’t really pay attention to the nutritional values of the snacks I listed there. Through the feedback I have been getting, I’m noticing that many of you are looking to yerba mate as a means to lose weight and/or to improve your daily diet. Although I am by no means a nutritionist, I went ahead and did some research online and I found out that there are a great number of snacks based on the so-called “protein-rich grains”, which could be a good choice for those of you who are looking to substitute meat with a more healthy substance.
Beyond lean meat-based proteins such as fish, many plants offer significant sources of protein. I turns out, chia seeds were revered by the ancient Aztecs for their capability to provide energy; I read that the fierce Aztec warriors kept a small pouch packed with these seeds and consumed them before going into battle. The next occasion you’re shopping for healthy snacks to eat while drinking mate, consider purchasing those containing plant proteins. Many nutrition and granola bars incorporate the benefits of both chia seeds and ancient grains. Here’s what you should find out about protein-rich meat alternatives.
This tiny, ancient grain is really amazing: it is one of only a few complete samples of protine on the globe. Originally cultivated by the Incas, it has recently gained international attention as a super food. While most foods need to be paired to be able to obtain all of the essential amino acids, quinoa offers all of the essential amino acids in a single minuscule, very potent package. Consuming one cup of cooked quinoa provides approximately 10-15 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. It also contains healthy numbers of vitamin E and iron.
Both the Mayan and Aztec civilization enjoyed the benefits of the chia seed. Its name literally means strength, helping to make sense because this little seed offers not just protein but omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, and lots of great antioxidants. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, chia seeds tested high for major antioxidant activity. When soaked in liquid, they form a gel-like substance which many cultures enjoy as a pudding or in baked goods. They can be consumed raw, sprinkled on anything from oatmeal to salads, offering a gentle, nutty flavor. Two tablespoons yields 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of healthy fats.
The Aztecs knew their super foods; evidence supports that both the Aztecs and Incas cultivated Amaranth. This ancient grain is gluten-free, and exists as a complete protein. It offers significant amounts of iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus together with fiber and calcium. It also includes most of the essential amino acids, turning it into a genuinely super grain. Traditionally prepared as a type of porridge, it can also be enjoyed in baked goods when used as flour. This ancient grain can also help reduce cholesterol; a 1996 study found that chickens fed amaranth and amaranth oil showed a 10-30% loss of total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Well, this is all I found out for now. I hope this post has been helpful to some of you out there. If you have any more tips to share, please feel free to leave a comment below. I wish everybody a great weekend!