Briana Owen, holistic health and nutrition specialist and chief science officer at Arizona-based Nrïsh Holistic Wellness & Weight Loss Program, is sharing five superfoods that will keep your energy levels high, help eliminate feeling hazy or irritable during the day and in turn improve sleep. Finally, breaking the chain once and for all.
We’ve all been there. You wake up after a so-so (at best) night sleep and immediately reach for the caffeine. After the cup of coffee wears off and brain fog kicks in, you fuel your body with more caffeine and sugar, which leads to another night of tossing and turning. While you don’t necessarily need to go cold turkey on your coffee, you can add foods into your diet that will help you get off the hamster wheel.
Not all carbs are created equal, and sweet potatoes are one type of carb that can drastically change your sleep and energy when they are incorporated daily. Sweet potatoes are a starchy carb rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Starchy carbs like sweet potatoes help your body produce short-chain fatty acids which we use for energy in our daily activities. Sweet potatoes also have the ability to cut cortisol (your body’s stress hormone), which can put you into more of a relaxed state, make your body feel safe and allow you to get a better night’s sleep. Including one sweet potato with dinner is a great way to boost sleep, recover and have energy for the next day.
Avocados are truly a unique superfood. They are referred to as a “good fat” and have definitely earned this label. The fat in avocados is monounsaturated fat. More specifically, it’s made of the omega-9 fatty acid, oleic acid. Oleic acid is anti-inflammatory, can reduce the risk of heart disease and is a major source of energy for our cells. Avocados are so rich in fiber they feed your good gut bacteria and can help you maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.
Wild blueberries are one of the richest antioxidant sources that plants have to offer. In fact, they have twice the amount of antioxidant potential as regular blueberries! Antioxidants help support immune function and promote a calm that initiates a restful night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep means more overall energy and clearer thinking throughout the day. As a bonus, antioxidants also fight against the aging process.
Broccoli sprouts are the sprout from a young broccoli seed. They are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family along with kale, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts–all foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals. Broccoli sprouts aid your body in detoxification. They also contain a plant compound called DIM that can help balance out your hormones through a healthy metabolism of estrogen. This can relieve some issues caused by estrogen imbalances common in women ages 35 and older. Hormone imbalances cause sleep disruptions, fatigue and water retention (weight gain), so consuming this superfood overtime will lead to better sleep and recovery with hormone balancing benefits.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that directly combat inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the root cause of all disease so it’s important that we keep bodily inflammation as low as possible. Back to salmon–the omega-3s in salmon are “essential fats” meaning you must get them from your diet because your body cannot create them. The Standard American diet is very high in omega-6s (inflammatory fats) and low in omega-3s. This imbalance in fatty acids throws off natural processes like sleep and recovery. By including more omega-3 rich foods, your body can focus on hormone health and get into a deeper sleep. Salmon is also high in protein, which aids in recovery. As an added tip, buying wild caught salmon ensures you get a higher amount of omega-3s compared to farm-raised fish.
For more on Nrish and its next 30-Day Challenge, visit nrish.com/30day.