5 Latin American Superfoods to BOOST Mental Health!
Superfoods are plant-based food items with very high amounts of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, antioxidants and fiber! I have personally experienced the amazing healing benefits of many of these foods, as well as dozens of my clients and now you! The tasty superfoods mentioned in this article all originate from Latin America and the Caribbean Islands! Let’s see how we can use these traditional foods to help heal ourselves mentally and physically!
So much of our mental health and wellness can be managed and healed by the foods that we consume on a daily basis! Yes! You can improve your mental wellbeing drastically by consuming foods that are hydrating, packed with vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to thrive as well as foods packed with antioxidants!
When we stay hydrated, this means increased blood flow throughout the body. In turn making more oxygen available to the brain! When we eat whole and nutrient dense foods packed with vitamins and minerals, we give our bodies the perfect balance of nutrients. They work together beautifully to help ourselves maintain optimal mental health! When we consume colorful foods rich with antioxidants, we protect our cells and improve our genetic expression.
Yes please, to all of it!
The mind and body want to heal themselves and want to perform as optimally as possible! By eating anti-inflammatory, plant based and nutrient dense foods, we also help to reduce inflammation in the brain. When inflammation in the brain is reduced, symptoms that we experience from anxiety and depression are dramatically reduced as well!
When your hectic daily life becomes too much- turn to these foods for the boost you need. Expect improved mental clarity, a more elevated mood state and higher energy levels! You got this!
Cacao is very rich in magnesium and has a very high antioxidant value. Magnesium is responsible for calming our nerves as well as creating balance within our mental and emotional states. Considering that over 70% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium, you’ll want to invest in this Superfood! Cacao originates from the Cocoa Plant and is one of the purest forms of chocolate we can consume. I love to add one tablespoon of Cacao Powder to my morning smoothie for an extra boost of energy and amazing mental clarity! It is seriously so delicious, it’s ridiculous.
Quinoa has been growing in the South American Andes for thousands of years. It is referred to as “The Mother Grain” as it is has more Calcium than milk and has the highest healthy fat content of any other grain available to us! They are such a great source of Iron and B-Vitamins. You can use Quinoa as a healthy replacement for white rice!
Chia Seeds are one of the highest quality sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. They encourage amazing blood flow throughout the body helping to prevent circulation issues and heart disease. They lower blood pressure as well! If you’re an athlete or exercise on a regular basis, they make an awesome pre-workout meal! They give you all of the energy you need to power you through your training. You can add Chia Seeds to your oatmeal or make some Chia Seed Pudding! Be sure to add in some fruit for extra flavor and sweetness!
Yuca! Just thinking about this delicious Latin American superfood is making me crave some Pasteles de Yuca that we eat around Christmas time! This root vegetable is packed with dietary fiber and delicious complex carbohydrates to help aid in our daily digestion! This helps us maintain a healthy weight and a healthy digestive tract. A healthy digestive tract filled with balanced gut flora equals an improved and elevated mood state! Yuca also contains high amounts of Vitamin C, giving our immune system the boost it needs! Remember to purchase all root veggies organic when possible for maximum nutritional benefits!
Avocado is well known for it’s high quality, easily digestible healthy fat content in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids. This not only helps keep our skin healthy and aid in our digestion, it helps to improve our mental health drastically! You can add Avocado as a side to your favorite Caribbean meals. Speaking of Caribbean meals, let me tell you guys a little bit about this incredible business that I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with that inspired me to create this article.
Loisa was created by Scott y Kenny out of genuine love and admiration for the Latino Culture and Community. When I first saw their account on Instagram I got so excited to see a business taking a more Organic and Ethical approach to the way that we, as Latinos, prep and season our food! I fell in LOVE with this business and their products for a number of reasons!
The FIRST reason being that they are VEGAN! No added dairy product as fillers, NO MSG, ZERO Preservatives and NO Artificial Coloring/Flavors added! This is a Healthy Plant Based Vegan Nutritionists’ dream you guys.
Second being that they are a smaller company with a more ethical mission statement that I can stand behind. I most CERTAINLY cannot say the same for Goya Products as I feel they do not genuinely have the best interest of the Latino population that they serve in mind. Too monopolized and too filled with chemicals. I give the biggest thanks to Loisa for feeding tradition the ethical way!
To get more Avocado and honest Latin flavor in your life, check out my Puerto Rican “Beef” Stew recipe featured here!
Wishing you the best in health!
eCornell Nutritionist, Holistic Health + Empowerment Educator
Instagram | @HolisticSamantha