Natural powdered supplements are my go to pick me ups when I'm feeling a little sluggish, unwell or malnourished and today I want to let you in on my top 3 favourites.
Hemp Protein Powder
I consider this more of a total nutritional supplement and started adding this into meals about 2 months ago as I began cutting meat out from my diet. There are countless different protein supplements on the market from soy, to whey (derived from the process of cheese production), to hemp. The reason I chose hemp protein is because of the added benefits that come with it. Hemp protein is derived from hemp seeds meaning it's all natural and plant based. It is a complete protein so it contains all of the essential amino acids we require for growth and muscle repair. Equally important for such processes are vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants and a host of other nutritional components – all of which are also found in hemp seeds. Hemp is the only protein source that contains Omega-3, it also contains Omega-6 making it a unique source of long chain fatty acids. It's high in potassium and iron too so another great option for vegetarians. When compared to whey protein it contains slightly less protein per gram but with all the added benefits that whey protein lacks it's definitely my choice.
Hints for use; sprinkle over cereals, yoghurts, granola or salads. Blend into juices or smoothies and bake into healthy treats!
Although the use of wheatgrass for health and healing can be traced to ancient Egypt, you may have heard of this little guy if you watched The Hills or the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Health and gym bunnies from L.A have sworn by these shots for years!
Wheatgrass is prepared from the common wheat plant. Importantly, however, the plant is harvested at the early stages of growth before jointing occurs, after which, its nutritional value declines sharply. At this early stage wheatgrass is abundant in chlorophyll, which gives the plant its vibrant green colour. It is truly one of natures super foods, packed with digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and essential amino acids. It also has cholesterol reducing, anti ageing and anti-inflammatory properties making a teaspoon worth its weight in gold. Wheatgrass is linked to improved digestive system function and constipation prevention and is often used as a natural treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux. I like to take it because of it's antioxidant and immune boosting properties, especially at this time of year with flu season approaching. Wheatgrass is a living, anti-bacterial food that helps to alkalise and detox your lymph glands and blood cells, thus allowing your body to remove toxins more quickly and efficiently. You can grow wheatgrass at home and juice it if you have a machine, if not taking it in powder form is just as powerful and is far more convenient.
Hints for use; Dilute a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder in some warm water and take like a shot (this powder does taste very "green" so most people will struggle with sipping it). Blend into smoothies or juices.
Maca, a root that originated over 2000 years ago in Peru, grown in the high plateaus of the Andes mountains is my go to for energy. It's taken as a nutritional supplement in powder form and traditionally has been used as medicine to treat people with various diseases, ailments and medical conditions.
A nutritionally dense super-food that contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids, if I was to add one supplement to my diet this would be it. Maca root is rich in B-vitamins, which are the energy vitamins, and is a vegetarian source of B-12, with high levels of bioavailable calcium and magnesium meaning it's great for re mineralization. The super powder has been demonstrated in several studies to boost energy levels, stamina and even enhance athletic performance. In addition it is a natural mood lifter and in that sense my help alleviate the symptoms of depression. It is considered an "adaptogen" which means that it helps the body adapt naturally to stress. It is also well renowned for its effectiveness in hormone regulation helping to reduce menopausal hot flashes, enhance fertility, regulate menstruation and treat menstrual cramps. In addition it is considered a natural fertility enhancer and is best known for improving libido and sexual function, especially in men. For this reason, it's earned the nickname "nature's Viagra".
Hints for use; Add 1tsp to muesli, salads, baked goods or smoothies. A caffeine free energiser that helps maintain optimal stamina and endurance this is my favourite thing to add into a shake before I go workout!
In the case of each of these supplements although they are all natural if you are currently pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication please consult your doctor before introducing them to your diet to avoid any negative drug/nutrient interactions.