We are confronted with supposed "health foods" every day. Some of which are affordable and easy to cook with, while others are more obscure and expensive. Some of the most popular health foods may be great for some and not so great for others so we look at the pros and cons of some common options available. We also give you a recipe with amazing super ingredients that really should be the focus of your health and wellness journey. 

Coconut oil 

The positives include its stability at high heat making it better and safer for cooking unlike other plant oils, which become toxic when degraded by heat, and its antibacterial and anti-viral effects on your body.

If added to a diet already high in saturated fat and unhealthy processed foods however, then you’re not doing your body any favours by upping even more calories. We use coconut oil in small amounts when roasting vegetables or in raw vegan recipes combined with clean fats like avocado, nuts, and organic milk. Buy organic where possible, and don't over do it unless you're eating 90% plant foods. 

Coffee 

Packed full of polyphenols which work as antioxidants to fight off free radicals in your body that cause damage to your cells, but of course too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect to what you want. Caffeine can cause elevated stress hormones, elevated blood pressure, headaches and anxiety which all lead to other more serious effects long term. Keep your coffee intake to 2-3 standard single shots a day with a couple of caffeine free days when you can and to be extra healthy avoid all the syrups, sugars and flavours and stick to a single or double shot with or without milk. 

Dried fruit in trail mixes

Adding large amounts of dried fruit to your snacks or nut mixes really does simply add more sugar. You can certainly add a small handful to mixed nuts and seeds but be careful about adding huge amounts if you're after weight loss as the concentrated sugar sources will do you no favours. Our top picks are small amounts of goji berries for their vitamin C content, and prunes if you need more fibre in your diet for regular bowel movements and to aid gut health. Buy organic where possible, and don't over do it. 

Low fat and weight loss products 

This is probably the most controversial one. Low fat dairy products are often lacking in nutritional value that was present in the fat portion of the product, and only a few products have those nutrients added back in post-process. In low-fat yoghurt, sugar and artificial flavours are often added to replace the lost taste when the fat is taken out. In non-dairy low fat products, often they're packed with more non-food than food items and are chemical messes of shelf-stable but harmful additives we just don't know how much damage they can cause. We prefer to eat food our body can recognise and use - avoid the packaged weight loss options at all costs. 

Training supplements and protein bars

This one is for the gym bunnies. Some amino acid based products and protein powders are amazing to repair training damage fast, and contribute to lean muscle gain. If you don’t buy from trusted and clean sources you will find you’re not gaining anything but damage to your body and goals. Some are packed full of different kinds of sugar, palm oil, and chemicals, and very little of what you actually want and need. Carb-less protein bars are often chemical packed and not at all healthy - avoid these, they're not worth the money. Focus on brands with ingredients 

Super food powders

We love some of the great quality and organic powders like maca, cacao, camu camu, matcha and spirulina that are available. While they offer you fantastic nutrients, they should never replace fresh produce in your diet, simply add to it. These are often pricey additions so we encourage you to get the basics right first before embarking on super foods you need to know how to use. 

Super food salad recipe | Green machine salad | Serves 2

We can easily get caught up in powders and potions but forget the fundamentals of health and wellness. Fresh vegetables, especially green ones should really be the basis of our meals and from there we can add great ingredients to boost nutritional density. Here we share a simple to make salad that is rich in essential vitamins and minerals and if eaten regularly will do your body and mind wonders. We use broccoli for liver support, we use goji to absorb non-haem iron, sesame for calcium, pumpkin seeds for zinc and immunity and lemon juice for alkalinity to name only a few. 

2 cups broccoli florets, chopped roughly but small
2 large handfuls of kale, sliced thin
2 large handfuls of watercress or perpetual spinach, sliced thin
2 tablespoons hemp, avocado or olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon goji berries
1 capful of ACV

Mix all the ingredients well and serve next to your choice of meat, chicken, fish, falafel or haloumi.