When I first met Julie Morris, she instantly became my go-to gal for everything health and wellness related. With 5 superfood cookbooks on the market, Julie knows how to take these powerhouse ingredients and turn them into dishes even the pickiest eaters would love.
Now, Julie is here to let us in on another major health benefit: micronutrients.
photo credit: Oliver Barth
So much of life comes down to the little things. And when talking nutrition, this mantra couldn’t be more true! While most of us tackle diet issues focused on fat, protein, and carbohydrates (all macronutrients ), we often miss out on a whole other class of nutrients, known as micronutrients. Like their name suggests, micronutrients are nutrients we need in very small quantities, but are absolutely essential to our health and wellness! Eating with this kind of nutrient-density in mind – seeking more healthy micro-benefits per calorie of food you eat – is truly the cornerstone of eating well and living clean. Here’s what to look for in your diet to make sure you’re including enough micronutrients, and getting the most bang for your bite!
No, we’re not talking about taking vitamins, we’re talking about eating vitamins. A vitamin-rich diet is a wonderful way to promote everything from an enhanced immune system, better energy, to a more youthful glow. Whether it’s collagen-boosting Vitamin C or bone-building Vitamin K, all vitamins are beneficial, and you should look to get as diversified a range as possible through nutrient-dense whole foods. Some amazing vitamin-packed foods include:
- Berries (all kinds)
- Leafy Green Vegetables (like kale)
- Bell Peppers
More than 40% of American adults have a below-average intake of vitamins and minerals….and in many cases, it’s a lack of minerals that is the biggest culprit. That’s because refined and processed foods are largely devoid of these important nutrients, which becomes a serious issue as minerals collectively ensure the healthy function of every single organ and system in the body! From the iron that ensures our cardiovascular health to the zinc the keeps the immune system strong, seeking mineral-rich foods is undeniably essential to wellness. Mineral-dense foods include:
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Seaweed (like nori)
- Nuts & Seeds (like hemp seeds)
- Lentils & Beans
photo credit: Oliver Barth/ LA Food Photography
Here’s something about antioxidants you may not know – there are thousands of varieties of antioxidants, with more being discovered constantly! Each offers slightly different benefits: Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, promotes blood oxygenation and helps build the blood. Or carotene, the antioxidant found in carrots, is excellent for eye protection. Regardless of which antioxidant we’re talking about, one thing remains the same - antioxidants literally keep us young! They protect and heal our cells from the natural toll of living and aging. To get more antioxidants in your diet, eat natural foods in every color, such as:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Chia Seeds
- Green Beans
- Goji Berries
The best way to describe phytochemicals is micronutrients that are not vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants, but collected in the “other” category. They are naturally-occurring plant-based chemicals that have extraordinary powers to prevent disease, energize, and help us function at our peak. Some of the worlds’ top superfoods earn their “super” name primarily because of their phytochemical content, such as isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables like kale which have been shown to help prevent cancer. Phytochemical rich foods are almost always top-tier superfoods, and include:
- Medicinal Mushrooms (such as shiitake and cordyceps)
For more inspiration on what to do with these amazing ingredients, you can get recipes and in-depth information from my any one of my 5 cookbooks on superfoods. Or sign up to cook with me directly via my invigorating new plant-based culinary course with Vegetarian Times, Go Vegan: 30 Days To A Plant-Based Lifestyle.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.