The festive season is upon us. Work and farewell parties equal large meals, drinking and late nights, all of which take their toll on the body, increasing toxin levels and negatively affecting your health.
To help counteract the fun and damage of these celebrations, aim to include as many green superfoods as possible into your diet. Foods containing antioxidants are especially good for clearing out toxins, managing insulin and protecting the liver.
Here are five great superfoods that are available in Vietnam that, in my opinion, should be apart of everyone’s diet:
Bok Choy – a great source of Vitamin C & A as well as bone-healthy vitamin K, bok choy is a readily available vegetable in Vietnam containing a very rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and many vital phyto-nutrients. It also contains moderate levels of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium.
Other Green Leafy Vegetables – green vegetables of all kinds come loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help nourish the liver. Many also increase levels of glutathione, a vital element in the destruction of free radicals within the body. Vietnamese green leafy vegetables that are great to include and increase in your diet are water spinach or morning glory (rau muong), cabbage (bap cai), kohlrabi (su hao), and ceylon spinach (rau mong toi).
Okra (dau bap) – okra is a favourite of mine. It’s easy to cook, tastes great and is super healthy. Dau bap contains potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. It’s low in calories and has high dietary fibre content, so it fills you up before it provides too much energy to make you fat. Okra has been advocated to help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes making it a great vegetable for the festive season.
Green tea (tra xanh matcha) — green tea, especially concentrated, powdered matcha green tea, is known to contain powerful nutrients known as catechins that act as antioxidants in the body, combating free radicals within the blood, reducing liver inflammation and lowering the effects of oxidative stress on the digestive organs. For fat loss this is great as the liver plays a big role in the breakdown of fat within the body. Matcha tea also improves insulin sensitivity. Green tea elevates glucose uptake and supports fat burning making it a must have before any big meal/occasion, as it helps prevent carbs being converted to fat and stored. Green tea also detoxifies effectively and naturally, enhances mood and aids in concentration, and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
Fresh herbs (thao duoc tuoi) — a lot of people think that eating healthy doesn’t taste goo but eating healthy actually tastes amazing! Most of the fresh spices and herbs provide excellent antioxidant levels and health benefits. Oregano, parsley, turmeric, coriander and cilantro are great to boost glutathione production, which many experts call “the mother of all antioxidants”, and also lower inflammation. For example, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound helpful in restoring healthy blood pressure, improving circulation and fighting chemical accumulation. Raw garlic is another great natural flavour enhancer that contains excellent health benefits. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that has long been regarded as a powerful agent that lowers inflammation, helps strengthen the liver while also increasing circulation and healthy blood flow.
Enjoy the festive season while also being mindful of your health and weight. Include these vegetables and herbs in your diet to help you recover quickly and stay in shape.
Phil Kelly is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com ).