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The Athletic Club

of Overland Park
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19 Sep 2016

Diet and Lifestyle Trends: Functional Foods Part 1

Hello friends! Welcome to week 2 of our month long series where we explore current trends in the health industry! My goal each week, is to enlighten you all about each topic that is discussed. I hope that you will find these ideas informative and thought provoking, inspiring you to share them with others! With so many new trends being discovered regularly, expanding our horizons and educating ourselves is the best way to keep our bodies healthy!

This week we will be talking specifically about a few ‘functional foods’ and their remarkable benefits. Because there is so much information to be had on this topic, I will be splitting this week’s blog into two parts.

Functional foods (or Nutraceuticals) is a term that was originally coined in Japan in the mid 80’s, where they now have their own government sanctioned system for approving and classifying these foods; they are meant to offer a wide array of advantages beyond the traditional dietary purposes that they serve. They are said to potentially help prevent and fight disease, as well as ward off bacteria and infection, while offering you a chance at the optimal health you desire.
Green Tea Matcha
Grown only in Japan, and having been around for hundreds of years, this powdered green tea marvel is produced naturally without the need for artificial supplements or colors. It is traditionally sugar and gluten free and lends a myriad of incredible benefits!

Green Tea Matcha has an antioxidant level that is 137 times greater than brewed green tea, and 1573 times greater than ANY other ‘superfood’! It also helps by boosting your metabolism and energy levels, aiding in weight loss and keeps your blood sugar and cholesterol low. One of the best advantages are the cancer fighting catechins that cannot be found in ANY other food! The list goes on and on.

The best part is the fact that you get ALL of these benefits and nutrients because you are consuming the entire leaf, where typically you are only getting a small portion from brewing the leaf! Matcha comes in four different grades; kitchen, cafe, classic and ceremony. These grades are designated by when the leaves are picked impacting their flavor and quality. They each offer the same amount of nutrients and benefits. Kitchen and cafe grades are best for blending whereas classic and ceremony grades are best for drinking.

Matcha is becoming so widely popular that tea boutiques or ‘Matcha-terias’ are opening up all over the country specifically geared towards and built around this wonderful tea. It can be prepared many different ways, whether you add it as an ingredient in your morning smoothie or whisk it in a tea bowl with hot water. Try some today!
Avocado Oil
As many of you may already know, the avocado is a very popular ‘superfood’ that provides you with a good serving of oleic acid, which is a healthy fat that has been said to help control the symptoms of diabetes! Oleic acid is also the main element in olive oil. I’ll bet you didn’t know however, that the avocado also provides us with a healthy OIL that has many purposes aside from cooking!

Avocado oil is high in SO many beneficial nutrients including Omega 3 fatty acids that can help with blood pressure, cholesterol, depression and much more. Magnesium, potassium, Vitamins A, E and D, and even folate can also be gained from using this oil on a regular basis. Folate has been known to help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Growing up, my parents always used to tell me to eat my carrots because they were good for my eyes…now I know that avocado oil can help with that too! This oil is high in lutein, which is a carotenoid (fat soluble pigment found in many plants) that doubles as an antioxidant. Even though it already exists in your eyes, our bodies don’t naturally produce lutein so we need to absorb it from the foods we eat.

This oil has also been shown in some studies to help aid in healing wounds more rapidly, as well as contributing to clear and healthy skin. It can be applied directly to your skin to help with cuts and sunburns, moisturize dry patches on your body and scalp, and even calm the symptoms of Psoriasis. As well, it can be used as an excellent anti-aging component! In general, people who consume avocados and it’s oil are healthier overall! What doesn’t this oil do?!

As always, thank you for joining me! Please feel free to check out Part 2 of this week’s blog on ‘functional foods’ where I will discuss Kombucha! Don’t forget to stay positive and LOVE YOUR LIFE!!

For more information, please feel free to visit any of these sites –

Written by: Heather