9 foods that combat junk food blowouts
Haven’t quite recovered from the holiday blowout?
While the new year might be a chance to take up healthier habits – with the sun setting later, social season still in full-swing and the obligatory 3pm pick-me-up for the back to work slump, quitting junk food in Feb just looks so much more appealing (and achievable), right?
Well, if quitting sugar isn’t high on the agenda (yet!), you can still balance your bod out with some powerful superfoods to combat the heavy impact of the sweet stuff.
Read on for the experts top health foods to fight the effects of a junk food binge.
Note well! This is no permanent fix. It’s a short-term solution for when life gets a little blurry (so the green juice you have per Caramello Koala won’t cut it forever).
Try a homemade soup made from bone stock to replenish depleted minerals lost when in partying/living on McDonald’s mode.
“This warming liquid calms the digestive system (especially if you have a cold constitution) and feels instantly nourishing,” says Sydney-based naturopath, Anthia Koullouros. “Use bone stock to make broth – it’s packed with minerals, gelatin, amino acids and healthy fats which soothe an inflamed digestive system by soothing the mucous membranes that line it. The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid too – so it attracts and holds liquids (including digestive juices), thereby supporting proper digestion.”
Koullouros recommends adding light seasonal vegetables such as fresh herbs, greens and carrots.
While any probiotics are great for gut health and combatting the effects of too much sugar and alcohol, try a human probiotic.
“Progurt probiotics are human probiotic isolates that reflect the bacterial strains naturally found inside the human body,” says Kara Landau, Sydney-based dietician (@travellingdietician). “This means they have a more collaborative effect with probiotics, leading to an enhanced healing of our gut and reduction in inflammatory pathways which can be set off from too much junk food.”
Found in sachet form, Landau recommends mixing Progurt probiotics into bliss balls, smoothies, yoghurt or water for a simple health booster.
- Workout for free on Bodypass
3. Green herb salad
“Toss a salad together with bitter greens and leaves like endive, dandelions, rocket, radicchio, cos lettuce and herbs such as basil, mint, parsley, coriander. Then add an olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon or lime juice dressing,” recommends Koullouros.
“The freshness of the salad gives an instant good feeling – plus the bitterness from the greens stimulates digestion and absorption thanks to the rich chlorophyll content that acts as a blood cleanser. While the dressing in contrast, stimulates bile flow to aid fat digestion and the antioxidant content combats free radical damage caused by chemicals found in junk food.”
“Broccoli is great for restoring your body after junk food – it’s full of vitamins A, C, B6, K, E, chromium, manganese, potassium and copper,” says Hard Candy in-house nutritionist Gigi Cumbers (@healthbygigi).
“The chromium helps effectively combat blood sugar imbalances (and unstable blood sugars can cause nasty cravings and the likelihood of reaching out for more fast food) while the phytonutrients in it (such as indoles, sulphuraphane and glucosinolates) assist your liver function and help clean heavy chemicals, bad fats and toxins from the body.”
“Live micro-algae sources contain a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, as well as crucial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help fight inflammatory pathways set off from junk food consumption,” says Landau.
“When we consume too much junk food it raises our blood glucose levels and our body fights it by releasing insulin into our bloodstream to remove the glucose. High levels of insulin promote inflammation in our bodies – so by consuming an omega 3 densely packed food we can combat the negative effects to our body.”
Landau recommends blending a micro-algae supplement in a banana smoothie with kefir and honey for a potassium rich, probiotic and anti-viral punch.
6. Slippery elm bark powder
“Slippery elm is an anti-inflammatory herbal medicine that forms a protective layer in the intestines which nourishes and heals the ‘gaps’ (that form in the cell junctions of the intestinal walls) that allow particles of food and chemicals to enter our systems and contribute to a wide range of health issues,” says Cumbers.
“Not to mention the powder is also a form of fibre, so it will keep things moving in a healthy way.”
Cumbers recommends either mixing two teaspoons with water, sprinkling it on porridge or adding to your morning smoothie.
7. Fermented food
“Fermented food can help repopulate your gut with lots of good bacteria,” says Bodypass resident nutritionist Rachel Javes.
“Add a little Apple cider vinegar to your water, some sauerkraut to your salad and probiotics to your green smoothie.”
- Workout for free on Bodypass
8. Green smoothies
“A well balanced green smoothie with organic green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and silverbeet is an easy way to replenish the body with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants that are often missing in junk foods,” says Pressed Juices Bondi nutritionist Kim Figl.
“By adding high fibre healthy fats to it such as coconut flesh, avocado or chia seeds it will restore digestive function and aid in elimination – plus healthy fats assist in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.”
Figl recommends making sure to opt for a low sugar smoothie by sticking with fruit like berries.
“Quinoa is a classic superfood with tons of fibre that works to keep our gut healthy and prevent hypertension and type 2 diabetes. This is thanks to the high levels of quercetin – an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient that maintains healthy blood pressure and prevents diabetes,” says Cumbers.
“Nutrient wise – it contains vitamins b1, b2, b6, b9, iron and vit E which help give blood vessels elasticity and prevent inflammation and plaque build up plus it’s protein rich – important for body composition, immunity and balancing blood sugar levels.”
Cumbers recommends swapping it for rice when you next order Thai or Indian take away.
Liked this? Read these!
Got something to say? Get it off your chest here
The Juice Daily is a Fairfax Media owned website