I live in a relatively small town, so when I’m at the grocery store, there’s a good chance that I’m going to bump into one of my patients. And when I do, they always take a glance at what’s in my cart to confirm that I really do practice what I preach. Of course, my cart is generally loaded with minimally processed foods and lots of vegetables and fruits…but sometimes there’s a pint of ice cream in there too. Good health and good nutrition are not about endless sacrifice…and ice cream is a delicious treat. Get the good stuff, have a small amount, and enjoy it with one (or two or three or all) of the toppings below.
Who doesn’t love a bowl of delicious ice cream on a hot summer day? Homemade ice cream made with real ingredients is not going to hurt anyone, but some rather dangerous and heavily processed toppings may not sit well with you. Why not trade out those “not so great toppings” for these healthy alternatives so you can really enjoy your bowl of ice cream? Just be sure to shop local and organic when possible.
Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants that can help improve heart health and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. In addition, strawberries can help improve brain function, improve eye and skin health, and help reduce pain associated with arthritis and gout. Strawberries have a high polyphenolic content, which makes them helpful for powering the immune system and even helping to protect from some cancers and reduce the signs of premature aging.
This tropical treasure has an outstanding nutritional profile that includes vitamins and minerals that help to boost immunity, improve bone and eye health, and even help assist with digestion. The vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, and folate. Minerals in pineapple include potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. The flavonoids in pineapple help fight oxidative stress in the body that can lead to chronic conditions. Pineapple also contains bromelain, a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem.
Blueberries are often referred to as a superfruit. Low in calories but high in nutrients, blueberries are thought to have the highest antioxidant level of any common fruit or veggie, mainly flavonoids. There is some evidence that blueberries may have anti-diabetic properties and as cousins to cranberries, may help fight off urinary tract infections. One of the most well-known benefits of blueberries may be their impact on memory and thinking.
Whole Raw Almonds
Adding a tablespoon or so of fresh almonds to your ice cream is a great way to get a massive intake of nutrients. Almonds contain a potent amount of antioxidants, mostly in the brown skin. Almonds are also the world’s best source of vitamin E, which is necessary for building cell membranes and protecting cells from oxidative damage. Numerous studies have linked vitamin E intake to reduced rates of heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s. Almonds can also help balance blood sugar, and because they contain magnesium, they are also good at helping the body regulate blood pressure.
Dark chocolate chunks
The rich taste of dark chocolate added to ice cream seems to be a favorite of many. High-quality dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients and has a number of health benefits. First of all dark chocolate (75%-85% cocoa) contains organic compounds that act like antioxidants. There has even been a study conducted that found that cocoa and dark chocolate have more antioxidant power than any other fruit tested, including blueberries and acai berries. Dark chocolate may also help to reduce blood pressure and the risk of a cardiovascular event. In addition, consuming dark chocolate may also help improve brain function as found in studies. All the more reason to throw a few chunks on your ice cream!
There is nothing “sweeter” than cold and creamy ice cream drizzled with pure honey. Raw honey contains powerful antioxidants as well as antibacterial and antifungal properties. The powerful phytonutrients in honey also help boost the immune system and have even been found to have anti-cancer benefits. Honey is a prebiotic that feeds good bacteria within the intestines which are necessary for digestion and overall health.
Is anyone ready for ice cream and some great toppings?
-The UpWellness Team