Over the past week I have been doing a bunch of reading on different foods and natural supplements to help me understand on how to eat a bit better. I came across a bunch of material on superfoods. So instead of writing about boring ol’ me today, I am going to try to pass along some information that might help someone out there.
What is a superfood? Well, there is no legal definition of the term, which some say led to the over use of it as a marketing tool. The Oxford English Dictionary however includes citations for superfood as "a food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being," My definition however is a bit more…rustic. After reading for days on superfoods I would say, they are foods extremely high in nutrients and when combined together can benefit you greatly.
To me there is no one superfood to rule them all. You see tons and tons of commercials and advertising on certain berries and how they can cure just about anything and help you lose weight and defeat world hunger and stop crime…blah blah blah. This is simply not true. It seems to me that when one puts all the information together we find out that while superfoods can help your body out greatly, they should be used in combination with each other and other healthy foods for maximum results.
So Vinny, what are some superfoods that I should be adding to my diet? Well, I’m glad you asked, but before I throw a big list of foods at you, let me say this. Don’t go throwing all these in a blender at once. Not only would it be super expensive, but it will taste bad and probably have some nasty side effect. You know, the whole too much of a good thing scenario.
I will list here my top 10 superfoods and why I think you should eat them. Keep in mind that some of these (actually most of them) are really expensive, so stocking up on all of them is not really practical. I’d say buy one or 2, try them in a protein shake, smoothie or sprinkled on food and see what you think. Experiment with a couple every now and then and see what your body says.
This list is in no particular order.
The superfood list:
1. Wheat grass - Wheat grass is the sprouted grass of a wheat seed. Unlike the whole grain, because it has been sprouted, it no longer contains gluten or other common allergic agents. Wheat grass is super alkalizing and is excellent for promoting healthy blood. It normalizes the thyroid gland to stimulate metabolism thus assisting digestion and promoting weight loss due also to its high enzyme content and cleansing effect.
2. Wild blue-green algae - Algae was the first form of life on Earth and its power is immense. Wild blue-green algae is a phyto-plankton and contains virtually every nutrient. With a 60% protein content and a more complete amino acid profile than beef or soy beans. It contains one of the best known food sources of beta carotene, B vitamins and chlorophyll. It has been shown to improve brain function and memory, strengthen the immune system and help with viruses, colds and flu.
3. Goji Berries - Goji berries are grown on vines in the protected valleys of inner Mongolia and Tibet. These distinctively flavoured red berries are a very rich source of vitamin C, having 500 times more vitamin C per ounce than oranges and actually more than any other fruit. They are a superb source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E and contain a full complement of protein with 18 amino acids and 21 trace minerals. Most of all they are an excellent antioxidant making it an ideal natural whole food for reversing aging and protecting against disease.
4. Raw Cacao - For this nut we could easily dedicate a whole page, if not a book. A word of warning before we start however, most cocoa powder and commercial chocolate is processed via the "Dutch method" meaning it is subjected to scorching temperatures of up to 150°C with the additional aid of solvents, thus destroying most of the nutrients and antioxidants. Be sure to attain certified organic raw cacao in a powder, nib or whole bean form as the temperature will have never been allowed to exceed 40°C thus allowing all the heat-sensitive vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to remain intact. Raw cacao beans contain possibly the world's most concentrated source of antioxidants found in any food. They also extremely high in magnesium which has been found to be the most common deficient major mineral even following a balanced diet. For those concerned with not getting enough iron it should be pleasing to know that one small 28 gram serving of raw cacao beans gives 314% of the recommended daily allowance of iron. And if that is not enough raw cacao beans have an antioxidant (ORAC) score of 95,500. To put that into perspective, that is 14 times more flavonoids (antioxidants) than red wine and 21 times more than green tea.
5. Acai - Acai berries have long been a part of the staple diet of the tribes in the Amazon. With the appearance of a purple grape and taste of a tropical berry it has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties thanks to a high level of anthocyanins, pigments also found in red wine. The ORAC rating of acai is 1,027. Make sure to look for the freeze dried acai fruit in which the nutrients are kept intact or when buying the juice look for a brand that has not been pasteurized or heated in any way.
6. Coconuts - Young coconuts are one of the highest sources of electrolytes in nature. Electrolytes are ionized salts in our cells that transport energy throughout the body. Coconut water is a much better alternative to commercial sports drinks laden with artificial sugars and colors. The molecular structure of coconut water is identical to human blood plasma, which means that it is immediately recognized by the body and put to good use. Drinking the juice from a young coconut is like giving your body an instant blood transfusion. In fact this was common practice during World War II in the Pacific, where both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water, siphoned directly from the coconut, to give emergency transfusions to wounded soldiers.
7. Coconut oil- Coconut oil's saturated fat is of the medium-chain fatty acid variety, which are digested more easily and utilized differently by the body than other saturated fats (such as butter, meat and eggs). Whereas other saturated fats are stored in the body's cells, the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy. Coconut oil will actually speed up metabolism so your body will burn more calories in a day which will contribute to weight loss. Coconut oil supports healthy metabolic function and is a revered anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent. Pacific islanders deem coconut oil to be the cure-all gift from nature for all illness.
8. Bee Pollen - Bee pollen is collected by bees from flowering plants and formed into granules. Bee pollen is the most complete food found in nature and has five to seven times more protein than beef. It is especially beneficial for the extra nutritional and energy needs of athletes and those recovering from illness. It is a natural antidote for fighting allergies particularly hay fever and sinusitis. Research shows that pollen counteracts the signs of aging and increases both mental and physical capability.
9. Royal Jelly - Royal Jelly is milk like secretion from the head glands of the worker bees. The queen bee lives almost exclusively on royal jelly and she lives around 40 times longer than the rest of the bees. Royal Jelly is a powerhouse of nutrients containing every nutrient necessary to support life. It is the world’s richest source of pantothenic acid (also known as Vitamin B5), which is known to combat stress, fatigue and insomnia and is a vital nutrient for healthy skin and hair.
10. Hemp Seed - Hemp is one of the purest, most complete plants on earth. It has the perfect balance of Omega 3 and 6 for sustainable human health. This makes raw hemp seeds incredibly powerful against cancer. It might be the single best food to prevent it. It's a high quality, complete raw food protein and has a massive trace mineral content. It's the only seed that doesn't need to be germinated before eating: it has no enzyme exhibitors. Therefore it's easy to absorb.
Well there you have it. Like I said, don’t think you need all this stuff to live or be healthy. These are foods that will help you along the way in your search for a healthier eating lifestyle.
Also, this is not a full list. There are many more superfoods out there that you can try. Some might help, others may not. Everyone’s body is different, so what works for me might not work for you. I’m going to be experimenting with a few of these over the course of the next few months. I will make it a regular part of my blog to let you know how things are going.
Well, that’s all for today. I hope I was able to shed some light on the superfoods available to us. Take care and experiment a little.