Superfoods make up some of the most nutritionally rich and powerful foods in the world. They can help you heal and prevent disease, lose weight, acquire important plant based nutrients and even live longer. Many can be found in your local health food store, yet very few people know about them. As an introduction, below you’ll find an overview of some of my favorites.
The easiest way to add superfoods to your diet is to blend them into your morning smoothie or juice. However, you can also find pre-made products that contain superfoods in the raw food section at some specialty food stores or juice bars, which are an ideal healthy snack.
When purchasing superfoods, it’s important to make sure that you check the source to insure that they are organic, raw and made of the highest quality. Super foods that have not maintained their freshness lose their nutrients and don’t offer the same healing and energy boosting benefits. To find the best products, you may have to do some research online or order them directly from a trusted company.
Goji berries are an extremely nutrient-rich food, originally used in ancient China where they grow abundantly and are an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. These powerful berries, usually sold as a dried fruit, are packed with all amino acids (they are a complete protein), and contain more minerals, antioxidants, and beta-carotene then most other plant based foods. Some say that goji berries, when consumed regularly, can help you live longer as well as strengthen the eyes, liver, immune system, circulation and more. They are great to snack on whole or add to a tea.
Raw cacao, not to be confused with coco, is the Amazonian seed (nut) that chocolate is made from. Pure cacao has been said to be the highest food source of magnesium, a nutrient that most Americans are deficient in and which is essential to healthy brain function and strong bones. Cacao is also rich in minerals (especially sulfur), antioxidants, enzymes and amino acids, and contains neurotransmitters associated with a positive state of mind. Cacao beans contain no sugar and can be as low as 12% fat, depending on variety and growth conditions. Many claim that raw cacao is so rich in nutrients and minerals that it can actually shut off your appetite and help you lose weight. There are many great desert and smoothie recipes that include cacao.
Bee pollen is a complete alkaline food. It is a rich source of high-quality protein since it contains all the essential amino acids and more. Bee pollen contains vitamins A, B, C, and E, and is extraordinarily rich in most of the B vitamins, including folic acid. Bee pollen increases energy and stamina, increases muscle growth and definition, builds the immune system, has antioxidant activity, stimulates the metabolism and helps promote normal gastro-intestinal function.
Maca, an integral part of the diet and commerce of the high Andes region is claimed by the Peruvians to improve memory, combat anemia, and fight depression. It supports adrenal function, increased energy and stamina, and reduces stress. It also helps regulate and balance hormones. Possibly it’s most well known use is to stimulate normal sexual function and support fertility. It is also recommended to revitalize the internal organs, regulate menstruation, relieve menopausal symptoms, and support those who are malnourished or are experiencing memory loss, arthritis, respiratory ailments, and diabetes. Maca is also known to lower cholesterol, strengthen the immune system, support chronic fatigue syndrome, and assist in healthy thyroid function.
Spirulina, a blue-green algae has been a staple food in Africa and South America for centuries. Offering an amazing array of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, this microalgae is 60% all-vegetable protein, rich in beta-carotene, iron, vitamin B-12 and the rare essential fatty acid, GLA. Scientific studies show remarkable health benefits in all areas of life, including lowering cholesterol.
David Wolfe, author of The Sunfood Diet System
Maca: Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator by Beth M. Ley, Ph.D.
Published On: January 25, 2010