There are some words that have become buzzwords in recent times, so superfoods are really quite famous now! No longer are they the language used only by health and whole foods companies; supermarkets, corporates and even some small businesses have no problem with taking words like superfood and organic and using them to promote unworthy products; misleading people is not an issue when there is profit to be made.
Another issue is that modern agriculture has left soil so nutrient deficient that the foods it produces cannot be depended upon for full nutrition. Combine this with the amount of environmental toxins we’re subjected to, and you start to see the issue. This has led to a situation where people must now go not the extra mile but the extra 1000 miles in order to keep their body in a healthful state! The need for superfoods, supplements and careful detoxing has never been so urgent.
Superfoods are foods that have at least twelve properties unique to them. This means that the so-called superfoods on your supermarket shelves (think, blueberries, kale, etc.) are not actually superfoods at all. There are superfoods out there that will serve you well, but here are a few that we think are amazing, and a little info about what they can do for you:
1. Raw Cacao (powder or nibs)
Cacao is one of the best superfoods around. It has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested to date and four times the level of antioxidants in green tea. It promotes cardiovascular health by dilating bloods vessels, reduces clotting, improves circulation, regulates heartbeat and blood pressure, lowers LDL cholesterol, and due to the high magnesium content, reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
It can protect from toxins, it repairs and resists damage caused by free radicals and may reduce risk of certain cancers. It contains other essential minerals including, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese. Cacao also increases levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin; thus it acts as an anti-depressant, and it also helps to reduce PMS symptoms. It is famous for promoting a sense of wellbeing, and it does this by stimulating the secretion of endorphins, which is why you feel high and happy when you consume it.
2. Chia seeds
“Chia” is the Mayan word for strength. These little powerhouses contain twice the protein of any other seed or grain, five times the calcium of milk (which, like all dairy should be avoided anyway), plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones; they contain twice the amount of potassium as bananas, three times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries, three times more iron than spinach, and copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential fatty acids.
Chia seeds are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids; they’re also a fabulous source of soluble fibre. The seeds absorb water and create a mucilaginous gel in under ten minutes, which is great for adding to smoothies and sauces. The taste of chia is very mild and pleasant; it can be combined with other foods without changing the taste.
Chia ‘bulks up’ food, displacing calories and fat without diluting the flavour. So you can eat a typical serving, yet only consume about half the calories. This nutrient-dense superfood hydrates and sustains you; it slows the impact of sugars on the system, if eaten together, and it creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, slowing the conversion of carbs into sugar. That means the energy from the food is released steadily, resulting in more endurance. This is clearly of great benefit to diabetics in particular. It aids weight loss and intestinal regularity, while boosting strength, energy and endurance… what more could you ask for from a tiny little seed?
There is a reason why those residing in countries like Japan have longer lifespans, and it’s arguably iodine consumption. They eat a lot more sea vegetables, but one of the most accessible to us in the west is kelp. Some of the valuable minerals sea kelp supplies are iodine, salt, iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium
The vitamins it gives us include vitamin A and niacin, along with a healthy dose of protein. MediMush are always reminding our readers that an alkaline body is of the utmost importance, so as a highly alkaline substance, sea kelp can also help restore the optimum pH levels in the body. Experts believe sea kelp can offer increased immunity and enhanced brain development. Anecdotal evidence supports osteoporosis prevention and alleviation of impotence and anaemia.
There’s more: kelp can improve thyroid function, potentially increasing metabolism and energy and decreasing weight gain. The iodine, calcium and other minerals in sea kelp are easily absorbed by the body, aiding in digestion and correcting relevant mineral deficiencies.
This one is pretty popular these days, and rightly so. Containing over one hundred nutrients, spirulina (a blue-green algae) is frequently described as the most complete food source in the world. Having said that, so is cacao and bee pollen, but technically bee pollen is an animal product. These nutrients are truly life enhancing, and include all essential amino acids, as well as more proteins than meat, milk or eggs.
Spirulina has a protein level of 60% on average, compared to red meat, which is around 27% protein. Spirulina protein is also biologically complete, containing all of the essential amino acids needed for human health. It has about the same calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium content as milk, a vitamin E (tocopherol) level comparable to wheat germ, and four times as much vitamin B12 as raw liver (not that many people would want to eat that!)
The vitamins in spirulina are B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), and vitamins C, D and E. It contains the minerals potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium and zinc and 18 amino acids. Due to its earthy taste, it may not be palatable on its own, but thrown into a smoothie it can actually enhance the flavour.
MediMush can’t sing the praises of turmeric enough. It’s not just a kitchen cupboard spice waiting for the next curry craving to happen. Known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease (the latter it treats by removing amyloyd plaque build up in the brain).
It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. Interestingly, when combined with cauliflower it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer. In mice, it has prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs, and may prevent melanoma or cause existing melanoma cells to die.
A natural liver detoxifier and painkiller, turmeric may also aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management. For a long time it’s been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression, and because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s a successful treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This wonderful spice has also been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumours, as well as speeding up wound healing. It Is also thought to aid in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
6. Moringa Oliveira Powder
Moringa Oleifera (Moringa) is known as the ‘Tree of Life’ and is one of nature’s most powerful and nutritious superfoods. Moringa’s green leaves contain over ninety nutrients, as well as forty-six antioxidants and all of the essential amino acids and proteins required by the body to remain healthy. Moringa is an exceptionally potent alkaliser, and is rich in chlorophyll, which is the liquid that runs through the veins of plants. It is almost identical to human blood. Incidentally, it’s also possible to supplement liquid chlorophyll if superfood powders aren’t appealing.
We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to superfoods, but we’d need to write another Ebook if we were to cover all that would benefit your health. So here’s a little homework for you: be sure to check out camu camu, baobab, organic goji berries, lucuma, acai, ashwaganda and Apricot kernels (B17)!