WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS & WHY EAT THEM?
Foods which are very high in essential nutrients are called super-foods and they can help us reach optimum levels of health by providing us with the vitamins and minerals which are missing from our diet.
Super-foods are an excellent way to make up for dietary deficiencies. Even if you are eating a 100% organic diet you will still not be able to get all the nutrients you need from your food due to unsustainable, profit driven agricultural practices which have seriously depleted our soils and hybridised our food.
Many nutritionists claim that deficiency is worse than toxicity. Even though toxic build up needs to be dealt with, in some ways the body can cope with a certain amount of toxicity. However, mineral, vitamin, protein, fat or even enzyme deficiencies can have a serious and immediate impact on your health.
Recent research has shown that most Americans are protein deficient at a cellular level and that includes meat eaters. Somehow the protein isn’t getting to our cells. As for minerals and vitamins most people fall way below the levels of what is required for optimum health.
Fruit which was once highly mineralised and low in sugar has now been so hybridized that it is nothing but a seedless sugar trap. For example; wild bananas, oranges and strawberries are highly mineralised and much lower in sugar than their commercially grown counterparts and that includes organic!
In one of his many experiments on mineralisation a brilliant research scientist called Maynard Murray found that hens that were fed food containing the full complement of organic minerals grew larger, laid larger eggs, exhibited perfect health, were free from disease and remained calm when approached by men. The control group of hens who were fed the same food with a depleted mineral content was nervous when approached by the flock tender, exhibited disease such as slipped tendons and worms and several died of unknown causes. None of the mineralised chickens died. These experiments were repeated with many other animals and crops with astounding results.
SOME FAVORITE SUPER FOODS
ORGANIC SPIRULINA – The protein, vitamin and mineral powerhouse
Spirulina contains a most powerful combination of nutrients such as protein, most of the essential minerals and vitamins, particularly iron and B vitamins and has ten times the Beta Carotene than carrots. Apart from mother’s milk, Spirulina is the only other whole food that contains Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). Spirulina is also a rich source of magnesium and many easily absorbable trace minerals.
WILD EUCALYPTUS BEE POLLEN – The king of foods
Bee pollen is considered by nutritionists to be one of the most complete foods found in nature. It contains a rich source of high quality protein due to it containing all the essential amino acids. Bee pollen contains vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as being very rich in B vitamins including Folic Acid. Bee pollen contains many minerals, including: barium, boron, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc, as well as having over 5,000 enzymes and the phytonutrients such as co-enzymes, bioflavanoids, phytosterols, and carotinoids. Bee pollen also contains 15% natural lecithin and is an alkalizing food.
(Warning: some people have an allergic reaction to bee products including pollen)
ORGANIC COCONUT OIL – Another miracle nature food
Coconut oil is the highest source of saturated medium chain triglycerides (MCT) of any naturally occurring vegan food. Around 50% of these MCT’s are made up of Lauric Acid, the most important essential fatty acid in the building and maintaining the immune system. Mother’s milk is the only other source of Lauric acid.
These medium chain fatty acids are more digestible and much more stable that any other fat and in fact can be left at room temperature for a year without going rancid. Coconut oil is great for the skin, both taken internally and in external application for dryness and sensitivities. Additionally coconut oil has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties and for this reason it is a powerful ally in the fight against Candida.
Incredibly, even though it is a fat, coconut actually assists weight control by promoting the body’s ability to burn unwanted fat and has even been shown to lower bad cholesterol. For this reason coconut oil has been used for under active thyroid to increase the body’s metabolism.
CACAO – Natures Super Antioxidant, Anti-Depressant and Anti-Stress Yummy Food
All chocolate is made from the cacao (cocoa) bean, the seed of the Amazonian Cacao fruit, which in its natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state have a unique array of nutritional benefits.
Natural raw cacao contains over 300 chemically identifiable compounds making it one of the most complex food substances on earth. It contains: anandamide (happy chemical), arginine (natures Viagra), dopamine (neurotransmitter), epicatechins (antioxidants), histamine, serotonin (anti-stress neurotransmitter), tryptophan (anti-depressant neurotransmitter), and polyphenols (anti-oxidants).
Cacao also contains high levels of magnesium, an anti-stress mineral, and nearly twice the antioxidant level of red wine and up to three times that of green tea. We know cacao as chocolate which usually contains milk and sugar and the cacao bean has been roasted to become cocoa which looses the above attributes, but still tastes good. Making chocolate with raw cacao, cacao butter or coconut oil plus Agave syrup as a sweetener will give you the same taste sensation with the added bonus of all the wonderful qualities of this amazing food.
Whilst Cacao beans contain caffeine and theobromine, experiments have shown that these stimulants are far different when consumed raw than cooked.
CHIA SEEDS- Super strength food
Chia seeds are a true super food and somewhat of a secret super food in modern times. The seeds were once however valued so much that they were used as currency and were a staple food for Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures. ‘Chia’ is the Mayan word for strength and it has been said that Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests and Apache warriors would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24 hour forced march.
Chia seeds are high in easily digestible protein, essential fatty acids (particularly Omega 3), soluble fiber and antioxidants. Due to their gel-forming characteristic, chia seeds are effective in creating a physical barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes that break them down, thereby slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars, making them ideal for diabetics.
FLAX SEEDS – Essential Fatty acid boost
The greatest nutritional benefit flax has to offer is its high Omega 3 essential fatty acid content, whose benefits include lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels and lowering blood pressure. Flax also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sulphur, sodium, chlorine, iron and zinc. It also contains fibre and mucilage that promote healthy intestinal function.
The alpha linoleic acid (a type of Omega 3 fat) in flax may help prevent heart attacks by reducing the risk of potentially deadly blood clots as well as abnormal heart rhythms. Flax also provides the highest plant source of phytoestrogens, which may play a key role in the prevention of breast, prostate and colon cancers.
HIMALAYAN CRYSTAL SALT – the healthy salt full of minerals
Himalayan salt is mined by hand from a protected area of the Himalayan Mountains, is free of the pollutants found in sea salt and table salt. The salt contains 84 minerals of the possible 92 trace minerals, in the same proportion as naturally exists in our blood. It contains a highly crystalline structure, which allows nutrients to be absorbed at the cellular level, purifying the body physically and bio-energetically.
Consumption of the salt has been associated with neutralizing the acid/alkaline balance in the body, breaking down the build-up of heavy metals, stimulating blood circulation and the nervous system and re-mineralizing the body.
GOJI BERRIES – A nutritionally dense food with loads of antioxidants
Grown in Asia, and long regarded as a longevity, strength building and sexual potency food. The berries may be one of the most nutritionally dense foods available; containing 18 amino acids, all 8 essential amino acids, and 21 trace minerals. They are the richest source of carotenoids and 500 times the vitamin C by weight than oranges. In addition to these and other vitamins, goji berries also contain about 11mg of iron per 100grams and an array of powerful phytochemicals.
MESQUITE POWDER – High protein sweetener
A traditional Native American food produced by gathering ripened seed pods from the mesquite tree and grinding them into a fine high-protein powder (approximately 20% protein).
Used as a staple food for centuries by desert dwellers, this high protein meal contains good quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine as well. It has a sweet, rich, molasses-like flavor with a hint of caramel which blends well into smoothies or other drinks, especially those made with cacao and Maca.
Researchers report that mesquite is highly effective in balancing blood sugar.
The natural sweetness in the pods comes from fructose. Fructose doesn’t require insulin to be metabolised making it safe for diabetics. The high rate of dietary fibre, pods are 25% fibre, and causes the nutrients in mesquite to be absorbed slowly preventing the spikes and valleys in blood sugar.
With a low glycaemic index of 25, mesquite requires a longer time to digest then many grains. These factors result in a food that maintains a constant blood sugar for a sustained time and as a result prevents hunger. Here is a food that supports the diabetic’s diet and helps maintain a healthy insulin system in those not affected with blood sugar problem.
MACA ROOT POWDER – hormonal balancer and strengthener
Maca root is native to the mountain regions of Peru, where it has been used by native Indians as a vital ingredient for health for thousands of years. Maca root contains significant amounts of amino acids, carbohydrates, and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, iron, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E.
Maca root has been associated with improving fertility, hormonal balance, increasing sperm count, stimulating and strengthening libido and increasing energy and vitality.
ORGANIC WHEAT GRASS
High in chlorophyll and contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants, and rich in fibre. These nutrients are easily assimilated through our digestive tract giving our body instant vital nutrients including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, beta carotene, B1, B2, B6, C, Folic acid, and pantothenic acid. Regular ingestion can improve the digestive system, help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease, cure constipation, detoxify heavy metals from the blood stream, cleanse the liver, prevent hair loss and help to make menopause manageable.
HOW CAN I USE SUPERFOODS IN MY DIET?
Wheat grass juice is best taken as a ‘shot’, throw it down and chase it with something that tastes nice. It has a liquid grass taste similar to peas but stronger. If taken on an empty stomach can cause transient nausea. As it works through your system you may even get an upset tummy, but this passes quickly and you rush to the toilet and flush out your toxins. In some this can work very quickly and in others may have no effect on the bowel. The more toxic you are the more the reaction. Don’t let this put you off because wheat grass juice is a powerful detoxifier. You do get used to the taste and some even love the taste. You can also use wheat grass as a dried powder and mix into smoothies with fruit. When I juice wheat grass I also juice a bit of lemon grass to flavour the mix.
Spirulina on it’s own is not nice tasting either, but mixed with a bit of fruit and rice milk and a handful of soaked almonds, some dates (also soaked), some sunflower seeds (preferably sprouted), and whizzed in the blender, it actually tastes great and makes a great quick alternative to breakfast or lunch that is super nutritious.
If you like you can also add in the other super-foods such as the goji berries (soaked to soften), the bee pollen (if no allergy to bee products), a tablespoon of coconut oil and cacao powder and it “tastes like a chocolate milkshake only crunchy”, (and much, much more nutritious than coco pops for those that picked up on ‘the line’).
Another delicious way to have your super-foods is via a chocolate lover’s dream of making your own chocolates with the raw cacao powder and mixing in the other super-foods except the wheat grass (no it doesn’t spoil the taste) and refrigerating them into little chocolate moulds and have the most nutritious chocolate you have ever eaten.
Actually you could call it the tastiest vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and enzyme “pill” you’ve ever had. Even the kids will ask for a second (and third) dose. Here’s the recipe:
1 cup cacao powder
1 cups raw cacao butter or for super nutritious but must be kept in fridge use coconut oil
4 tablespoons of Agave syrup (low GI sweetener made from cactus)
3 tablespoons coconut oil if not using this above
Pinch of Himalayan salt
3tbs bee pollen
½ cup soaked goji berries well drained
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup sultanas or raisins
½tsp ginger or chili powder
2 vanilla pods
Mesquite meal for extra sweetness and protein
Maca root powder
Melt butter or coconut oil gently by placing in a bowl inside another bowl of hot water. Put the cacao powder in a blender with the other ingredients desired. Add the melted oil or butter and blend till smooth. Spoon mix into chocolate moulds or ice cube tray and put in fridge to set for 30mins. Eat and enjoy guilt free (actually, with the knowledge that it will do you good). Using the coconut oil does give a stronger coconut taste to the chocolates, so if you don’t like coconut you can make them with the cacao butter.
This also has a higher melt point which means they don’t need to stay in the fridge. The coconut oil is the best nutritionally, but the butter does have antioxidants which also makes it a good fat. If you cannot get the ingredients at your local health shop, you can purchase them on line from “raw power” just put the www’s and the dot com dot au in the appropriate places and you can purchase this way. Enjoy.