Foods that are nutrient dense, highly concentrated and very potent are considered to be Superfoods. Goji, Acai & Camu Berries, Cacao, Maca, Chlorella & Spirulina, Hemp, Chia & Flax seeds are some of the superfoods that are most talked about. Some others include medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga & Reishi, Bee products (pollen, propolis and honey) and Sea vegetables (Nori, Kelp).
The supefoods are very high in antioxidants which our body needs to fight the free radicals and stay healthy. And guess which of these foods is the #1 source of antioxidants? Cacao! So should you add some nice dark chocolate to your diet? Absolutely!
Some of the common everyday fruits, vegetables and spices can be considered superfoods as well because of their antioxidant, anti inflammatory and anti cancer properties:
- Cruciferous and dark leafy green vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, kale, arugula, swiss chard)
- Berries – especially blueberries
- Omega 3 foods such as salmon & walnuts
- Coconut products (oli, raw)
So what are the benefits of adding some of these superfoods to your diet?
- Increased overall health (all off the above mentioned)
- Better immune system (camu berry, sea vegetables, medicinal mushrooms, chlorella, blueberries, beets, ginger, broccoli)
- Reduced inflammations (chia & Flax seeds, berries, beets, ginger, turmeric, dark leafy greens, bok choy, omega 3 foods, coconut)
- Increased longevity (cacao, goji berries, honey, flax seeds)
- Better mood & increased energy (cacao, maca, hemp, chia, camu berry)
- Cardiovascular support (cacao, broccoli, omega 3 foods, blueberries, flax seeds)
- Increased endurance and strength (goji berries, maca, spirulina, chlorella, kale, omega 3 foods)
- Detoxifying and cleansing (sea vegetables, chlorella, cruciferous vegetables containing Indole 3 Carbinol such as cabbage, beets, turmeric, carrots)
One of the superfoods that I found to be the most intriguing is the fresh water algae, Chlorella. This superfoods is rich with phytonutrients including amino acids, beta carotene, potassium, biotin, magnesium, vitamin B complex; contains high dose of vitamin A, Iron and Zinc. Chlorella has whopping 16 grams of protein in a single serving (3 TBS)!
So why should you consider adding Chlorella to your diet?
- Detoxifies the heavy metals from your body
- Support Immune system
- Promotes weight loss – improves circulation, promotes higher energy levels, regulates hormones
- Slows down aging – reduces oxidative stress that is caused with pollution or stress
- Fights cancer – strengthens immune system, removes toxins, etc
- Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol
You can buy Chlorella in the form of pill or powder. The taste is rather strong so when using it in shakes, you may wanna use some ingredients such as peanut butter, coconut or vanilla to mask the algae taste. To start of, try using only 1/4 of the serving and progress to more as you get used to the taste. My favorite combo is Chocolate Vegan Protein Powder, frozen mixed berries and coconut milk. I will also be sharing some good recipes going forward in my daily Instagram (@sphealthfitness) so you can get some ideas about different combinations from there as well. If you can’t get used to the taste, you can always use a pill form. The most important thing is that you buy chlorella that is pure. You would want to buy cracked or broken cell wall chlorella.
Here are some simple ways to ADD some of these SUPERFOODS to your DIET:
- Sprinkle on salads
- Add to your favorite waffle or pancake recipe
- Add to granola or yogurt
- Add to green juice or shake
- 1.5 tablespoons of HEMP seeds contains 5gr of protein and contains all the amino acids making it a complete protein (contains omega 3&6!)
- 1 tablespoon of CHIA SEEDS contains 3 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber
- 2 tablespoons of FLAX SEEDS (ground) contain 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber; hemp seeds contain all the essential omega 3 essential fatty acids
- MACA powder – 1 tsp contains 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids; use this in your shakes when you need an afternoon pick me up or more energy anytime of the day
- Raw Cacao Beans – 1/4 cup contains 4 grams of protein and 9 grams of dietary fiber; great source of selenium, magnesium and iron
It is really important to try these superfoods one by one because you need to see how your body will react to each. Also you don’t need to add all of them at the same time or to have all, all the time (hope this makes sense!); but rather think about what your body needs at that moment. Is it more protein? Energy? Fiber?
I am still exploring all the wonderful superfoods and will update you thru my Instagram as I learn more. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me and I will respond to the best of my knowledge.
Explore your way to healthier self!
Until Next Time,
References: Institute for Integrative Nutrition & Dr. Axe (www.draxe.com), Raw food guru David Wolfe (www.davidwolfe.com)