I set about researching superfoods and I think my brain is about ready to explode – I’ve learnt so much and it feels good. We always read about the obvious superfoods that are easy to come by in a local supermarket (listed below), but I wanted to look into it further for the ones we don’t read about all the time. Yes, they are harder to find and in some cases cost more, but when you read about the nutrients found in each of them, you’ll want to head down to your nearest health store and go on a shopping spree!
I apologise in advance for this lengthy list, but it is the ‘ultimate’ list after all.
The ones you probably all know about:
Just 100g (4oz) of blueberries contain the same amount of age-defying antioxidants as five servings of other fruit and vegetables. Suck on that ‘other fruit & veg. Antioxidants help guard against a range of cancers, heart disease, asthma, arthritis and cataracts, Alzheimer’s and age-related neurological diseases. They are also high in vitamin C and a good source of fibre, so start adding them to your food, be it in a smoothie in the morning or just a snack in the afternoon.
Ah, good old broc! It’s part of the brassica family, and along with cabbage & cauliflower, broccoli contains isothiocyanates – chemicals that stimulate the body’s production of its own cancer-fighting substances. Broccoli also contains folic acid, which is believed to have cancer-protecting properties.
Avocados are full of essential nutrients, including potassium, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a so-called nutrient booster; when eaten with other foods, avocados help the body to absorb cancer-fighting nutrients, such as carotenoids, found in vegetables such as spinach and carrots.
Spinach is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It’s a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. – check out that list!
My favourite member of the dark orange vegetable family, which lead the pack in vitamin A content. Substitute a baked sweet potato, sweet potato mash, or sweet potato wedges for any white potato. And before you go about your business adding butter, just taste the sweetness that develops when a sweet potato is cooked! Bye bye butter. Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers.
Low fat or fat-free plain yogurt is higher in calcium than some other dairy products and contains a great package of other nutrients, including protein and potassium. Look for plain yogurt fortified with vitamin D, and add your own fruit to control sweetness and calories. I normally add strawberries, raspberries and some seeds for breakfast. YUM.
The simple tomato, what a guy. It’s all in his skin – the discovery of a carotenoid called lycopene, a health promoting phytochemical that gives the tomato its red color is the key to Mr Tomato’s success. In the body, lycopene acts like a powerful antioxidant. Tomatos have been known to prevent prostate and lung cancer.
Green tea, my friend, the warmth in a mug that gets me through the day! Green tea has shown to not only aid in weight loss, but also is the most efficient nutrient in protecting against radiation damage, especially at the thyroid. Furthermore, it supports healthy tendons and ligaments, stomach function, blood sugar levels and is an extremely potent antioxidant. Go Green Tea, I might even call you a ‘powerhouse’ too!
Pomegranate is a delightful, antioxidant rich fruit that has been the basis of traditional Indian health remedies. Rich in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants, research has shown it to be helpful in the prevention of breast, lung and prostate cancer. It also may assist in lowering blood pressure, regulating cholesterol and reducing plaque in arteries.
The ones that you might never have heard of:
Acai is a little dark purple berry that grows on the açaí palm in the Amazon forest of Brazil, hanging out with the sloths and Macaws! The berry is high in antioxidants and essential fatty acid, which makes it great for supporting the immune system, healthy skin and preventing ageing. Let’s face it, useless you’re George Clooney, you’ll want to prevent ageing!
Aloe Vera is a succulent that contains healing properties such as soothing the skin and the digestive track. It is the most beneficial nutrient for the skin on the inside and out. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. Aloe Vera is rich in vitamins A, B12, and E, as well we the minerals calcium and magnesium.
The African Baobab is an enormous tree bearing fruit that contains nutrients including minerals and Vitamin C. It is rich in antioxidants, calcium, potassium, magnesium as well as fibre. Immunologic Baobab Superfruit Powder Black Cherry Concentrate: Black cherry concentrate has long been used medicinally not only for its high vitamin C value but also for its ability to promote healthy uric acid levels in the body making it ideal for those dealing with kidney stones, gout and arthritis.
Sprouted Brown Rice Protein:
Sprouted brown rice protein contains 83% protein, derived from raw sprouted whole grain brown rice. This highly digestible, hypoallergenic, vegan protein is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential and non-essential amino acids. This form of protein is ideal for lean muscle mass, boosted metabolism and digestive health. It contains a full spectrum of enzymes for controlled blood sugar and slow burning fuel.
Just think of it as chocolate! Cacao is the purest raw form of chocolate known as the “food of the Gods.” This marvelous fiend of a bean is one of the highest natural sources of magnesium and antioxidants while being rich in manganese, iron and chromium (great for blood sugar control).
Camu Camu is a small berry-like fruit with purplish red skin and yellow pulp, produced by the camu camu bush of the Amazonian rain forest of Peru. He’s a friend of the acai berry, the sloths and the macaws, obviously. Forget oranges, Camu Camu has the highest Vitamin C content of any plant in the world.
Carob powder originates from carob pods, which are a member of the legume family . Carob is an excellent source of calcium, is low in fat, and is said to contain more than three times as much calcium as milk – in your face milk! It contains protein as well as vitamins A, B, B2, B3 and D.
Cayenne is a red, hot chili pepper that is extremely high in Vitamin A, B complex, and C. It also helps produce hydrochloric acid which acids in digestion and elimination. Capsaicin, found in the cayenne pepper has been proven to kill prostate cancer cells and stop heart attacks.
I love a good shot of Chia seeds. Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and antioxidants. Chia seeds can be used as an oatmeal replacement, pudding or shake thickener. They are also excellent for maintaining normal bowel movements. – good to know, good to know.
Chlorella is a single celled green algae that is full of nutrition. Extremely high in chlorophyll and magnesium, chlorella is the best detoxifier, getting rid of toxins from the skin, liver, brain and other organs. Chlorella is a complete protein source and aids in clear skin, blood sugar balance, mental clarity, balanced digestion, a strengthened immune system and mood stability.
Did you know… cinnamon was once thought of as being more valuable than gold!? Suuurrrre, I love my cinnamon necklace! Cinnamon is believed to improve energy, vitality and circulation while being a great stabilizer of blood sugar levels.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in healthy fat, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Use coconut oil as a replacement for olive oil when you’re cooking and you’ll notice a massive difference. It has the ability to stimulate the thyroid therefore increasing metabolism and aiding in weight loss.
Durian aka “the King of fruit” in South-East cultures. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as the amino acid tryptophan-which is essential in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being, happiness, and sleep regulation. – so many big words right there! Furthermore, it is considered an aphrodisiac – oi oi hotstuff!
Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and alpha-linoleic acid, which are essential to human health as well as lignans, which are converted to hormone-like substances. Flax oil aids in breast cancer prevention, healthy cholesterol levels, improved joint mobility and heart health. *Note: flaxseeds are high in phytoestrogens which influence hormone balance, therefore, use under guidance.
I don’t know much about Ginko Biloba, apart from it comes from the Ginko tree located in China, Korea and Japan and has been used for hundreds of years to increase sexual energy and promote longevity. I love these sexy little superfoods!
Ginseng benefits diabetes, helps with anti-aging and has been used for thousands of years to improve overall health. Ginseng has been recommended for enlightenment, increasing energy, reducing stress and preventing illness.
Goji Berries, also known as Lycium berry, are native to the Himalayan region of China and Tibet. These tiny berries are a complete protein, contain 21 trace minerals and contain more iron than spinach or vitamin C than an orange.
Goldenberries (also known as Incan Berries) help to strengthen your body in times of stress and improve circulation. We all need strength on those stressful days at work! Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, niacin and phosphorous, Incan Golden Berries also contain pectin, which helps to regulate the flow of food through the digestive tract as well a lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels.
Got a hangover? Well listen up! Guaranais a powerful stimulant known to quicken perception, increase metabolism and assist in weight loss. It has also been found to alleviate hangovers – Goodbye fry up, HELLO Guarana. It is also an excellent coffee replacement.
Among the most nutritionally complete food sources, hemp seeds contain all the essential fatty acids and amino acids necessary for basic well-being. This power food contains more omega-3s and omega-6s than any other nut or seed source, and is abundant in Vitamin E.
Kombucha is a fermented, enzyme and probiotic-rich tea that originated in Ancient China. It’s a powerful digestive aid, detoxifier, and promotes strong immunity.
Want brainy kids? Give them some Lecithin! Lecithin is a really good source of the nutrient choline, which is vital for brain function and development especially in children. Lecithin is also important for healthy cholesterol levels because it breaks up cholesterol in the body and supports liver health. *Note: Make sure to purchase only non-GMO soy lecithin or better yet lecithin from sunflower seeds.
Lucuma is a delicious fruit, native to the Andes, that has been enjoyed for thousands of years for its nutritional content as well as its creamy flavor. Lucuma contains healthy doses of fiber, vitamins and minerals and is especially high in beta carotene, iron and niacin (vitamin B3). Lucuma is an excellent addition to smoothies, ice cream and other raw desserts.
Maca is native to the high Andes of Peru and is a powerful adaptogen that works with the body to stabilize hormones and increase libido (HELLO again!), energy, increasing oxygen uptake and endurance. Maca root also posses natural means of improving sexual performance and has been referred to as “Nature’s Viagra.”
Raw mulberries are succulent, tart, chewy sun-dried berries that originate from deciduous trees in a Turkish village. Mulberries are an amazing source of Vitamin C, iron, and calcium and fiber, and protein as well as B vitamins and Vitamin K. Mulberries are also high in a longevity antioxidant called resveratrol, which is found in the skin of red grapes and red wine – this doesn’t mean you can go home tonight and drink a bottle of red wine to yourself!
Rooibos tea from the Cape in South Africa is famous for its concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols. It is naturally caffeine-free and low in tannins so you can drink it all day. Rooibos is also excellent for boosting glutathione levels, which is the most important antioxidant because it is within the cell, and it is in prime position to neutralize free radicals.
Spirulina is now considered once of the most nutritious food sources known to man. Once called “the best food for the future” by the United Nations World Food Conference, this blue-green algae is a complete protein rich in B vitamins and has been reported to help correct anemia, reduce radioactive damage and lower cholesterol.
Turmeric root has long been used in ancient Chinese and Indian health systems as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory properties and has been effective in treating weak bones, soothing menstrual difficulties and bruises as well as aiding in digestive relief. Studies have also shown it to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and be effective in pain relief in arthritis.
An unprecedented alkalizing and detoxifying green, wheatgrass deeply cleanses the blood, organ and lymph system. One ounce of wheatgrass has the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of green vegetables in nutritional value. It is a powerful thyroid stimulator, correcting obesity and reducing acidity in the body. Due to its remarkable similarity to our own blood composition, regular consumption has tremendous anti-aging benefits.
Yerba Maté is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the South American holly tree. It is both nutritious and stimulating, possessing the same health chemicals found in chocolate and coffee. Unlike coffee, yerba is not acid forming and does not cause anxiety or a “crash.” Along with boosting energy, yerba increases mental clarity, focus through its rich content of potassium, magnesium, amino acids and antioxidants.
Most of these products will be available from your local health store or a Whole Foods Market. Alternatively, you’ll find them online – just make sure you’re using a legitimate website!