Friday, May 25, 2012

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superfood!

When was the last time you felt this good?

If it's been a while, perhaps it's time you become aquainted with "superfoods", the stuff Hercules was surely snacking on in his downtime.

These nutrient powerhouses earn their label by containing an abundance of one or more of the following:
·         Antioxidants
·         Vitamins
·         Minerals
·         Enzymes
·         Essential Fatty Acids
Basically all the things that do kick arse things for your body (fight disease, charge you with energy, increase your libido, boost your immune system, balance hormones, promote longevity, cleanse the body, promote healthy digestion, boost circulation, repair the nervous system, reduce inflammation, increase metabolism and all that jazz).

There's a plethora of info out there on superfoods these days, but a couple of books marked my foray into the realm of warrior nosh. I was intrigued by the idea of super healthy foods outside the conventional "fruits and veggies" dietary counsel. You'll notice, there's a few foods that feature on both lists below: Aloe Vera, Seaweeds, Blue-Green Algae.
Living Food For Health: 12 Natural Superfoods to Transform Your Health - Gillian Mckeith
  1. Sprouted millet
  2. Sprouted quinoa
  3. Alfalfa
  4. Aloe Vera
  5. Green barley grass
  6. Flaxseeds
  7. Parsley
  8. Dulse
  9. Nort
  10. Stevia
  11. Sunflower Seeds
  12. Wild blue-green algae
Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future – David Wolfe
  1. Goji berries
  2. Cacao
  3. Maca
  4. Bee products (honey, bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly)
  5. Spirulina
  6. AFA blue-green algae
  7. Marine phytoplankton
  8. Aloe Vera
  9. Hempseed
  10. Coconuts and coconut products
Honorable Mentions: Acai, Camu Camu Berry, Chlorella, Incan Berries, Kelp, Noni, Yacon

After reading both texts I was inspired to try out many of the foods mentioned.

Said to "help maintain energy levels, vitality and wellbeing" this four in one green powder is a great addition to boost a green smoothie or juice. Or you can drink it straight mixed in a glass of cold water. It's not exactly "tasty" stuff, but it's palatable. I like to mix in a teaspoon with water and drink half and hour before breakie to super charge my day. I also find it refreshing to drink after a light workout like Yoga. I've noticed whenever I drink it I feel quite full for an extended period of time - probably because it is super nourishing and jampacked with protein. Did you know green algaes like Chlorella and Spirulina contain mega amounts of protein? It's not something you usually associate with greens. According to David Wolfe's book Spirulina contains 65-71% protein and all 8 essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). This particular mixture by Swisse is 43.4% protein.

Touted as the Peruvian superfood, this root vegetable is excellent for regulating hormones, supporting the thyroid, boosting immunity, increasing libido (rawh!), increasing stamina and athletic performance and elevating your energy levels. In fact, it's promoted as a healthy substitute for caffeine in regards to giving you a kick-start in the morning. It has quite a strong nutty flavour but works well with raw cocoa which is excellent news for chocolate smoothie lovers (me). The effects of ingesting maca can be quite intense so its's recommended you start slow to allow your body to adapt and avoid bad detox symptoms. The flavour also works well in soups. If you are experiencing hormonal imbalances this is one to google.

Famous for it's lauric acid content, coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat you should get to know. It's the anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal wonder fat! Contrary to popular belief, fats are not the enemy. You can read more about that story here and the benefits of coconut oil here. The beauty of this one is it's great for enhacing beauty too. You can use it as a natural cleanser, moisuriser and hair mask. It's the perfect summer moisturiser in summer, because who doesn't like to smell like coconuts? Just make sure you buy the good stuff - organic, raw, coldpressed. It's also the safest oil to cook with due to it's high smoking point. And should you encounter an energy slump and want a quick snack, have a teaspoon of coconut butter to power through - it's super filling! There's so much more to say about this superfood it warrants it's own post so I'll leave it here. Just try it!

I am rather obsessed with organic shredded coconut at the moment. I was never really that big on coconut before but my how things have changed. I put it in my bircher muesli and snack on it whenever it comes into view. It's also great on its own sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon or on banana slices topped with nut butter.

Raw cocoa is a superfood. Yes, let us all rejoice. Put it in your deserts, smoothies and hot cocoa. This winter I'm going to try mixing it porridge. Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, chocolate for breakfast. But, unlike Coco Pops it's good for you!

I think goji berries are an aquired taste. They are quite earthy tasting. Honestly, I wouldn't rave about munching on these on their own but given their amazing antioxidant properties they are worth adding to your diet. Mix them in a fruit smoothie (I'd soak them overnight so they blend better), add them to a trail mix, make goji berry tea, mix them in raw deserts, spinkle some in your cereal or muesli or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Again these are an aquired taste - very bitter, but you may enjoy them sprinkled in a trail mix or used as choc chips in deserts and other sweet oriented foods. Good for an energy boost.

My mum introduced me to these way back and they've remained in my diet to this day. I generally sprinkle them in my cereal, muesli, bircher muesli and rice and salad dishes. Sunflower seeds are packed with essential fatty acids, vitamins E, A, D and B complex and the minerals zinc, iron, calcium, manganese, potassium and phosphorus, as well as protein.

I'll leave you with a bunch of healthy dish porn, because sometimes we just need a visual to gather the motivaton to wash and chop up that salad :).  

Enjoy your weekend!

What "health" foods are you into or trialing at the moment?

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