A “superfood” is generally regarded as any food with miraculous health benefits by virtue of its high phytonutrient content. In recent years, superfoods have flooded the market, promising weight loss, longevity, and the ability to heal diseases. Harness yourself with the knowledge of each of the most popular superfoods and it’ll make sifting through the bunch a lot easier! Here are seven that you should consider:
Benefits: Wheatgrass is a phenomenal superfood. It is truly all-purpose in its abilities to cure the body of its ailments. Health pioneer Ann Wigmore centered her life’s work around the applications of wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is 70% chlorophyll and considered a complete food for humans. It is a great tool for detoxification, as it is able to shepherd toxins efficiently and effectively from the body. It helps purify the liver, rid the body of odor, prevent tooth decay, eliminate eczema and psoriasis, keep hair from graying, prevent constipation and inspire good elimination, remove heavy metals from body, and reduce blood sugar problems.
Uses: The best way to ingest wheatgrass is in juice form and on an empty stomach. Take no more than 1 shot/day, as wheatgrass is highly medicinal and taking too much could overwhelm your system and induce unpleasant detoxification symptoms.
Benefits: Goji berries are most notably high in antioxidants and rich in vitamin A. They slow the aging process, help prevent cancer and other illnesses, boost the immune system, protect vision, and help prevent heart disease. Some studies point to goji berries’ ability to boost brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s.
Uses: You can find goji berries in almost every form. Many people enjoy popping them like raisins for a snack or blending them into smoothies, sprinkling them on top of oatmeal, or adding them to raw cookies for an extra health-punch! Be careful not to overeat goji berries, as they are still high in sugar and denser than, say, a bevy of greens.
Benefits: Like goji berries, acai berries are rich in antioxidants. Acai is comprised of anthocyanins and flavanoids, antioxidants that protect the body and its cells from free radicals, ultimately reducing the body’s susceptibility to certain diseases and preventing premature aging. And while raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries are also antioxidant rich, acai berries have the highest antioxidant concentration, thus engendering greater health results.
Uses: Acai berries are most commonly found in juice form. Try adding some to your smoothies, juices, or water for a daily antioxidant boost.
Benefits: Maca is widely known as the “feel good” food. It is referred to as an adaptogen, helping the body resist stress, trauma, anxiety, and fatigue and contributing to general well-being. With its calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins B1 and B12 and fatty acids composition, it stabilizes the nerves and promotes the health of the nervous system. Maca is especially useful for athletes, since its sterols, calcium and vitamin C content facilitates the building of muscle mass and promotes physical endurance. Many athletes turn to maca for protein and to replace the effects of anabolic steroids. Other benefits include increased stamina, improved sexual function in men and women, improved fertility, reduced hormonal imbalances, enhanced memory and mental clarity and improved state of teeth and bones.
Uses: Maca is available as a powder in most health food stores. Use it most conveniently in post-workout or breakfast smoothies.
Benefits: Bee pollen is rich in B vitamins and vitamins C and E, carotenes, protein, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. Considered a panacea for one’s health problems, bee pollen helps with issues from weight loss to infertility. It works wonders on the skin and is most notable for its influence on mental endurance, clarity, and performance. Bee pollen is also sought after by athletes for its stamina-promoting capabilities.
Uses: A little goes a long way. It can be used as a salve for the skin to promote the “glow”. It comes in the form of granules, which you mix into smoothies, cereal, yogurt, or just eat straight from a spoon.
Note: Before incorporating bee pollen in your diet, make sure you do not have a pollen allergy!
Benefits: Hemp seeds provide all the essential amino acids in the most digestible form compared to any other plant source. They also hold the perfect ratio of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) for the body’s assimilation. Hemp seeds are a phenomenal source of protein because they contain all the essential amino acids and fatty acids the body can’t make itself. They are additionally beneficial for the digestive system by virtue of their high fiber content.
Uses: You can find hemp seeds in powder form or as an oil. They easily complement all your favorite dishes!
Benefits: Cacao tops the list of antioxidant-rich foods, promotes cardiovascular health by improving circulation, prevents damage caused by free radicals, increases brain function, acts as an anti-depressant, secretes endorphins, increases levels of anandamide (the “bliss chemical”) and contains a slew of essential minerals and fats
Uses: You can find raw cacao in many forms–chocolate bars, powder, nibs, chunks, cream, and the list goes on and on. Have fun exploring your favorite raw chocolate bar, which I imagine isn’t too much to ask.
Supplements Summed Up
When all is said and done, supplements are just that–supplements. They are mere gestures to your diet. They are by no means lead roles or staples. Exploring the options may be fun, but do not become dependent on them for their miraculous benefits, as similar results can be experienced simply by eating a rounded, high-raw diet. But of course, we all need a healthy reason to munch on chocolate this winter!