Happy spring equinox everyone!
I love curling up on the couch with a warm tea and good health magazine during the still-cool days of March. I was flipping through some old volumes of Vitality Magazine (this is a free monthly health magazine available in the GTA…..I have about 70 of them crowding my bookshelf) and found this really cool article highlighting “superfoods”, so I’d like to share it with you guys. ‘Superfood’ is a term describing any whole food that provides astounding benefit to our health. You can probably think of lots of examples of foods that are super….and technically ALL foods from nature given to us in their pure package form are super in their own way.
Here is the list, taken from this article in Vitality Magazine. I put my own comments in, as well as a few honourable mentions at the bottom 🙂 If you’ve tried any of these foods, or have your own “superfoods” to suggest, I’d love to hear about them!
1. Cacao – this is pure chocolate!
The cacao bean/cocoa bean is FULL of anti-oxidants to help protect your body against damage and inflammation. It is also an incredible source of magnesium, iron and chromium, as well as being a natural aphrodisiac. I just bought this brand and used it to make smoothies and hot chocolate (recipe forthcoming!). If you love rich pure chocolate, this is for you.
2. Goji Berries
I didn’t know this but goji berries are actually a complete source of protein! Great news for vegetarians and vegans. A complete source of protein means that you are getting all 8 essential amino acids in one food. They are also rich in B-vitamins, vitamin E and vitamin C. I’ve only ever seen goji berries dried (they make great additions to trail mix, toppings to salads or on yogurt). They have a mildly sweet, almost savoury flavour. They are also really neat to add to tea – the berries soak up water and become plump again.
Maca is a root grown in the mountains in Peru. Its powder tastes like peanut butter and is a great source of protein, B-vitamins, calcium, iron and magnesium. It is also well known for boosting energy, vitality, strength, libido, and helping your adrenal glands adapt to stress. I use this one in in my smoothies and in hot chocolate (gotta post my hot chocolate recipe asap!).
Hemp has been around forever (fun fact – the first draft of the constitution was written on hemp paper!). The seeds (also called hemp hearts) are an abundant source of easily digest-able protein (naturally gluten free), iron, omega 3, vitamin E and GLA – a type of omega 6 fatty acid used for skin health and hormone balancing. I have hemp seeds and hemp protein powder from this Canadian company and they are awesome! The seeds taste really nutty, and the powder I won’t lie is quite green tasting but it blends right in with smoothies made with bananas and cocoa powder.
This is an algae rich in GLA, chlorophyll, B-vitamins, and another complete source of protein. Chlorophyll is cleansing for our blood, makes our bodies more alkaline, and provides our cells with nourishing oxygen. Mix spirulina powder just with water or take as capsules to avoid the fish-food taste (which I kindof like……)
6. Bee Pollen
I buy raw honey, which technically has natural bits of bee pollen in it, but you can also buy bee pollen as-is – looks like small yellow/amber coloured chunks. Bee pollen contains all the B-vitamins (easy to remember!), and is another complete protein (it’s neat to discover all these cool sources of proteins not coming from meat). It improves energy and can be a natural remedy against season allergies…the thinking being that if you consume local honey or bee pollen, you will naturally be exposed to small amounts of pollen, therefore stimulating and strengthening your immune system.
*****please BEE considerate – the fate of bees is in our hands. Check out this link for information on how pesticides are decreasing the bee population and what this means for humans. Bees are beautiful hard-working creatures and bees are life! They pollinate our flowers and crops. Without them we will literally BEE SCREWED! bzzzzzzz*****
7. Camu Camu Berry
The highest naturally occurring sources of vitamin C, which means it is great for your immune system, collagen production, wound healing, and eye health. Add camu berry powder to smoothies or to juice – it is quite tart, almost bitter, but I like it!
8. Sea Vegetables (dulse, kelp, etc.)
These are really high in iodine, an important nutrient nourishing to the thyroid and adrenal glands. Sea vegetables also detoxify heavy metals from the body.
9. Medicinal Mushrooms
Mushrooms such as chaga, reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, shiitake and maitake are traditional medicines used in Eastern cultures for longetivity, immune stimulation and vitality. They are known as adaptogens (help the body adapt to stress) and have even been shown to have anti-cancer benefits.
These are some of my favourite super-foods: garlic, macadamia nuts, flax seeds, raw honey, blueberries, matcha tea, onions, beets and lemons!
What are yours? 🙂