10 Super Foods You Have To Eat
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on March 25, 2010 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Humans have long been searching for the food of the gods. Ambrosia and nectar might be a little far fetched, but some of the most potent, nutrient rich foods can be found right here on Earth!
Eating VS Supplementing
Everyone knows that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, at least the saying is that eating fresh fruits (and veggies) daily promotes over-all health. It’s practically impossible to overdose on the vitamins available in an apple (unless you eat 2 bags of them). The body releases extra nutrients that it can’t store, through its waste.
It’s so easy and convenient to pop a pill, especially when you don’t have the time to prepare a meal. Most of us think nothing of taking a multi-vitamin daily, while some of us hit the bottles hard – taking up to dozens of single ingredients at a time!
Think about it: with vitamin-fortified orange juice and milks, protein shakes and energy bars readily available, chances are most people are getting too much of their ABC’s after a day’s worth of eating.
Chances are, if you’re like 64% of all Americans you’re supplementing your diet with a capsule or tincture – and quite possibly over doing it. It’s important that you know your daily requirements, and that you don’t go above them.
Eat Your Way To Health!
Thanks to a robust gloabl economy, most of us have access to fresh, health-promoting foods in their raw state. Eating wholesome foods in their living state has never been easier!
Super foods make the news often, with a hot heavy-hitter promoted almost each season. After making the rounds, some super foods are, well, more super than others. Here’s our roundup!
Top 10 Super Foods You Have To Eat
1. Turmeric – Turmeric has long history as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both traditional Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Its original use was in dying textiles and curry a bright orangey-yellow, thanks to the compound circumin. And its this agent that gives Turmeric pharmaceutical strength, similar to over-the-counter cortisone.
2. Gotu Kola –A Chinese folk-story tells of a legendary herbal master, who is said to have lived a healthy life for over 200 years by taking the Gotu-Kola leaves. He attributed the herb to helping him maintain a calm state of mind – in his opinion, the most important longevity factor. When it comes to Gotu-Kola, the saying in Asia goes :”Two leaves a day, keeps old age away”! Used by Chinese and Indian herbal doctors for thousands of years, Gotu-Kola is a remedy that is still used today.
3. Goji Berries –Also called Wolf Berries, these small but potent fruits grow native in China, the Himilayas and Tibet. Their medicinal use dates back for thousands of years, and they are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin.
4. Inca Berries – Native to Peru, these B-packed berries are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral. Known to contain B-12 (rare among plant species), these little berries are super immune boosters.
5. Raw Honey – Honey has been used for centuries in traditioanl medicine – from ancient Greece and Egypt to China. Incredibly healing, honey can speed the of wounds, kill bacteria, and combat acne. Raw honey is more powerful than most commercial honey, since it contains amylase, an enzyme concentrated in flower pollen which helps predigest starchy foods.
6. Maca –The latest happy food to hit the market, Maca is a plant root, with origins high in the Andes mountains. It has been used for centuries since the Inca, mostly to increase energy, sex drive and stamina (its effects have been compared to Viagra!). Unlike many stimulants, though, it has no caffeine and therefore no buzz. It’s nutritional content has been found to stimulate adrenal function, regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary gland, and balance female and male hormones.
7. Raw Chocolate –By now, everyone knows the health benefits of eating dark chocolate: it’s packed with antoxidants and polyphenols. Un-heated cacao – aka raw chocolate – contains over 300 nutritional compounds, even more than its cooked counterpart.
8. Spirulina –Spirulina is considered a “super food”or a balanced whole food because it provides a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, amino acids, betacarotene, gamma linolenic acid and chorophyll. Spirulina is especially rich in the basic components of human nutrition, including protein amino acids and Vitamin B12. Spirulina has more iron than beef, balances blood sugar levels and PH, and helps our body naturally detoxify. It has been a superfood source since ancient times, reportedly used by the Aztecs.
9. Yogurt –A dairy product produced by the fermentation of milk, yogurt is rich in probiotic healthy bacteria. This “friendly” bacteria keeps unhealthy bacteria from entering into our bodies through our guts, helping us stay healthy. For immune boosting, yogurt is a must on this list.
10. Chia Seeds –Yes, we’re talking about Chia, the Chia Pet. Chia seeds are rich in essential fatty acids, and sprouted they contain vast amounts of living enzymes. Used as a staple food by South Western and Mexican natives, it offers high energy endurance through its nutritional value.
Instead of supporting your diet with manufactured supplements, try taking a few of these super foods every day. By eating these foods, you’ll reap the nutrients available in them!
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan