The Superfood You Should Eat

Superfoods are known to have a high concentration of crucial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrient-rich foods are beneficial for health and well being. Superfoods
are mostly plant-based, with a few exceptions. They can be a powerful source of antioxidants that shield our bodies from cell damage. Superfoods have been proven to help prevent and reverse the effects of aging and for playing a role in curing a variety of diseases and illnesses. Some of these superfoods are common and others more exotic. They are all worth knowing about and including in our diet.

Superfoods can be added to any juice, smoothie, or milkshake for an added health boost. Check with your health care provider if you have any health concerns before using them.

Acai

Is a fruit that contains very high levels of antioxidants, which help fight cancer and
heart disease. Pronounced ah-SIGH-ee, acai is native to the rainforest of South America. Acai is one of the few fruits that contain oleic acid—the same good fat found in olive oil. Finding fresh acai is not easy, and you may have an easier time finding it frozen or in powders. Most acai juices on the market usually contain added sugars, so you should stay away from them. Look for powdered or frozen unsweetened acai to blend with your juices and smoothies.

Aloe vera

Has been used as a healing agent for centuries, including the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Native Americans. It’s been described as “the plant of immortality.” Aloe vera is known to heal many ailments externally and internally, including cancer, ulcers, hemorrhoids, skin disorders, and lesions, burns, prostate problems, vaginal irritations, and yeast infections. Aloe vera lubricates joints, the brain, and the nervous systems. The span of aloe’s healing extends from helping to maintain beautiful skin to help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Another good reason to add aloe vera to drinks is that it protects the body’s immune system and destroys bacteria while slowing down the aging process. Add aloe to your drinks to relieve indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, and constipation.

Aloe vera can be purchased as a juice, gel, or fresh from the plant itself. It is very easy to grow and is handy to keep near the kitchen in case of burns. The gel is a natural antiseptic and aids in healing. If you use the whole leaf, be careful in handling as the edges are sharp. Cut a leaf off the plant and slice down the center of the leaf to expose the sticky clear substance within. Scrape with a spoon and add to blender. The whole leaf may be juiced. Purchase aloe gel or liquid at your health food store or online, but be sure it is not pasteurized.

Look for aloe where only the inner leaf is used, not the whole leaf, and preferably cold-pressed. Aloe vera should be the first ingredient listed on the ingredient list of the product—packaging that proclaims 100 percent pure is not always truthful. An aloe vera extract that is reconstituted will be less potent than in its pure form. Make sure to look for the Certified Seal of Approval that reads “aloe content and purity in this product, International Aloe Science Council (IASC).”

Blackstrap molasses

Can replenish iron and quickly assimilate carbohydrates. It is a restorative blood tonic for cancer patients and aids in the recovery of side effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Blackstrap molasses can help with fatigue, weight loss, nausea, hair loss, appetite, and depression. Add a small amount to a juice, smoothie, or milkshake.

Blue-green algae

Blue-green algae are unfortunately named. Although you might think so, blue-green algae is not an alga. Rather, it is a form of plantlike organisms that are a deep, dark green color. It grows in both salt and fresh water, particularly lakes and ponds. Blue-green algae, which includes a type called spirulina, contains valuable nutrients and is high in protein. This chlorophyll superfood contains vitamins A, C, E, B, and B6. It also contains iron, thiamin, folate, and riboflavin. Blue-green algae may boost your immune system, and it has antiviral properties. It lowers blood cholesterol levels and reduces blood pressure. It may also improve diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and premenstrual syndrome.

Cacao nibs

Cacao nibs are one of the best sources for magnesium, which plays a role in muscle function, circulation, and bone strength. Magnesium must be obtained through food
sources, as the body does not produce it. High in antioxidants and easy to assimilate, the health benefits of cacao nibs are many, including boosting energy, elevating mood, and improving cholesterol levels. Cacao nibs are a good way to have your chocolate without added sugar. To obtain the full nutritional value of cacao nibs purchase them raw.

Cacao powder

Cacao powder contains flavonoids, which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and brain. Although it contains few calories and is low fat, cacao has a delicious, strong chocolate flavor. To get the full effect of its antioxidant, phytochemical properties, only purchase unprocessed raw cacao powder. Add powders to smoothies and milkshakes. Cacao is not to be mistaken for cocoa or carob.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala and were an important crop for the Aztecs. Can boost energy, lower cholesterol, aid in digestion, support stronger teeth and bones, improve heart health, and stabilize blood sugar. The reason why this tiny superfood can heal so many ailments is that it contains calcium, manganese, phosphorus, omega-3s, and are packed with protein and fiber. Chia seeds are from the mint family.

These seeds are known to reduce food cravings and can help you to feel full faster. Because these seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, researchers believe chia seeds may have benefits for diabetics. When placed in any liquid, chia seeds become gelatinous and swell up like tapioca pearls. Chia seeds may be tasteless, but along with their many health benefits, they add a nice texture to juices, kombucha, and infused waters.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a powerful nutritious food source. Unprocessed virgin organic coconut oil has many health benefits both internally and externally. It is antibacterial, antifungal,
antiparasitic, and antiviral. Research links coconut oil to healing infection in the blood and tissues, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, gallbladder disease,
osteoporosis, Crohn’s disease, and food cravings. Coconut oil has high alkaline properties and purifies the blood; it has been shown to improve insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.

Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of fatty acids, which are essential for human health. Whether golden or brown, they are a great source of vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
Flaxseeds contain a compound called phytoestrogenic lignans, which acts like estrogen in the body. Flaxseeds contain linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid. They also contain minerals and vitamins including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B9 (folate), and C, calcium, iron magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Flaxseeds are a good dietary fiber. Research shows that flaxseeds slow down cancer cell growth.

Patients with prostate and breast cancer who had consumed a diet rich in flaxseeds before surgery had lower rates of cancer cell growth in their tumors as compared to patients on other diets. Flaxseeds have been called one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are known to reduce heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. These claims are made because of the high omega-3 fatty acids, which are key forces against inflammation. Inflammation is the cause of many diseases, including heart problems, diabetes, and arthritis. Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which has cholesterol-lowering effects. Flaxseeds can stabilize blood sugar and help intestines to function properly.

Gogi berries

Gogi berries are high in antioxidants and rich in vitamin A. Antioxidants minimize damage from free radicals that injure cells. Gogi berries help with mental well being and clarity. They can help you sleep better and are good for calming nerves.

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally complete food sources in the world. These small seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain a healthy body. With its perfect ratio of omega-6 and omega-3, hemp seeds are a complete protein, rivaled only by spirulina. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds equals approximately 11 grams of protein. Hemp seeds are a great source of protein for vegetarians. These tiny seeds are easily digested and contain 10 essential amino acids.

This super seed contains zinc, phosphorus, and gamma-linolenic acid, which is a source of anti-inflammatory hormones that support a healthy metabolism, as well as good skin, hair, and nails. Its antioxidants, vitamin E complex, and trace minerals make hemp seeds an important component in antiaging efforts. Hemp milk can easily be made for use in place of dairy milk, and hemp milk works great in smoothies or for people with nut allergies.

Lucuma

Lucuma is a centuries-old medicinal remedy from South America. It is a satisfying, sweet, and fragrant powder with an abundance of health benefits. Lucuma powder is made from a subtropical fruit. It is gluten-free and contains fiber and antioxidants. Nutrients from lucuma include potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein, and phosphorus. This rich powder is good for teeth, bones, hormone balance, aging skin, inflammation, and tissue regeneration.

Maca powder

Maca powder is made from a root vegetable grown in the Andes. It is dried into a powder. Maca is good for balancing hormones for both women and men. It can boost
endurance and supply energy. It’s also an adaptogen, which means that it can undo the damage from fatigue and helps in regeneration and repair. Maca contains vitamins and minerals including vitamins B, C, and E, amino acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Maca has a nutty, earthy flavor that can be mixed into smoothies and milkshakes.

Mangosteens

Are grown and highly prized in Southeast Asia for their vast healing properties. Mangosteens have a thick purple rind and a soft interior of white segments. Mangosteen is about the size of a tangerine. The rind contains a compound called xanthones, which is known for combating inflammation and cancer. Mangosteens have been said to provide powerful support for every organ in the human body. They are not easy to find in the United States. Some Asian markets sell mangosteen juice products that contain xanthones from the rind, but the juice may also contain sugars because of the tartness of the rind.

When buying the fresh fruit, choose dark mangosteen with a green top leaf. Mangosteens should have a slight give to the outer shell when ripe and ready to eat. The white segments inside the shell are full of antioxidants. The rind also has many healing properties and can be juiced, but the rind is tart so it’s best to add a very small amount in juices that contain other sweet fruits. There is no other description for the taste of the white segments other than to say they are delicious and worth the search.

Probiotics

Probiotics are extremely beneficial for overall good health. They regulate intestinal function and digestion. Probiotics can detoxify the liver and boost energy. They improve immune function, lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve brain function. Probiotics can also help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You will find probiotics in sauerkraut, kombucha tea, dark cacao, yogurt, and ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae.

Seaweed or sea vegetables

Seaweed or sea vegetables are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may prevent heart attacks and strokes. Seaweed is an ancient superfood. It contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, iodine, magnesium, and zinc. Seaweed is high in protein and contains vitamins, A, C, B, fiber, and alpha-linolenic acid. It contains antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also aids in the prevention of degenerative diseases including cardiovascular and diabetes. Seaweed can improve liver function and stabilize blood sugars. It is known to improve memory, lower blood pressure, normalize cholesterol levels, improve the immune system, and help prevent infections. Nori includes almost all the mineral elements that our body requires.

Read more: Health Benefits Of Wheatgrass Juice

The best seaweeds for smoothies are arame, dulse, hijiki, kelp, kombu, and wakame. Powdered kelp and dulse can be purchased for adding to smoothies. Just 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of powder in smoothies will not overpower the drink. If using dried seaweed, rehydrate by soaking overnight before adding to the blender. Seaweeds are salty and have a slight ocean taste, but are delicious when added to green smoothies. Look for certified organic sea vegetables that are tested for heavy metals and residues, including PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), fuel oil, pesticides, herbicides, and bacterial contaminants. Untoasted is suggested so as to retain the most nutrients.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a highly bioavailable complete rich protein. It is one of the most nutritious and concentrated food sources on the planet. It is a member of the “blue-green family” but is not an alga. can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and can lessen your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Spirulina contains vitamins B, B12, and K. It also contains calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is 70 percent chlorophyll and rejuvenates aging cells, fights tumors, tightens loose skin, and cleanses the blood, organs, and intestinal tract. It is known to
reduce blood pressure and remove toxic metals from the body. Wheatgrass is good for all types of cancer, especially of the liver and kidney.

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Photo credit: Pixabay

Source: The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing by Mimi Kirk

The Superfood You Should Eat