Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
Lately so much has been said about SuperFoods, which makes it is very easy to get confused. Most Google searches on SuperFoods are either incomplete or inconclusive. So we decided to research it ourselves and in the process came up with the complete guide to SuperFoods. The Complete Guide is a 3 Part Series and here in Part 1 – we discuss Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs.
Zack Adelman, Founder and CEO of Nativas Naturals (The Superfood Company) says that “Superfoods are an easy way to obtain a boost of important nutrients, and with today’s busy lifestyles, nutrition convenience is more important than ever. A superfood is a nutrient-dense fruit or vegetable that contains a high amount of protein, omega-3, antioxidants, minerals, fiber or other essential nutrients that have proven health benefits. Nutrient density is the ratio of micronutrients to calories – superfoods have a high ratio of micronutrients.” So whatever your motive is, boosting your energy levels, improving your immune system or kickstarting your weightloss journey – SuperFoods are for you.
Here is the intensive list-
Blackberries Superfruits because of their antioxidant power, blackberries also contain high levels of phenolic acids, which help kill viruses and fight infection.
They’re rich in folate and fibre, and 15 berries provide around one third of your recommended daily vitamin C as well as half of your vitamin E.
Açaí actually deserves some of the hype it gets, thanks to weapons-grade antioxidant levels that clobber other Superfruit rivals like blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. However, because this tiny berry hails from Brazil, it’s not easy to find fresh. “I recommend powdered açaí berry, which can be added into a smoothie,” says Glassman. “Not only is this an easy way to get super fruits into your diet, but it also helps mask the tart, sometimes bitter taste.”
Kiwi Italian researchers found that it reduces asthma-related wheezing, thanks to its high vitamin C content (one kiwi has 110% of your daily requirement).
Cacao(Raw Chocolate) — The seed/nut of a fruit of an Amazonian tree, cacao is the highest antioxidant food on the planet. It is the #1 source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, manganese, and chromium, and is also extremely high in PEA, theobromine and anandamide (otherwise known as the “bliss chemical”). Raw Chocolate helps to improve cardiovascular health, builds strong bones, is a natural aphrodisiac, elevates your mood and energy levels, and increases longevity.
Goji Berries – Goji berries are regarded as a longevity, strength-building, and potency food of the highest order and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years. Goji berries, otherwise known as the “Wolfberry,” contain 18 kinds of amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids, up to 21 trace minerals, high amounts of antioxidants, iron, polysaccharides, B & E vitamins, and many other nutrients.
Camu Camu Berry – it is the highest source of Vitamin C on the planet. It is great for rebuilding tissue, purifying blood, and enhancing immunity, and energy. Camu berry is one of the best anti-depressants, immunity building, and eye-nourishing superfoods in the world.
Dragon Fruit – The name and vibrant color of this fruit’s skin tell you that it’s something special, even though the taste is actually quite mild. Four years ago, researchers from Malaysia’s Universiti Putra analyzed the seeds and found there to be a bounty of essential fatty acids, which we need but can’t be made by our body. In fact, 50% of the seeds were made up of an essential fatty acid, oleic acid, which helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.
Coconut – Young coconuts are one of the highest sources of electrolytes in nature. Electrolytes are ionized salts in our cells, that transport energy throughout the body. Coconut water is a much better alternative to commercial sports drinks laden with artificial sugars and colors. Drinking the juice from a young coconut is like giving your body an instant blood transfusion.
Noni– Research documents that the noni fruit has astounding anti-bacterial properties, even against E-coli. It has anti-tumor activity, anti-inflammatory properties, is effective as a pain reliever, generates cell repair and strengthens the immune system. Noni contains a multitude of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. Many believe that the synergistic effect of the multi-spectrum nutrients is what gives it its potency. It has been proven beneficial for colds and flus, digestive disorders, skin disorders, pain relief, headaches, infections and more
Pomegranate – Pomegranates deserve their Superfruit status. The juice from this gorgeous fruit beat red wine to win first place in a list of beverages ranked by antioxidant levels in a University of California, Los Angeles study.
Avocado – Yup, these are a Superfruit (remember, fruits have seeds, vegetables don’t). Packed with monounsaturated fat and fatty acids, avocados can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while raising the amount of good cholesterol in your body. The healthy fats in avocados also promote the absorption of other carotenoids—especially beta-carotene and lycopene—which are essential for heart health.
Tomatoes – They are loaded with lycopene, which makes your skin look younger and keeps your heart healthy. In fact, a Harvard study found that women with the most lycopene in their blood reduced their risk of having a heart attack by 34%.
Brussels sprouts – They have more glucosinolates (compounds that combat cancer and detoxify our bodies) than any other vegetable. For a side dish that will make you wonder why you’ve been avoiding them, slice each one into quarters, then sauté in olive oil with chopped sweet Vidalia onions.
Spinach, Greens, Greens and More Greens – A half-cup of Spinach provides more than five times your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and builds strong bones. Collard Greens are exploding with nutrients like vitamin A, zeaxanthin and lutein, which keep your eyes healthy.
Sweet Potato – Just one sweet potato provides over 100% of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin E – that’s 50 times more than white potatoes. They also provide excellent amounts of betacarotene (which the body converts to vitamin A) and vitamin C, as well as copper, iron, potassium and vitamin B6. Sweet potatoes contain twice as much vitamin C and fibre as ordinary potatoes, with high levels of beta-carotene to help ward off certain cancers and heart disease.
Medicinal Mushrooms-(Reishi, chag, cordovceps, maitake, shiitake, lion’s mane, etc.) — High in polysaccharides and super immune enhancing components, medicinal mushrooms are one of the most intelligent adaptogenic herb/superfoods on the planet! They have also been proven effective in healing cancer and a variety of other ailments.
Bok choy This calcium-rich veggie can protect your bones and may even ward off PMS symptoms.
Kale – It has more iron than beef and more Vitamin C than an orange. It is said to have the highest nutrient value indicating the strength of their immunity boosting power.
Sea Vegetables (kelp, dulse, nori, hijiki, bladderwrack, , etc) — Power packed with nutrients, sea vegetables help remove heavy metals, detoxify the body of radioactive iodine, provide numerous trace minerals, regulate immunity, and decrease the risk of cancer. Seaweeds benefit the entire body, and are especially excellent for the thyroid, immune system, adrenals, and hormone function.
Herbs and Spices
Ginseng– Ginseng is the quintessential herb for handling stress. This ancient healing herb has been used widely throughout Asia as an energizer tonic. This special herb is particularly beneficial when recovering from illness or surgery for its restorative and anti-infection properties. It promotes regeneration from stress and fatigue.
Aloe Vera– It has been deemed a superfood after research studies identified its seventy-five healing compounds including natural steroids, antibiotic agents, amino acids, minerals and enzymes. Aloe vera has been used since Egyptian times as a skin moisturizer, and balm for burns, cuts, bruises, acne and eczema. This is mostly due to the high concentration of natural sulphur (MSM) that it contains. Aloe juices alkalize the digestive tract preventing over-acidity, a common cause of indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn and ulcers.
Nettle – The bowel mover. The nettle leaves increase the thyroid function, increase metabolism and releases mucus in the colon allowing for the flushing of excess wastes.
Echinacea – Echinacea is a household name when it comes to warding off colds and flu. This herb is used as a natural antibiotic and immune system stimulator, helping to build up resistance. The reason for its effectiveness is because of its ability to stimulate the lymph flow in the body. Lymph runs parallel with our bloodstream and carries toxins out of the body. The herb can be taken in liquid or capsule form for 2-3 week periods during “high risk” flu seasons. The tea from this herb has also grown in popularity for treating infections and cancers including skin cancer.
Tulsi aka Holy Basil – Regarded as the most important plants in Ayurvedic medicines, it is known to support, heart health, optimal breathing, joint, vision and skin health
Cat’s Claw– Cat’s Claw has been used for centuries by indigenous healers to support the immune system and to help the body detoxify. It is an excellent and gentle bowel cleanser. Cat’s Claw helps reduce sugar cravings and, due to its cleansing effects, resets the essential proper flora balance in the intestines. Symptoms such as gas, bloating, and constipation are helped by Cat’s Claw. Additionally, it is used to effect healthy joint functioning and healthy sugar handling in the body. Cat’s Claw keeps your immune system functioning effectively. The potent antioxidants in Cat’s Claw can ease the effects of aging and environmental damage on your body.
Astragalus Root– One of the most potent immune tonics used to improve the lungs, strengthen muscles, increase metabolism, reduce stress and strengthen the genetics. The first telomerase activator product to make it into the market is TA-65, an extract of astragalus.
Garlic– Garlic is used to treat conditions ranging from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and heart attack, to certain types of cancer. It also has a good deal of antioxdants and also found effective in treating yeast infections and enlarged prostate.
Maca – This adaptogenic superfood increases energy, endurance, strength, and libido and has been used as a staple food in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years. Dried maca powder contains more than 10% protein, nearly 20 amino acids, including 7 essential amino acids. Maca contains five times more protein than a potato and four times more fibre.
SuperFood for Thought-
When you start utilizing these substances consistently as a part of your overall health and exercise program, you will notice that your immunity will increase step-by-step. Your overall energy, both mind and body, will improve. You are likely to experience less stress and sleep better.
SuperFoods and tonic superherbs can be added to our daily diet. We just need to take one step at a time, by introducing one SuperFood at a time. The easiest way is to look for seasonal fresh bountiful fruits and vegetables available at your regular food market and perhaps try a few you haven’t tried before.
My top five vegetable superfoods are tomatoes, avocados, berries, cucumbers, and leafy greens (with watercress, collard greens, kale, and spinach topping the list). You can enrich your diet even further by adding juicing, sprouting, and fermenting to your dietary routine. Keep in mind that your goal is to consume the widest possible variety of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits
Eat right and stay Healthy!!
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