Worth The Hype: 6 Superfoods That Actually Work
© Kimberly Nanney
With every meal we eat, we make a conscious decision to nourish our body — or harm it.
Nearly 2,500 years after Hippocrates advised “let food be thy medicine,” humankind is still uncovering new superfoods with the uncanny ability to heal the human body. We’ve always known about the old reliables (fruits, vegetables, and other whole ingredients) but the emergence of nutrient-poor convenience foods created a need that uber-healthy superfoods continually seek to fill. Once superfoods became widely available to the public, they surged in popularity. It’s easy to see why: many superfoods are not only enjoyable to consume, but they actually, really, truly solve many of our most pressing health issues.
Supplements or Superfoods?
Very few people get all the vitamins and minerals they need from diet alone. Supplements are better than nothing. However, the nutrition a person receives through a variety of whole foods is subject to higher bioavailability than through a pill. This means that the nutrition in that particular food is easier for your body to absorb.
Nutritionists can always provide definitive answers regarding your body’s imbalances and which superfoods you would benefit from. However, there’s no real need to be so absolute. If you are mindful of your energy, cravings, emotions and how/when you eat, you can make intuitive decisions about exactly what your body needs to thrive.
Explore your local health food store and create meals with organic leafy greens, legumes, berries, eggs, nuts/seeds, medicinal spices such as turmeric and cinnamon and any of the superfoods listed below. Have fun and experiment to discover flavors and textures that you love. If you truly enjoy the experience of eating well, as well as the glowing health that results, then ‘just another thing to worry about’ can easily become an immense pleasure.
Superfoods That Actually Work
For such tiny seeds, chia packs quite a nutritional punch.
High in fiber and omega-3’s, chia seeds are lauded for their support of cardiovascular health and weight loss (some feel that chia expands in the stomach, making you fuller for longer). Chia seeds have a mild flavor, so they go well on almost anything. To get your daily dose of omega-3’s in the morning, prepare chia pudding the night before, or sprinkle some on your eggs.
Maca is a root that’s traditionally grown in Peru and used to increase fertility and sex drive. Got your attention now? This powder, the taste of which is something between earthy and nutty, has the research to back up its amazing claims. The master of balancing hormones, maca can help to relieve the symptoms of women who are menopausal or have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). You’ll find maca powder to be a great mix-in for smoothies, where the flavor become more amenable.
If you’ve researched the ketogenic diet, then you might know about MCT.
There’s a lot of scientific jargon associated with it, but Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are a type of fat that fires up your body’s energy-using capabilities, fueling weight loss. You can take pure MCT oil as a supplement. Also, cooking with coconut oil, palm oil or butter will have a similar (and more flavorful) effect.
Did you know that chocolate — yes, chocolate — can be good for you? Chocolate comes from cacao, a seed from the Amazon that retains all of its antioxidants, minerals, and flavonoids when minimally processed and left raw.
In fact, cacao is incredibly complex and contains more than 300 known compounds! As a powder or as nibs, cacao can be used the same way one would use cocoa in cooking and baking.
This fermented tea is quite polarizing — you either love it, or you hate it! The fermentation process creates a fizzy, yet somewhat vinegary drink that contains a massive punch of probiotics, live bacteria that help regulate your gut health. Kombucha has become widely available in grocery stores (check the juice section, though it only contains only tea). However, aficionados of Kombucha’s digestive power tout that it is exceedingly easy, and infinitely cheaper, to brew at home.
As cannabis becomes more and more legal, CBD has also grown its own dedicated following.
Only recently, scientists studying medical cannabis were able to identify and separate Delta-9 TetraHydroCannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) based on the way it affects the body. Ingesting THC produced Marijuana’s famous psychoactive high. CBD on the other hand was found to relieve pain, aid in addiction withdrawals, clear up epileptic seizures and so much more. Some describe CBD as a true miracle because it may have many exciting positive effects on the body.