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Beyond mere food: “Superfoods”

Mar 1, 2012 | Tags : digestion, nutrition, | No Comments

The term “superfood” is widely used in the health and nutrition world these days. How did we figure this out? What exactly propels everyday foods to “super status?”

Superfoods are sometimes described as having an exceptionally high nutrient content per calorie. These foods may have concentrated amounts of specific vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants that the body may not otherwise receive in the standard American diet.

I’m sure you’ve seen popular lists including leafy greens, fresh water fish, walnuts, green tea, and blueberries. We are recognizing that real, whole food – as Mother Nature intended, has powerful health benefits.

Now, let’s look at superfoods from both ancient and modern dietary perspectives. Each theory contains its own wisdom and key players in healing and balancing the body. Read on here to explore a handful of gems from a handful of theories. Notice what you are drawn to exploring.

P.S. Proceed with caution. Super foods may give you super powers…or gas. Take it easy on trying everything at once.

Macrobiotic Superfoods

Balance

Daikon Radish
Known as a “fat dissolver” the daikon radish helps digestion and reduces inflammation. It is also very beneficial to the liver and is a favorite key food for spring detoxification. I like to grate daikon right into my salads.

Sea Vegetables
Macrobiotics introduced the healing properties of sea vegetables to the west. There are many varieties. We are most familiar with nori used in our sushi rolls. Sea veggies in general help support the thyroid supplying iodine to the diet and are rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, and chlorophyll. Some sea vegetables are also rich in B vitamins and protein. When used cooking beans (kombu) can aid in digestion (i.e. less bloating/gas)

Ayurvedic Superfoods

Nourishment

Ghee
The golden by-product of heating and separating milk solids, ghee, is considered the best among all fats. Ghee can be used in cooking and is particularly nourishing for the skin. Also free of lactose and doesn’t require refrigeration.

Kitchari
A simple blend of mung beans, basmati rice, and spices, Kitchari is very balancing and nourishing to all body types during all seasons. Kitchari “cleanses” are common and hearty enough for the novice cleanser. I’ve had many clients that have had great success with this type of cleanse.
Learn more about the wisdom or Ayurveda and what it can do for you, this Saturday, March 3rd at Cascade Yoga Studio, 1pm. Click here for details.

Gut Ecology Superfoods

Digestion

Coconut Kefir
A tasty dairy-free alternative to regular kefir, coconut kefir has been said to stop cravings for sugar, aid in the digestion of all foods, tone the abdomen, cleanse the liver, supply the body with minerals, and support the endocrine system. I like to drink 4 oz in a wine glass after dinner!

Raw Cultured Vegetables
Raw cultured veggies (think raw sauerkraut) can help reestablish your gut flora. Times of stress, anti-biotic use, or an excess of denatured foods can compromise a healthy gut. Cultured vegetables can also aid in digestion as a side to meal and are very alkaline in nature.

“Put em in Your Smoothie” Raw Superfoods

Energy

Hempseed
One of the highest proteins from a plant source containing all the essential amino acids. Also a good source of omega fatty acid and iron.

Cacao
Yes, we’re talking chocolate. This is the raw, unprocessed form that works wonders in smoothies, desserts, chocolate drinks, and trail mixes depending on what form (powder or nibs) you have. Cacao contains iron, magnesium, flavanols, dietary fiber, and polyphenols.

Goji Berries
The goji’s plant-based protein is packed with 18 amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids. It is also full of anti-oxidants and historically has been used to support the immune system. They are a great replacement to dried fruit in trail mixes.

Maca
This root, mainly used in powder form, is often used to nourish the endocrine system, increase stamina, combat fatigue, and boost libido. Meeeow, Kitty.

If you like exploring nutrition, choose one new thing you’d like to try or re-incorporate into your diet. Notice how you feel. Does it taste good to you? Exploration can come in waves. If this does not appeal to you right now – no worries! There are plenty of waves to catch in the future when the time is right.

Bottoms up!

Love,

Laura
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