There’s no question about it—getting your nutrition from whole, organic foods is widely considered to be the best and easiest way to improve your health. However, it is getting increasingly hard to do so due to depletion of soils from over-farming, erosion and excessive fertilizer and pesticide use. While organic foods are certainly the way to go, even they can be grown in depleted soils as not all farmers practice proper crop rotation and soil replenishment techniques, organic or otherwise.
So what is a health-conscious person to do to make sure they still get all their nutritional needs met? Supplement with superfoods.
What You Need to Know About Superfoods
Often grown wildly or in remote areas with incredibly rich soils, superfoods are special herbs and plants that are rich in whole food nutrients and medicinal compounds. Although they have been around for thousands of years, the term Superfood is a 20th-century phenomenon referring to a collection of ancient, nutrient-dense foods—especially phytonutrient- and flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables—that are considered beneficial for health and well-being.
While a diet based on a variety of nutritious foods remains the best way to ensure a balanced nutrient intake for optimal health, there’s evidence that ultra-healthy superfoods, such as moringa, wheatgrass, and spirulina, can give a power-packed enhancement and upgrade.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of making lifestyle changes to support better health, longevity and physical and mental fitness, there’s no doubt that what you ingest is integral to thriving. Even with this awareness, however, due to unknowingly eating foods from devitalized or not fully healthy soils, your best efforts to create radiant health and wellness can be sabotaged to varying degrees. Adding colorful and nutritious superfoods into your diet is a surefire way to fill in whatever gaps this may cause in your essential nutrient intake.
Not only are Superfoods a source of concentrated levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals, but they are also a rich source of antioxidants as well, essential substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent lifestyle diseases.
Antioxidants are molecules that protect cells in the body from harmful free radicals. Free radicals come from sources such as cigarette smoke and alcohol and are also produced naturally in the body during metabolism. Too many free radicals in the body results in oxidative stress, which activates inflammatory pathways. Chronic inflammation is linked to the cell damage that leads to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
As you can see, including superfoods regularly is surefire way to fine tune and even supercharge your health, but of the hundreds that exist, which ones are ideal for this purpose?
In my opinion, some of the best are as follows:
Never heard of moringa before? Moringa oleifera is known by over 100 names in different languages around the world where it is eaten daily as a staple food due to its extraordinarily high level of nutrients. This easy-to-grow tropical plant species contains over 90 protective compounds and is rich in essential vitamins and minerals. It is known to have extraordinarily high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, a full spectrum of B vitamins and complete protein. It’s also rich in antioxidants like quercetin, which have a number of beneficial effects in the body from fighting inflammation to protecting cells from degeneration.
No wonder it’s known as “The Miracle Tree”; just about every part of the moringa plant can be utilized in some way. Moringa’s medicinal benefits include supplying the body with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, balancing hormones and slowing the effects of aging, improving digestive health, balancing blood sugar levels and helping fight diabetes, protecting and nourishing the skin, and helping stabilize mood and protecting brain health.
Sold either as a juice or powder concentrate, wheatgrass is a superfood prepared from the cotyledons of the common wheat plant (Triticum aestivum), with benefits that include increasing energy levels, detoxing chemicals and heavy metals and improving overall health and wellness
Wheatgrass is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, rightly earning its title as one of the top superfoods known to man, and is a power-packed source of chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and 98 different essential minerals found in soil, including phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium as well as essential enzymes and 19 amino acids. Wheatgrass is literally overflowing with nutrition and other more exotic and equally beneficial medicinal compounds like enzymes and antioxidants.
Wheatgrass is 70 percent chlorophyll by weight, the phytochemical that gives dark leafy greens their color. Chlorophyll is essentially the blood of plants; and in humans, it reverses aging, suppresses hunger, cleanses the blood, combats odor, and has been linked to the prevention of cancer.
Spirulina is a natural algae that is incredibly high in protein and is a world class source of antioxidants, B-vitamins, minerals and other essential daily nutrients. It’s also rich in phycocyanin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound.
Believed to have been a staple in the ancient Aztec diet, recent UC Davis studies support that it may be the most-potent immune-boosting food for cellular balance. Spirulina is one of nature`s richest food sources of the hard to get Vitamin B-12 and also contains more iron than spinach or beef liver, both important supplements to a sometimes-deficient vegan diet.
Additionally, it is rich in Vitamin E, beta-carotene, calcium, and chlorophyll. Its oils are richer in Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) than evening primrose oil. Studies have indicated that GLA helps lower blood cholesterol and high blood pressure and eases such conditions as arthritis, premenstrual pain, eczema and other skin conditions.
Taken as a powder or in tablets, it’s a source of easily digestible protein, appealing to athletes for energy and endurance. Other known benefits are that it may reduce cravings and appetite as well as helps promote healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular function.
By simply adding a few scoops of these nutritious superfoods to a smoothie or glass of water each day, you can fill in the gaps you might be missing in your diet and be well on your way to a lifetime of health and wellness.