A Superfood, by definition (thank you wiki), is “a food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being,” and in our opinion generally rock.
In general the CW Docs are more concerned with the big picture of eating whole foods than getting into the details of micro-nutrients in specific foods. However, in this case, it helps to understand the nutrient make-up of superfoods to appreciate their miraculous ability to add health to your life!
1. The Incredible, Edible EGG
Farm raised free range eggs are an incredible protein source rich with beta carotene (antioxidant that prevents cancer, repairs damaged cells, and helps our body detoxify), fat soluble vitamins A, D and E (also antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, great for brain function, mood stability, and heal heart disease), and choline (essential nutrient for brain health). Tryptophan is the highest concentrated amino acid in eggs and is the precursor to serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that gives us our sense of well being, confidence, and ease with life.
Food for Thought: Literally, eggs are great brain food, so eat up.
Best practice: Eat eggs with the whites cooked through but the yokes as runny as possible as this preserves the natural sate of the nutrients making them the most bio-available. Always eat a WHOLE egg. The only nutrients in the whites are protein. All the essential fats, vitamins, and health packed nutrients are in the yokes – so don’t skip these.
2. All Things GREEN and LEAFY
Green leafy vegetables are the most power packed, nutrient dense foods we eat. They are full of detoxifying chlorophyll, essential minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and vitamins, including K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. To highlight few of the health benefits of these nutrients:
- Iron - ENERGY, oxygen transport, recovery from exercise, regulates cell growth and division (i.e. protects from cancer)
- Magnesium – RELAXATION, decrease pain, increase bone density, proper heart rhythm, decrease blood pressure, improve coordination, regular colon eliination, and mood balance
- B Vitamins - ENERGY, metabolism, decrease stress, DNA synthesis (anti-cancer), supports the nervous system, liver function, hormone production, mood balance
Food for Thought: Cilantro binds with and helps remove heavy metals from your body detoxifying at the deepest level.
Best practice: eat 3 cups of greens a day raw or lightly steamed. This is a great source of calcium for those of you avoiding dairy and concerned about your intake.
3. Glorious GARLIC
It seems there is little garlic isn’t good for. In herbal medicine it is well known for its antibiotic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory effects. Garlic also protects our arteries from oxidative stress and has a balancing effect on our cholesterol levels. Additionally garlic is a great source of selenium, an essential nutrient that supports our thyroid.
Many of the health benefits of garlic are due to the sulfur compounds in it. This means deoderized garlic is not as useful as the real thing. Garlic is such a delicious addition to foods there is no reason not to just consume it as a part of your food versus taking a supplement.
Food for Thought: If smelling like garlic is a problem for you, take care of your liver, as the garlic odor in our skin is a result of an overstressed, congested liver. Ideas for liver support: eat lemons, artichokes, and greens, avoid processed food, sugar and alcohol, use castor oil packs daily (for directions click here).
Best practice: Always eat FRESH garlic and chop or mince it yourself as most all of garlic’s health providing substances will degrade 2-6 hours after being chopped. Chopping, mincing, or crushing (pressing) garlic actually INCREASES the health benefits, crushing producing the greatest effect.
4. The Bountiful BERRY
Strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, huckleberries,gooseberries, currents, boysenberries and the list goes on. These potent little packages offer rich antioxidants due to their color. The substances that make a blueberry blue are anthocyanins credited with being protective against cancer, the aging process, heart disease, infection, inflammation, and more. Berries are also rich in bio-flavonoids which is what quercetin is, discussed last month as anti-allergy. Tea, wine, citrus, and chocolate are all also high in bio-flavonoids.
Food for thought: Acai and Goji Berries have had a lot of press lately for their antioxidant properties. While this is true, these berries are grown in the Amazon Rain Forest and hills of the Asian Himalayas respectively. They are far from a local crop. With so many healthy berries stateside it is still best to choose local.
Best Practice: Eat lots of raw, organic, fresh berries. Fresh-frozen is also a good option. Organic is important for berries as they are so tasty many bugs enjoy them as much as we do making them one of the most heavily sprayed crops in America.
“If it is safe for a bug, it is safe for me!” -Dr Fred Montague, Professor of Biology University of Utah
OK, you have heard us tout this food as healthy all over our newsletters, now here is why: Coconut is full of beneficial fiber for GI health, it has anti-cancer properties, anti-microbial properties, and it protects us from diabetes. Its medium lengthed fats provide instant energy as they are absorbed directly into the blood stream unlike the longer fats from other plant oils like canola, sunflower and soy oil. To read more about the wonders of coconut click here.
Food for Thought: There can sometimes be confusion as to what is coconut milk. So let’s clear it up. If you buy a whole coconut it has white flesh and a clear liquid inside. The flesh is the pulp and the liquid is coconut water. Coconut MILK is made by blending BOTH of these together. Coconut water is a great electrolyte drink but lacks the essential fats, fiber, and other goodness of the pulp.
Best practice: Eating plenty of raw or lightly heated coconut milk is best as it preserves the high quality fats (fats are broken down by heat). And, coconut oil is the best choice for high heat cooking as it is more stable at high temps than olive oil or butter.