Updated: Jan 20, 2020
Superfoods are foods that have the highest nutritional value and disease fighting properties. Read on to find out what my top superfoods are. I believe that you should try to incorporate as much of these foods into your diet regularly for better nutrition, energy and health and less need for supplements!
Alfalfa is at the top of my list because it contains (almost) every vitamin/mineral/nutrient. It's basically like a multivitamin. It is also fun and delicious on top of avocado toast, wraps, sandwiches, salads and frittatas! A word of caution though, sprouts, especially alfalfa sprouts can easily carry food borne illnesses because they are grown in the perfect environment to foster bacteria. Just to be cautious, wash your hands before touching them, so that you do not contaminate the sprouts with germs on your own hands. Before you eat them, rinse them thoroughly and lay them on a paper tower to dry. I use them regularly and have never gotten sick. Don't be so scared away at this warning though. Alfalfa contains amazing isoflavones that fight cancer and other diseases - especially breast cancer.
Basically, if you were stranded on a dessert island with only dandelions, you could live off them. They are so abundant in essential nutrients and fiber and they even contain some protein. Medicinally there are so many uses for dandelio. The leaves are most known for their detoxifying/cleansing benefits, while the roots are medicinally used for aiding digestion, prevention of gallstones, reducing high cholesterol, eczema and a cooling pain relief. This bitter weed is a powerhouse of vitamin A, B-vitamins, C, E, K, B-complex, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper. They are also packed with fiber that helps sweep your colon, keeping you from bowel toxicity. Dandelion should be in every middle-aged persons daily diet these days since it helps lower blood pressure, reduce swelling and improve skin. Additionally, the roots contain inulin, a prebiotic that aids in good microflora, which we all know is essential to health.
Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds
This one may come to a surprise for you, but if you're not munching on some crunchy pumpkin seeds, then you just might want to get started. Especially for men, all men should be getting their daily dose of these magical seeds! They are high in zinc, which most people, (particularly men) are deficient in. Studies have been done to prove that pumpkin seeds can improve prostate health, function, sex drive and fertility. Additionally, they can help reduce chances of hair loss in men. Pumpkin seeds are also little miracle seeds for women too. They are one of the essential seeds in seed cycling to balance hormones and are high in manganese, which are essential to hormone health and supports proper nerve and brain function and blood sugar balance. Pantothenic acid contained in these seeds also is important in the production of hormones and healthy digestion. The zinc in pumpkin seeds raise the immune system, and can help prevent things like osteoporosis. Magnesium is very concentrated in pumpkin seeds as well and is essential for 600 chemical reactions in the body. I am just getting started with the glory of these little seeds, they contain high amounts of antioxidants, healthful fatty acids, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin K, iron, phosphorus and b-vitamins. Additionally, they can improve sleep, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Try to buy them raw, unroasted and unsalted. It is highly beneficial to soak them over night and then dry them in a dehydrator at 115 degrees for 12 hours. This will unleash the powerful nutrients of the seeds, increasing the nutrient content and making them more bioavailable to your body. You can also purchase them sprouted to save the hassle. These ones are the best value and great quality.
Spirulina is a species of blue-green algae. It is amazing for everyone, especially vegans because it is high in protein and vitamins. For those who have Diabetes, it may even help control your fasting blood sugar levels by lowering them, and may improve insulin levels and liver enzyme markers. Research shows that spirulina has a positive impact on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and metabolism. What's even more interesting is taking doses of this deep green powder can also relieve nasal allergies and even counteract harmful toxic substances such as arsenic, lead and mercury in the body. If you are someone with anxiety and/or depression, pick your head up because supplementing with spirulina is a natural tryptophan which will help you maintain proper serotonin levels and lift your mood in no time. I love to add spirulina to smoothies for a nice punch of protein and vitamins. It seriously makes you feel great and gives you tons of energy! You can purchase some here.
Watercress is touted as one of the planets most nutrient rich foods. It actually comes in first place on the US Centers for Disease Control’s Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables list. Vitamin K is most abundant and is necessary for blood clotting and strong bones. Watercress also helps protect from cell and DNA damage with is powerful antioxidants. It actually tops the chart in its ability to neutralize free radicals. For so many reasons, watercress can help fight and prevent cancer and many other diseases. It is especially beneficial for heart health. The loads of vitamin C in watercress gives a significant boost to immune function and soft tissue repair. Athletic performance can even benefit from watercress, not only because of all its other life-giving nutrients, but also because it has a significant amount of dietary nitrates.
For centuries, Asian cultures have been eating seaweed and they are some of the longest living humans. Seaweed is high in iodine, which is something we are all very deficient in. There are many ways to eat seaweed. Using Nori wraps, you can make sushi or wraps. They are also sold as clear noodles and salads. Another way to incorporate seaweed is to purchase Dulse or kelp flakes that come in a seasoning shaker. P.S... it's great on eggs! Agar is a type of seaweed that can be used to thicken stuff or in replacement of gelatin. No matter how you use it or what type, they are an incredible powerhouse of nutrients! There are so many breads, but generally they contain generous amounts of protein, minerals of all kinds, vegan source of EFAs, Fibers, carbohydrates, antioxidants and a plethora of vitamins. Thyroid, gut health, heart health, skin and hair health can all improve just by enjoying the many varieties of seaweed.
A vast majority of our body is made up of collagen which is why is so important to get it in our diet. Our body is just not producing enough on its own, and we aren't eating a diet rich in things that contain collagen, or help produce it. We break down as we get older and that is why it is so entirely recommended to supplement with collagen as we age. It is a wonderful protein and contains the most amount of amino acids than any other source. I like to recommend collagen powder to anyone who suffers knee and joint pain or "bone on bone," brittle hair and weak nails. I can't speak on this enough how much of a noticeable improvement you will have when supplementing with this. Notably, one of my favorite benefits of collagen is, it is heaven-sent for gut health and healing things like leaky gut syndrome. I also love collagen for muscle building thanks to the amino acids like glycine in it that create creatine in the body. Another one of my favorite benefits of collagen, and one that has been tested and true for me (honestly these all have been though) is that it banishes cellulite. Cellulite can be so stubborn and hard to get rid of, but I am telling you collagen will do the trick! It is so amazing for vibrant, tight, youthful skin because it is what gives us elasticity. Collagen is even the Livers little helper and also improved the cardiovascular system. I would suggest reading up on collagen because there are so many other wonderful benefits of it that I haven't even gotten to. Read about foods that boost or contain collagen here. Its easy to add to smoothies as your protein source, or to coffee or a matcha latte.
Chia seeds make one of my favorite, perfect, healthy breakfasts - blended chia pudding! It also makes an amazing energy drink! I like to make a liter of homemade lemonade with a tablespoon of chia seeds in the morning because it gives me unbeatable energy and stamina and helps keep me full even without a meal. Chia seeds have almost 17 grams of protein in just 1 oz and do not contain any cholesterol. It is also a very healthy source of fat, complex carbs and dietary fiber. Chia is also rich in minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, beneficial sodium, zinc and magnesium. Vitamins A, B's, C and E are also abundant chia, including thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin and cell repairing antioxidants. Because of their high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, they are one of the richest omega 3 sources in the vegan world. I love that they are also very anti-inflammatory. The seeds also gel-up, which makes you feel more full and helps regulate bowel movement. A cool fact I learned is that the carbohydrates present in chia seeds are better because they are released slowly which stabilizes blood sugar therefore, it is great for those with type 2 diabetics. They even have a greater content of calcium, then many other calcium containing foods, such as skimmed milk. Better yet they actually contain boron, which helps to metabolize calcium! Chia seeds even improve the strength of teeth and can banish bad breath! They are perfect for mommas too because they are incredibly beneficial for the baby's brain development and nutrition and is a very safe source of Omega-3s for pregnant women.
Hemp seeds are 25% high-quality protein. This quantity of protein makes hemp seeds even more impressive than quinoa, flax, and chia seeds. Hemp seeds also contain essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and a rare form of omega-6 called GLA (gamma linoleic acid). Zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron and fiber are some of the other beneficial concentrated nutrients in these seeds. Additionally, they contain vitamin E, Copper, Manganese and a little bit of carbs and fats. GLA, is a rare form of omega-6 fatty acid that can have amazingly positive health effects. It can even improve different cardiovascular conditions, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Overall, it is great for your heart. Even better yet, hemp seeds are a great dietary fiber, both insoluble and soluble making them great for you gut and bowels. Hemp seeds are one of the only plant sources that are a complete protein, making them great for vegans. They contain 21 amino acids! There are 8 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce naturally and we must get from food. Hemp seeds are the perfect solution!
Regular blueberries are amazing for you with their antioxidant content, but impressively wild blueberries have twice the amount of antioxidants than standard blueberries! They are chocked full of an array of natural phytochemicals such as anthocyanin. Add these tiny berries to your detox smoothie because they are one of the most effective heavy metal detoxing foods. They are great at removing other unwanted toxins as well. Wild blueberries are also the most powerful brain food in existence, the most potent prebiotic in nature, and amazing for restoring the liver. The Medical Medium claims that, "if researchers had the technology to decipher what’s inside wild blueberries and how to use it all, they would develop cures for every condition. One hundred years from now, medical science will use the wild blueberry as the key to unlock the secrets of how to heal disease." If that isn't convincing enough I am not sure what is! I love to add these as toppers to chia seed pudding or fruit smoothie bowls as well. There is nothing better than unleashing the powerful benefits of multiple superfoods in one meal!
Broccoli sprouts are one of the most nutrient-dense sprouts, but adding any type of sprouts to your diet would be highly beneficial. Essentially, sprouts have a more dense nutrient profile than their adult versions. Particularly, broccoli sprouts contain extremely high levels of glucoraphanin. This is the glucosinolate precursor to the isothiocyanate sulforaphane. This may be unfamiliar to you, but in doing my research, I think we should get acquainted with the word and what its personality is. According to the article from draxe.com, 'Sulforaphane has been shown to support the heart, bones and respiratory system, and it might help your body fight off a common infection, detoxify environmental chemicals, combat autoimmune disease and even protect your brain after serious injury.' They have some significant cancer-preventing and cancer-fighting capabilities too! Broccoli Sprouts are also inheritably beneficial for autism, heart and bone health and the fetal brain development of babies.
Avocados are one of the healthiest sources of fats. Even the highest critics and oil -free foodies believe a few slices of avocado is an incredible super-food fat that should be incorporated into our diet regularly. Lucky for us, it is delicious with its creamy, buttery flavor and consistency. Avocados can be made in so many different ways - or just eat it out of the skin! Vitamin E is such and important nutrient, and these little green gems are packed full of vitamin E and other nutrients such as potassium. Avocados even contain fiber and powerful antioxidants that fight disease. The fat in avocados, can actually help lower 'bad' LDL cholesterol while boosting 'good' HDL cholesterol. The benefits don't stop there though, avocados are amazing for hair and skin too. In fact, there are certain sugars in avocado that actually help boost collagen production in skin, while it is also very moisturizing. Mommas out there should definitely be adding avocados to their diet on the daily. They contain key nutrients for pregnancy health, such as B-vitamins and Folate.
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