“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC), the father of western medicine who first argued that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits.
Incorporating superfoods into your daily diet is now easy. Mainline grocerty stores are expanding inventory of such items. Natural grocer leaders like Whole Foods, Mother’s and Sprouts have a wide selection of raw and concetrated superfoods.
[Editorial Excerpt and Caveat Updated February 2014] Read on to learn about nature’s most powerful superfoods. Most of these food tyoes should be part of your regular diet. Superfoods as a category of ingredients is how people will shop and cook in the future as increased awareness of the nutritional profile of food becomes widespread. The only caveat to shifting your caloric intake to raw superfoods and related concentrates is that our food supply chain does not always have independent toxic testing as part of it, and increasingly pollution of our soil and water is causing increased metal and other toxins in food and food concentrates, particularly from areas of the world like much of China where environemental safety and regulation has not yet taken serious root. This concern about ingredient safety is even more pronounced in typical food supply and manufactured foods from cereal to breads to pastas. Superfoods still remain your best bet in terms of dietary focus. As time goes by increased independent testing of ingredient sources will occur as passionate enthusiasts like many of our members push for increased societal pressure on healthy nutrient dense caloric light food supplies and greater protection of our natural resources for us and future generations.
This article and embedded links and videos will open your eyes wider to the world of super foods whether you are a novice or pro. There is something here for everyone. Please feel free to login and comment too. If you are not yet convinced eating organic raw food is the easiest lifestyle change to extend healthy aging, read Organic Raw Foodsand follow all other “orange word” links in that and this research article. Good books you might want to buy are in the reference section at the end.
- [Click here for a recipe - vegan superfood stir fry]
- [Click here for details on an anti-cancer diet rich in superfoods]
You can now take a wide array of raw superfoods daily for less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee. Learn how – watch this video and find links below to concentrated superfoods you should start your day with (mixing with quality water, or ideally adding to juiced fresh organic fruits and vegetables:
Eating an advanced foundational superfood powder is the most convenient and comprehensive way to get nutrition needed to sustain vibrant health whether young or old. These all-in-one formulations nourish multiple body systems with premium ingredients, no toxins, and minimal calories. To read a superfood product guide by the Bauman Nutrition College, click here.
To look and feel super, organic raw foods and advanced superfood concentrates should be part of your daily life. They help reduce the risk of disease since all major diseases have a malnourishment component. If getting to a healthy weight is a challenge for you, using advanced raw superfood meal replacements as snacks and meals is the best way to lose weight without malnourishing yourself. Advanced superfood meal replacement product (MRPs) formulations include, protein, fruits, vegetables, grasses, grains, sea vegetables, fibers, water algae, mushrooms, antioxidants, digestive enzymes, probiotics and more all in one scoop.
SOME OF THE LEADING SUPERFOODS IN THE WORLD
Nettle is a “super food”, containing a significant amount of plant protein, chlorophyll, vitamins A, C and D, and minerals Iron, Calcium, Potassium and Manganese. These plants are best known as stinging nettle plants. However when the nettle leaves are dried and eaten the saliva neutralizes the sting. Nettles are incredibly effective in removing unwanted pounds. A cup of nettle tea in the morning is ideal to get things going in the bowel department. The nettle leaves increase the thyroid function, increase metabolism and releases mucus in the colon allowing for the flushing of excess wastes.
Medicinally, Nettle is used in cases of mild anemia since it is said to be one of the highest sources of plant-digestible iron. For this reason, women are encouraged to take in as much nettles as possible during menstruation, postpartum recovery, and lactation. Nettle is beneficial during pregnancy. It is a mineral rich nutritive herb with vitamin K to guard against excessive bleeding. It improves kidney function and helps prevent hemorrhoids.
The roots are even used, with good data showing its usefulness in treating incontinence and urinary tract problems by neutralizing uric acid, preventing its crystallization, aiding in its elimination from the system, thus relieving gout and arthritis. Nettle as an astringent helps to stop bleeding. Nettle is a most excellent remedy for dandruff. Nettle functions much like a mild Cayenne by opening the vessels, thus increasing circulation and relieving fatigue and exhaustion.
Cocoa is a superfood with an extreme array of health benefits. Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Health benefits of these antioxidants includes promoting cardiovascular health by helping dilate bloods vessels, reduce blood clotting, improve circulation, help regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Cocoa’s antioxidants also protect from environmental and metabolic toxins by helping repair and resist damage caused by free radicals, and may reduce risk of certain cancers.
By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good. There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite. It is most important to fully understand that in order to benefit from chocolate’s wide array of nutrients, eat chocolate that is as close to its natural state as possible. Whole cocoa and nibs are the best.
The properties of the acai berry were kept secret for thousands of years; mainly due to the fact that the raw fruit needs to be consumed within 24 hours of picking. This little fruit, with a pleasant yet unique taste, is one of the world’s most nutritious foods as it is packed with antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
The acai berry (EuterpeOleracea) gets most of its antioxidant properties from the high concentration of anthocyanins; in fact up to 30 times more anthocyanins compared to red wine make acai powder one of the most antioxidant rich superfoods available. The acai berry has natural antioxidant properties that help promote general well-being, boosts energy, stamina and mental acuity levels and can have a positive effect on cholesterol, the digestive system and even increase your sex drive.
The acai fruit pulp is rich in fiber, protein and contains essential fatty acids, all of which combine to help promote healthy digestive and cardiovascular systems.
Research into the specific health benefits of Acai Powder is ongoing, but studies indicate that it may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, help protect your skin and organs against premature aging, improve energy, vitality and mental acuity, and help cell regeneration and healthy tissue growth, neutralizing free radicals that can lead to cancer.
Blueberries are literally bursting with nutrients and flavor, yet very low in calories. Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath (Ericaceae) family whose other members include the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron.
Blueberries are literally an antioxident powerhouse packed with antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, blueberries neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins, the blue-red pigments found in blueberries, improve the integrity of support structures in the veins and entire vascular system. Anthocyanins have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C, improve capillary integrity, and stabilize the collagen matrix (the ground substance of all body tissues). They work their protective magic by preventing free-radical damage, inhibiting enzymes from cleaving the collagen matrix, and directly cross-linking with collagen fibers to form a more stable collagen matrix.
While wine, particularly red wine, is touted as cardio protective since it is a good source of antioxidant anthocyanins, a recent study found that blueberries deliver 38% more of these free radical fighters. In this study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that a moderate drink (about 4 ounces) of white wine contained .47 mmol of free radical absorbing antioxidants, red wine provided 2.04 mmol, and a wine made from highbush blueberries delivered 2.42 mmol of these protective plant compounds.
Blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In addition to their powerful anthocyanins, blueberries contain another antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks metabolic pathways that can lead to colon and ovarian cancer.
Blueberries can help relieve both diarrhea and constipation. In addition to soluble and insoluble fiber, blueberries also contain tannins, which act as astringents in the digestive system to reduce inflammation. Blueberries also promote urinary tract health. For best health results, always remember to choose blueberries that are rich in color and retain a firm structure. The best time to buy blueberries in the United States is between May and October.
Besides acai and blueberry, well known superfruits in advanced superfood formulations include:
- Goji Berries
- Noni Berries
- Sea Buckthorne Berries
- Bilberries and others.
While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens.
Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat’s beneficial effects are due in part to its rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and acting as antioxidants. Buckwheat’s lipid-lowering activity is largely due to rutin and other flavonoid compounds. These compounds help maintain blood flow, keep platelets from clotting excessively (platelets are compounds in blood that, when triggered, clump together, thus preventing excessive blood loss, and protect LDL from free radical oxidation into potentially harmful cholesterol oxides. All these actions help to protect against heart disease. Buckwheat also contains almost 86 milligrams of magnesium in a one-cup serving. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure-the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.
The nutrients in buckwheat may contribute to blood sugar control. Buckwheat and other whole grains are also a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion. Additionally, Buckwheat may also help women avoid gallstones due to its insoluble fiber components by speeding up intestinal transit time.
Buckwheat Health-Promoting Potential Equal to or Even Higher than that of Vegetables and Fruits. Phenolics, powerful antioxidants that work in multiple ways to prevent disease, are one major class of phytonutrients that have been widely studied. Included in this broad category are such compounds as quercetin,turmeric (curcumin), ellagic acid, catechins, and many others that appear frequently in the health news.
One type of phytonutrient especially abundant in whole grains such as buckwheat are plant lignans, which are converted by friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans, including one called enterolactone that is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. In addition to whole grains, nuts, seeds and berries are rich sources of plant lignans, and vegetables, fruits, and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine also contain some.
The human body requires certain amounts of nutrients daily to help the body run in good health, without these our bodies become malnourished. By integrating superfoods into your daily diet, you will dramatically feel the differences in your body as well as help steer your body off the path to disease. There are many more superfoods than with many other benefits that may be more tailored to warding off certain diseases, so it’s important to understand all of their properties and know how to ingest them to gain their full list of benefits.
Spirulina has long been known as one of the world’s greatest superfoods, second only perhaps to Marine Phytoplankton, with a whole host of nutritional benefits. Spirulina is a micro-algae, it is food, not technically a supplement. The quality varies greatly from around the world so all spirulina products are not alike. High quality spirulina is considered a complete food due to its wide array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, complete protein and amino acid profile, and other micro-nutrients and macro-nutrients
Spirulina is best known for its anti-ageing, energy-boosting, and health-maintaining properties. It is especially useful for vegetarians. This is because vegetarians often have difficulties in getting enough protein, iron, or vitamin B12.
The amino acids that make up protein are vital in the human body as they help with the growth of muscles, help produce enzymes and hormones, and also aid the immune system. Spirulina is an excellent source of protein, and it contains all eight recognized essential amino acids required by the body as well as ten non essential amino acids which are often not part of a vegetarian diet.
However, the protein in spirulina can benefit all people, not just vegetarians. This is because vegetable protein is water soluble and excess amounts are discharged from the body. In contrast, excess amounts of animal proteins are stored as fat and over time; this fat may impact upon the body’s blood vessels and coronary system.
Spirulina is the richest source of beta carotene in nature and the carotenoids are powerfulantioxidants, reducing cell damage within the body. As well as theantioxidants, spirulina is highly concentrated in nutrients and is easily digested, making it one of the best anti-ageing foods. Also, as people grow older, they may eat less or fail to digest their food as well as they used to. Taking spirulina can help these people to build the levels of the healthy bacteria, lactobacillus in the gut, which helps with the absorption of nutrients and also eases disorders such as constipation. Spirulina is also great for helping maintain the body in an alkaline state, countering the effects of acidic foods such as soft drinks, meat, eggs and dairy products.
A myriad of health benefits derive from Spirulina. Everything from vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, E, and K), major (and trace) minerals, essential fatty acids, and protein to chlorophyll, phytonutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, polysaccharides, all essential amino acids, nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), salts, and even gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and phycocyanin can be found in spirulina. It protein to weight ratio is very high … over 65%.
Spirulina is fabulous for balancing brain chemistry, building and purifying blood, increasing the production of stem cells, enhancing the immune system and eyesight, promoting healthy hair and skin, and even helps reduce allergies.
Also, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center and many other sources globally, there is increasing evidence Spirulina may help prevent certain types of cancers. Especially when taken with chlorella, another single cell algae that has excellent metal detoxification characteristics as well as many of the food value features of spirulina. This of course should not be surprising since improving your nutrition naturally improves all organ and immune system function and a malnourished bio-chemistry more likely to see aberrant cells replicate out of control. Scientifically proving it in the laboratory under methods used to evaluate and regulate drugs is another issue, since there is little financial incentive for anyone to invest that kind of time and money in clinical trials to prove Spirulina’s value as it is widely available to competitors.
Spirulina has been found to have:
- 65% protein by weight with all essential amino acids
- 300% more calcium than milk
- 2300% more iron than spinach
- 3900% more Beta Carotene than carrots
- 375% more protein than tofu
- and the list goes on and on…[Click here] to read an excellent article on Spirulina
Chlorella can be thought of as one of nature’s superfoods, simply because of the amount of nutrients that it contains. In fact, it is thought that chlorella contains every nutrient needed by the body. Some of the things that can be found in chlorella include protein, all of the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E,beta-carotene, minerals including calcium, zinc, magnesium, and potassium, trace minerals, omega 3 fatty acids, nucleic acids, and chlorophyll.
Chlorella has a whole host of helpful benefits for the body. These include:
- detoxification – the chlorophyll in chlorella is a powerful detoxifier, and detoxification is vital for the body to operate at its peak. Chlorella seems to also be particularly good at removing heavy metals such as mercury and lead from the body. It also strengthens the immune system response. Chlorella is also one of the best foods for cleansing the body’s elimination systems such as the bowel, liver, and blood. Chlorella should be part of everyone’s detox regimen. See the information below for dosage and other information.
- Digestion – because of the high chlorophyll content, chlorella can relieve constipation, improve foul smelling stools, and greatly improve or even eliminate chronic bad breath. Chlorella also contains digestive enzymes such as chlorophyllase and pepsin.
- Cancer – interferon is one of the body’s best defenses against cancer as it stimulates macrophages and tumor necrosis factor. Chlorella increases the body’s interferon levels, thus stimulating the activity of macrophages and t-cells, which enhance the immune system. Chlorella also contains carotenoids which may have a positive effect on precancerous cells.
- Alkalinity – it is important for the body to maintain a correct pH, however, many people are too acidic, due to factors such as a poor diet, junk foods, and soft drinks. Most diseases start in an acidic environment. Correcting the body to the correct pH is very important. Chlorella can help to balance and maintain your body’s pH levels.
- Heart disease – the carotenoids in chlorella can help stop cholesterol from oxidizing and clogging the arteries. Regular use of chlorella can also reduce high blood pressure.
- Intestinal health – chlorella can improve the symptoms of ulcers, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Diverticulosis. It also stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.
- Magnesium – performs over 300 tasks in the body and it is vital for correct heart function, immune function, regulating blood pressure, balancing blood sugar levels, preventing stroke, and for muscle strength and relaxation. It is also vital for energy production, and it promotes mental health, relieves PMS symptoms, and reduces asthma attacks. As well as being essential for a healthy heart, magnesium can be beneficial for mitral valve prolapse, fibromyalgia, and fatigue. It is also important for bone health. Chlorella is an excellent source of magnesium.
- Blood sugar – chlorella can normalize blood sugar levels when hypoglycemia occurs (when blood sugar is too low). Correct blood sugar levels are necessary for normal brain functioning, heart functioning, and energy metabolism.
Seaweeds and sea vegetables are tomorrow’s superfoods. Read more about how amazing seaweeds are here.
Whole books have been written about garlic due to its numerous therapeutic benefits. It has 100s of nutrient compounds that help all 10 of the body’s healing zones. In some of the first ancient writings, garlic is mentioned for its medicinal benefits.
Numerous studies have demonstrated potential benefits of regular garlic consumption on blood pressure, platelet aggregation, serum triglyceride level, and cholesterol levels. Routine eating of garlic may also help stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the lining of blood vessel walls, which may help to relax them. As a result of these beneficial actions, garlic can be described as a food that may help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Laboratory research by US and Swedish scientists published in the August 2005 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals the mechanism behind garlic’s cardiovascular benefits.
The compounds in garlic responsible for its pungency also excite a neuron pathway providing cardiovascular benefits of lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow throughout the body. Garlic’s numerous beneficial cardiovascular effects are due to not only its sulfur compounds, but also to its vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and manganese.
Garlic, like onions, contains compounds that inhibit inflammation. These anti-inflammatory compounds along with the vitamin C in garlic, especially fresh garlic, make it useful for helping to protect against severe attacks in some cases of asthma and may also help reduce the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, allicin, one of the sulfur-compounds responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor, is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent that joins forces with vitamin C to help kill harmful microbes. In research studies, allicin has been shown to be effective not only against common infections like colds, flu, stomach viruses, and Candida yeast, but also against powerful pathogenic microbes including tuberculosis and botulism.
Making garlic and onions a staple in your healthy way of eating may greatly lower your risk of several common cancers, suggests a large data set of case-control studies from Southern European populations (Galeone C, Pelucchi C et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
Spinach and other dark leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard are extremely rich in antioxidants. Spinach is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. More cell protective nutrients will be discovered in spinach.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) is a vital constituent of cells and spinach is a good source of folic acid. Spinach, along with other green leafy vegetables, is considered to be a rich source of iron. Spinach also has high calcium content. Spinach also has some fiber, digestive support and cleansing nutrients.
Cruciferous Vegetables are known for their anti-cancer properties. They include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, turnips, radish, horseradish, mustard greens and bok choy. Their super healing properties go well beyond anti-cancer to include:
- cardio vascular health
- potent antioxidants
- high fiber
- high minerals
- range of vitamins
- plant protein sources
- plant based fatty acids
- blood sugar regulation
- estrogen level regulation
- enzymatic function stimulation.
The specific extracts identified in these cruciferous vegetables that have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties include:
- I3C (indole-3-carbinol)
- DIM (di-indolyl-methane)
- glucosinolates (derived from glucosinolates)
- carnosic acid
Also see Dr. Policano’s top 10 superfoods for women article where she discusses:
- Marine Phytoplankton
- Goji Berries
- Coconut and other nutrient dense foods.
Before closing lets not forget nutrient dense grasses like:
- kamut grass
- barley grass, and
- oat grass.
They should be in all superfood lists as well. As should:
- Cat’s Claw
- Quebarcho Bark
And don’t forget maca!
And lets not forget super anti-viral mushrooms like Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi. There are just so many wonderful superfoods. Make as many part of your day as possible and remember organic foods are substantially superior and should be your choice whenever possible.
If you need a short list of what to get periodically in your diet according to David Wolfe, think: gensing, gogi berry, reishi mushroom, hitachi mushroom, astragalas, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, nettle, garlic, turmeric, spirulina and some nuts. If you need oil try organic coconut oil and avocado oil.
MORE RELATED INFORMATION and ARTICLES:
Leading raw superfood formulations are nutrient dense, containing dozens of toxin free nutrient dense superfoods and 1000s of phytonutrients in a single serving for less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee. Visit our Shop for the best in the world, at guaranteed best prices, period.
Two excellent medical team formulated raw superfood concentrates that are a great way to start your day (in combination really covers all the bases) are:
VEGAN FRIENDLY – Two of our favorites: Vitamineral Green and Supreme Nutriton (Plant protein (hemp, rice & pea) with greens, vegetables, fiber, enzymes, probiotics and a powerful anti-oxidant array)
OR VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY - Our current favorite Vital Scoopformulated by Dr. Bauman of the Bauman Nutrition College (grass fed whey protein based whole food array – fruits, vegetables, grasses, fiber, antioxidants, enzymes and probiotics).
Side note: Increasingly over the past 10 years, we have seen a huge leap forward in the quality of skin care lines adding select raw and organic superfoods to their formulations, most of this progress since 2005. Prior to then, and even today regarding most retail skin care lines, skin care product formulations were in the dark ages. Click here for an introduction to an emerging national retail brand that is quite good by Ann Webb.
OWC’s member Shop will soon introduce some related amazing professional grade skin and personal care product selections at guaranteed best and lowest allowable pricing.
OWC Research Staff used the following sources and other independent research (click on the links for more information on or to buy these books):
50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People, The Encyclopedia of Herbal Remedies and Medicinal Plants, Herbal Remedies, Super Healing Foods, daystarbotanicals.com, foodmatters.tv, gilliansherbs.com, whfoods.com, livesuperfoods.com, Prescription for Nutritional Healing (see below), Alternative Medicine, pubmed.com, wikipedia.com, Chinese Herbal Medicine and other sources.
by Thomas Cifelli and Nicole Cooper (reviewed by Dr. Rudderham)