The following is taken from Food Matters:
Greens are fantastic for our health, Green Superfoods are even better! Every morning try to add a Green Superfood to your Vitamix Green Smoothie. Green Superfoods have the highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins and minerals to protect and heal the body. They contain a wide array of beneficial substances including proteins, protective photo-chemicals and healthy bacteria helping you to build cleaner muscles and tissues, aid your digestive system function and more effectively protect you against disease and illness.
Green Superfoods are extremely rich in chlorophyll - the pigment that gives plants their green colour. The molecular structure of chlorophyll is very similar to that of human blood and studies show that when this is consumed, the production of haemoglobin in blood is increased. Higher amounts of haemoglobin in the bloodstream means more oxygen-rich blood, the first and most important element that cells need to thrive.
Wheat grass - Wheat grass is the sprouted grass of a wheat seed. Unlike the whole grain, because it has been sprouted, it no longer contains gluten or other common allergic agents. Wheat grass is super alkalizing and is excellent for promoting healthy blood. It normalizes the thyroid gland to stimulate metabolism thus assisting digestion and promoting weight loss due also to its high enzyme content and cleansing effect. Try our Wheat Grass Powder from Synergy.
Barley grass - Barley grass has 11 times more calcium than cow’s milk, 5 times more iron than spinach and 7 times more Vitamin C and bio-flavonoids than orange juice. It contains significant amounts of Vitamin B12 which is very important in a vegetarian diet. Barley grass juice has anti-viral activities and neutralizes heavy metals such as mercury in the blood. Introduce this superfood into your diet more by using barley grass powder in your smoothies.
Wild blue-green algae - Algae was the first form of life on Earth and its power is immense. Wild blue - green alga is a phyto-plankton and contains virtually every nutrient. With a 60% protein content and a more complete amino acid profile than beef or soy beans. It contains one of the best known food sources of beta carotene, B vitamins and chlorophyll. It has been shown to improve brain function and memory, strengthen the immune system and help with viruses, colds and flu.
Spirulina - Spirulina is a cultivated micro-algae which has been consumed for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples in Mexico and Africa. It is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth and contains 70% complete protein, towering over steak which consists of only 25% protein once cooked. Studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels and cravings thus making it a key food for diabetics, and can be used to assist in weight loss and as a general nutritional supplement.
Chlorella - Chlorella is a fresh water algae and like its other algae cousins contains a complete protein profile, all the B vitamins, vitamin C and E and many minerals. It is amazing for the immune system and for reducing cholesterol and preventing the hardening of the arteries, a precursor to heart attacks and strokes. Try the Yaeyama Pacifica Chlorella Powder.
Green leafy vegetables - Green leafy vegetables are so readily available and so highly nutritious, however most people do not eat enough of them. Studies continuously confirm that populations that eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables run a far lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Fresh raw green leafy vegetables contain high doses of chlorophyll, easily digestible proteins, enzymes and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
These particular vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, a health tonic for the brain and immune system and a cleanser of the kidneys. Try any of the following: rocket, spinach, dandelion greens, kale, watercress, parsley, lettuce, endive, chicory, broccoli sprouts and mustard sprouts. We've included a wide range of tasty and nutritious raw food, detox and healthy recipes to help you get started.
Fruit and nut superfoods are high in antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals may sound a little like an extremist terrorist sect evading capture and wreaking havoc across the globe and in fact within the context of your body this would be right. They are, in part, a natural occurrence through metabolism however extra and unnecessary free radical load can be put on our bodies by external factors including pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation, burnt foods, deep fried fats and cooked foods. When enough of these free radicals invade our immune system problems occurs. This is when you need antioxidants to build up the immune system and fight off the free radicals in the form of Superfoods or supplements.
Goji Berries - Goji berries are grown on vines in the protected valleys of inner Mongolia and Tibet. These distinctively flavoured red berries are a very rich source of vitamin C, having 500 times more vitamin C per ounce than oranges and actually more than any other fruit. They are a superb source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E and contain a full complement of protein with 18 amino acids and 21 trace minerals. Most of all they are an excellent antioxidant making it an ideal natural whole food for reversing aging and protecting against disease.
Raw Cacao - For this nut we could easily dedicate a whole page, if not a book. A word of warning before we start however, most cocoa powder and commercial chocolate is processed via the "Dutch method" meaning it is subjected to scorching temperatures of up to 150°C with the additional aid of solvents, thus destroying most of the nutrients and antioxidants. Be sure to attain certified organic raw cacao in a powder, nibs or whole bean form as the temperature will have never been allowed to exceed 40°C thus allowing all the heat-sensitive vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to remain intact. Raw cacao beans contain possibly the world's most concentrated source of antioxidants found in any food. Raw Cacao is the highest natural source of magnesium, is the highest natural source of chromium, one of the highest natural sources of iron, manganese, zinc and copper. And is also one of the highest Vitamin C content foods in the world. For those concerned with not getting enough iron it should be pleasing to know that one small 28 gram serving of raw cacao beans gives 314% of the recommended daily allowance of iron. And if that is not enough raw cacao beans have an antioxidant (ORAC) score of 95,500. To put that into perspective, that is 14 times more flavonoids (antioxidants) than red wine and 21 times more than green tea.
Camu Berry - The camu berry is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, the amino acids serine, valine and leucine, as well as small amounts of the vitamins thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Traditionally, camu has been used to support the immune system, maintain excellent eyesight, ward off viral infections, support strong collagen, tendons, and ligaments and decrease inflammation. Try this organic Camu Camu powder from Loving Earth.
Maca - Maca powder is from the Maca root, a flavourful ancient Superfood from Peru. Maca has been cultivated for at least 2000 years and was consumed by Inca warriors to increase strength and endurance. It is a highly nutritious food that has been used traditionally to gain energy, promote sexual desire, support fertility and enhance immune system function. It continues today to be a significant staple food and medicinal plant for the Peruvian people and is now widely available around the world as a whole food supplement.
Acai - Acai berries have long been a part of the staple diet of the tribes in the Amazon. With the appearance of a purple grape and taste of a tropical berry it has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties thanks to a high level of anthocyanin’s, pigments also found in red wine. The ORAC rating of acai is 1,027. Make sure to look for the freeze dried acai fruit in which the nutrients are kept intact or when buying the juice look for a brand that has not been pasteurized or heated in any way. Acai powder is a great way to get more of this superfood into your diet.
Coconuts - Young coconuts are one of the highest sources of electrolytes in nature. Electrolytes are ionized salts in our cells that transport energy throughout the body. Coconut water is a much better alternative to commercial sports drinks laden with artificial sugars and colours. The molecular structure of coconut water is identical to human blood plasma, which means that it is immediately recognized by the body and put to good use. Drinking the juice from a young coconut is like giving your body an instant blood transfusion. In fact this was common practice during World War II in the Pacific, where both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water, siphoned directly from the coconut, to give emergency transfusions to wounded soldiers.
Coconut oil - Coconut oil's saturated fat is of the medium-chain fatty acid variety, which are digested more easily and utilized differently by the body than other saturated fats (such as butter, meat and eggs). Whereas other saturated fats are stored in the body's cells, the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy. Coconut oil will actually speed up metabolism so your body will burn more calories in a day which will contribute to weight loss. Coconut oil supports healthy metabolic function and is a revered anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent. Pacific islanders deem coconut oil to be the cure-all gift from nature for all illness.
Noni - This fruit has been used by Polynesian islanders as a regenerative medicine for more than 1500 years. Research documents that the noni fruit has astounding anti-bacterial properties, even against E-coli. It has anti-tumour activity, anti-inflammatory properties, is effective as a pain reliever, generates cell repair and strengthens the immune system. Noni contains a multitude of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. Many believe that the synergistic effect of the multi-spectrum nutrients is what gives it its potency. It has been proven beneficial for colds and flu's, digestive disorders, skin disorders, pain relief, headaches, infections and more. For best results look for a freeze-dried product that uses only the whole fruit or when buying the juice look for a brand that does not use pasteurizing.
Seaweeds are the most nutritionally dense plants on the planet as they have access to all the nutrients in the ocean. They can contain up to 10 times more calcium than milk and eight times as much as beef. The chemical composition of seaweeds is so close to human blood plasma, that perhaps their greatest benefit is regulating and purifying our blood system. They help to alkalize our blood, neutralizing the over-acid effects of our modern diet and protect us from a wide array of toxic elements in the environment, including heavy metals, pollutants and radiation by-products converting them to harmless salts that the body can eliminate.
But the most remarkable results with seaweeds we see is boosting weight loss and deterring cellulite build-up. The high concentration of natural iodine helps to stimulate the thyroid gland so that food fuels are used before they can be turned into fatty deposits. At the same time, the minerals act like electrolytes to break the chemical bond that seals the fat cells allowing trapped wastes to escape. Both by eating sea vegetables or bathing in them helps reduce cellulite and stimulates lymphatic drainage.
Nori - is best known for the seaweed used to make sushi rolls. You can make your own at home, make sure you use the untoasted nori sheets for maximum nutrient content.
Kelp - kelp is available in powder or capsule form for those who feel awkward eating seaweed. It is also the most common seaweed found along the ocean shores. Due to their thick leaves they are perfect for a hot seaweed bath.
Dulse - a red seaweed, available in flakes. There is no need to cook dulse. It is great to use as seasoning on salads, vegetables and soups.
Arame - consists of brown stringy seaweed. Soak in hot water for 5 minutes and it is ready to use.
Wakame - With a sweet flavor makes a great compliment to sandwiches. Soak for 5 minutes in hot water.
Kombu - Used in Japan for centuries as a mineral rich flavour enhancer. Add a strip of kombu when cooking beans making them more digestible and reducing gas. Add a strip of kombu to your sprouts when soaking them to allow them to soak up the minerals.
Herbs as nourishment offer the body a whole host of nutrients it may not have received either because of poor diet or environmental deficiencies in the soil or air. Herbs as medicine are essentially body balancers that work with the body functions so that it can heal and regulate itself. Herbs have been used for centuries as part of the wisdoms of natural healing methods. Herbs are best used in their whole form rather than isolating effective plant constituents so-called "active ingredients". Since all body parts and most disease symptoms are interrelated, it is wise to use herbs which can affect each part of the problem.
Reishi Mushroom (spirit mushroom) - A tremendous shen (heart and aura) building herb known to the Chinese for 5,000 years. It’s immune modulating and is a great liver support herb, a heart tonifying herb (great for high blood pressure), and an adaptogenic. Reishi is one of the great providers for well-being on Earth. Reishi is found in forests all over the world.
Asparagus Root - The root of common asparagus is considered one of the greatest superherbs in Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. It nourishes the kidneys and lungs. It nourishes the sympathetic nervous system and builds bodily fluids. Asparagus root is a tonic, adrenal rejuvenator, anti-ulcerous and anti-inflammatory. The root of asparagus is also used in the treatment of nervous disorders, dyspepsia, diarrhea, dysentery, tumours, hyperdipsia, neuropathy and liver disease. This plant is reported to have immuno-modulating and antihepatotoxic and activities.
Chaga Mushroom - Perhaps the most powerful anti-cancer herb in the world. Chaga is the highest antioxidant food/herb substance in the temperate regions of the world. Its extraordinary concentration of non-polar polysaccharides as well as betulinic acid has been cited as the major source of its immune modulating activities. Chaga has anti-inflammatory properties.
Pau D’Arco (Lapacho) - This delicious tree bark from the Amazon and jungles of Central America contains powerful anti-fungal compounds. Pau d’Arco effectively fights fungal infections such as candida as well as cancer. This bark reduces fevers, assists in healing ulcers and is also used for venereal and rheumatic disorders. It is especially useful for fungal and viral skin disorders — especially eczema and herpes. Lapacho multiplies the body’s production of red blood cells. Pau d’Arco tea is often combined with an anti-viral superherb Una da Gato (Cat’s Claw).
Ho Shou Wu (Fo-Ti) - This prepared root nourishes and tonifies the kidneys, liver, and the blood. It is a hair restoring tonic (fights baldness). This root builds and replenishes kidney, adrenal, and sexual energy as well as increases fertility. This longevity tonic contains antioxidants that help produce the super enzyme SOD (super-oxide dismutase).
Nettle - The bowel mover. 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.
Aloe vera - Aloe vera is a perennial succulent that grows in a wild and seems to do best in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It has been deemed a superfood after research studies identifying its seventy-five healing compounds including natural steroids, antibiotic agents, amino acids, minerals and enzymes. Aloe vera has been used since Egyptian times as a skin moisturizer, and healer for burns, cuts, bruises, acne and eczema. This is mostly due to the high concentration of natural sulphur (MSM) that it contains. Aloe juices alkalizes the digestive tract preventing over-acidity, a common cause of indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn and ulcers.
Echinacea - Echinacea is a household name when it comes to warding off colds and flu. This herb is used as a natural antibiotic and immune system stimulator, helping to build up resistance. The reason for its effectiveness is because of its ability to stimulate the lymph flow in the body. Lymph runs parallel with our bloodstream and carries toxins out of the body. The herb can be taken in liquid or capsule form for 2-3 week periods during "high risk" flu seasons. The tea from this herb has also grown in popularity for treating infections and cancers including skin cancer.
Ginseng - Ginseng is the quintessential herb for handling stress. This ancient healing herb has been used widely throughout Asia as an energizer tonic. This special herb is particularly beneficial when recovering from illness or surgery for its restorative and anti-infection properties. It promotes regeneration from stress and fatigue
The Egyptians wrote about it back in 5500 B.C., the Indians used it for their religious ceremonies in 1000 B.C. and even the Babylonians have been noted to use it in their medicinal practices. The western world actually discovered the benefits of bee superfoods by accident during an investigation of native Russian Beekeepers who regularly lived past 100 years of age who ate raw honey, rich in bee pollen, every day.
Royal Jelly - Royal Jelly is a milk like secretion from the head glands of the worker bees. The queen bee lives almost exclusively on royal jelly and she lives around 40 times longer than the rest of the bees. Royal Jelly is a powerhouse of nutrients containing every nutrient necessary to support life. It is the worlds richest source of pantothenic acid (also known as Vitamin B5), which is known to combat stress, fatigue and insomnia and is a vital nutrient for healthy skin and hair.
Bee Pollen - Bee pollen is collected by bees from flowering plants and formed into granules. Bee pollen is the most complete food found in nature and has five to seven times more protein than beef. It is especially beneficial for the extra nutritional and energy needs of athletes and those recovering from illness. It is a natural antidote for fighting allergies particulary hayfever and sinusitus. Research shows that pollen counteracts the signs of aging and increases both mental and physical capability.
Propolis - Propolis is the substance that bees coat the walls of their hives with and bee hives have often been referred to as the most antiseptic places in nature. The powerful antibiotic properties of propolis can help protect humans from bacteria and can strengthen our immune system. Propolis works against viruses, something that antibiotics cannot do. Research shows that taking propolis during the high risk 'cold and flu' season reduces colds, coughing and inflammation of the mouth, tonsils and throat.