How “super” is your food?
The word “superfood” is thrown around a lot, and there are truly an amazing number of foods that are wonderful for your health. There are common foods, like blueberries for example, that are filled with antioxidants, but I’m not going to speak about those. There are also foods that were once less common, like hemp seeds, cacao, turmeric, and coconut oil, that I now consider to be common.
What I’m most interested in are these uncommon, even obscure, superfoods that can sound very mysterious and exotic and that most people might not have heard of. I think that we are only beginning to discover the power of so many less commonly found plants, herbs, roots, and minerals and these are fascinating to me.
You might be wondering, what superfoods should I add to my green smoothie? Here I’d like to summarize the superfoods that I’ve tried and to explain what I continue to take regularly and why.
Superfoods & Supplements I Take Regularly
Reishi mushroom is so incredible that I’ve written an entire blog post devoted to why reishi is the best superfood in the world. Reishi mushrooms are thought by many to be the most powerful superfood and it has quite possibly saved both my husband and father from fatal illness. It has the power to boost our immune system which protects us from illness. Reishi contains chemicals that fight against the formation of tumours and cancer. Click here to read about all of the illnesses and conditions can all be treated by taking reishi.
Maca has many benefits. It’s rich in vitamins, boosts energy, is good for your skin, helps balance your mood, and in my case my importantly, it helps to regulate your hormones. I take it daily for that purpose. It’s also quite tasty with a nice malty taste which is tasty in smoothies and good with chocolate. I find that Raw Food World carries the highest quality maca.
The first time I took chaga, I literally experienced a euphoric pick me up. To clarify, I didn’t get ‘high’ but I felt really good; happy, healthy, good. Chaga is the most nutritionally dense tree growth. The Siberians call it the “Gift from God” and the “Mushroom of Immortality,” the Japanese call it “The Diamond of the Forest,” and the Chinese call it “King of Plants.”
Camu camu is very high in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron and is also important for absorbing the benefits of reishi. It’s also used to help treat viral infections, cold sores, colds, eye conditions, gum disease, and it’s good for fatigue and headaches.
The body needs iodine but can’t produce it itself so you have to get it from your diet. The thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones. An iodine deficiency can lead to all sorts of problems like infertility, autoimmune disease of the thyroid, and can lead to thyroid cancer. Iodine deficiency is also very dangerous for pregnant women. And the most recognized problem of iodine deficiency is that you get an unpleasant goiter.
To guard against iodine deficiency, it’s been added to processed foods, particularly to table salt. However, nowadays many people (myself included) are moving away from table salt to Himalayan salt or fancy sea salts, etc. it’s important not to neglect our iodine intake. It occurs naturally in sea vegetables like kelp, but I add extra iodine drops to our smoothie to guard against deficiency.
Brazil nuts are the best food source of selenium. Selenium has been shown to help prevent the formation of small tumours. This is particularly true for prostate cancer so brazil nuts are very important for men. From what I’ve learned, 3 brazil nuts a day is the dose that can help to prevent the formation of tumours. I make sure to include 3 brazil nuts a day in my husband’s smoothie, while I don’t have them myself every single day and tend to skip them if we’re running low. When we’re nearly out of brazil nuts, I usually pour my smoothie out first, then add the 3 brazil nuts to the remaining smoothie for him.
There’s tons of information out there about why vitamin D is important. Particularly since I’m very fair and can’t spend time in the sun, I’ve been shown to have a vitamin D deficiency so I take it in the form of drops every day.
Vitamin B12 helps make your DNA and your red blood cells, among other things. Your body can’t make vitamin B12 so if you’re like me and you don’t get it from animal-based foods then you need to take it as a regular supplement.
Along with vitamin D, Omega 3 is the other really critical element that you should consider supplementing into your diet. It occurs naturally in some foods like hemp seeds and hemp seed oil, but a supplement can be a good idea.
Other Superfoods & Supplements
These are superfoods and supplements that I don’t take regularly, but I keep some of these on my shelf and have taken all of them at one time or another.
Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, tumours, tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, back problems, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, and chronic liver disease. It’s an “adaptogen” to help the body cope with daily stress and as a general tonic.
He Shou Wu
This is one of the most popular tonic herbs in Asian herbalism. It’s known to nourish the blood, calm the nervous system while also being energizing. It helps to maintain the strength and stability in the lower back and knees, and it’s good for sex drive. I’m interested in the fact that it helps to keep you young and it keeps your hair dark.
The problem with the Acai berry is that when I pronounce it correctly, nobody knows what I’m talking about. It’s pronounced AH-sigh-EE. It’s good for osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, weight management, and it’s very detoxifying. It’s also thought to be ‘age-defying’ because it’s very high in antioxidants.
Astragalus is an herb and the root is used as the medicine. This is a supplement that is best used during ‘times of need’ and can be used to help the common cold, as an example. It can help to strengthen and regulate the immune system. It is also used for upper respiratory infections, allergies, fibromyalgia, anemia, HIV/AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Chlorella & Spirulina
I’ve stopped taking these myself due to concerns about them containing heavy metals however, there are some benefits. They’re a good source of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals, B-vitamins, and iron.
Good for digestion and promoting bowel regularity, reduces serum cholesterol, improves circulation, contains linoleic acid,
reduces high blood pressure, improves liver function, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and more.