It seems that almost every month there is a New Superfood or Herb that is being advertised as the:

  • Best food ever
  • the cure all and end all
  • the most powerful
  • the most nutrient dense
  • etc

But you might want to note that Superfood is NOT a scientific term.  Further, you have a choice.  You can look at all of this and simply write it off as marketing hype OR you can step back say:

Well of course.  The earth is full of powerful susperfoods.  Foods and Herbs are full of amazing phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, omega 3s, fiber, etc.  That is why we have been around for thousands of years.  That is why there are so many awesome remedies in:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Egyptian Medicine
  • African Medicines
  • etc, etc.

The various types of scientists throughout history, (and believe me scientific thinking is not something new – the fantastic scientific thinking of Ayurvedic scholars 3000 yrs ago would blow you away!!)  have studied and observed how plants and animals have protected and healed themselves, and applied that learning to ourselves.

There are thousands of Chinese and Ayurvedic formulas that have been used successfully and are now being studied in universities around the world and recognized for their fantastic benefits.

Did you know that most of Western Pharmaceutical was based on plants?  That because the natural phytonutrient could not be patented, they had to take it into the laboratories and try to make a similar compound.  Of course, something created in a laboratory simply does not have the intelligence that the same compound has when it is created naturally and works in conjunction with all the other compounds found in that plant.  So consequently, the man made stuff becomes toxic or harmful; depletes us other nutrients (that we would have had if we had taken was nature provided naturally); and causes a multitude of other problems.

Anyways, back to the topic.  The new Superfood of the month is NingXia – otherwise known as Goji berry – has been known and promoted as a superfood for decades.  Yes, I agree it is wonderfully full of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes…but is it the best – no!  It is one of many.

Is it the best and most powerful anti-oxidant – NO!  Your body produces the Master Anti-oxidant that is a million times more powerful than any food or supplement – and it restores itself and all other anti-oxidants – and it works on all categories of free radicals – and it is required in almost every function of the body – glutathione…

A few other things to remember when reading lists of Superfoods or the current best, most powerful, etc are:

  • what soil is it grown in
  • is the soil toxic or nutrient rich (most soils are depleted today because the big corporates don’t allow for the 7 year cycling of soils that kept them nutrient rich for thousands of years)
  • are the foods agriculturally grown or wild crafted – makes a huge difference in the nutrient profile
  • how is it harvested – some herbs will have an entirely different nutrient profile is harvested before or after the dew; or in the AM versus the PM; or time of year
  • what kinds of POPs, PCBs, etc have they been sprayed with
  • are they sprayed before harvesting and during holding, i.e., before shipping, to stop enzyme activity so that they have time to reach the grocery store (think of the apples harvested in the fall that you ate in the spring)
  • if claimed to be “organic” – what does actually mean and who tested it – organic is a very abused term these days

The following short list of superfoods have been organized in categories both according to predominant nutrient and to food category and we have not even included the powerful herbs:

When we are looking for the Omega 3s I would suggest:

  • ground flax seeds (great fiber, great for reducing inflammation, asthma, migraine headaches and osteoporosis; fights heart disease and stroke, cancer and diabetes)
  • hemp seed
  • salba or chia seeds ((also includes great protein and minerals:  calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and Vitamin B1)
  • artichoikes (help regulate cholesterol; great anti-oxidants and good to fight cancers and heart disease; high levels of potassium)
  • avocados (another good source of potassium; cardio benefits; protects against anti-inflammatory and cancer; helps to fight diabetes and regulate cholesterol)
  • nuts ( a small amount provides lots of protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidant content)

these not only contain a broad range of Omega 3s but also fiber, vitamins and minerals (calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, etc)

Green leaf vegetables are rich in vitamins, fiber, phytonutrients, and minerals

  • Bok Choy (high in Vitamins A, C & K)
  • Broccoli (used to be the leading vegetable for magnesium; now is virtually depleted.  Contains Vitamins A, C, K; contains isothiocyantes (ITCS ) which target and block mutant genes preventing cancer)
  • Carrots (oh boy, raw carrots provide loads of fiber; Vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, B9, C & K and manganese and potassium)
  • Collards
  • Kale (high in Vitamins A, C & K; minerals (calcium & iron); various phytonutrients that fight against heart disease and cancer; anti-inflammatories that fight against inflammation; and detoxifiers )
  • Mustard greens
  • Spinach (anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids; high in potassium & low in sodium; high in iron)

Other vegetables also contain great nutrients

  • Beets (6 of the most powerful betalaines; great source of nitrates and good for the : brain, heart, and muscles)
  • Cabbage (regulates cholesterol but also is known for a wide variety of medicinal purposes from better eyesight to better skin)
  • Pepers (Vitamins A, B, C, E & K; help to reduce inflammation & prevent heart disease, cataracts and asthma)

Fruits are high in anti-oxidants, fiber and phytonutrients (make sure you don’t use a juicier – you want the whole fruit with all of the fiber)

  • Acai berry is known for its great anti-oxidants when freshly picked but they don’t last
  • Apples (the more tart the better; regulate cholesterol; have boron for bones; great for asthmatics; but may contain arsenic depending on where they are grown )
  • Cherries (especially if they are sour, prevents gout; full of anti-oxidans for the skin; regulate cholesterol; fight inflammation, promote heart health & improve mental functioning; contain lots of polyphenols and melatonin)
  • Chocolate (the cocoa seed has over 1200 molecules, over 300 nutrients IF grown, harvested and processed properly – dark chocolate is virtually a scam – when they eliminate the omega 3 rich cocoa butter, they loose up to 80% of the anti-oxidants for which they are acclaimed.  Also, whether they are agriculturally grown or wild crafted makes a big difference and what species makes a big difference – some are high in taste while others are high in nutrients)
  • Cranberries (especially when fresh and tart)
  • Dragon fruit
  • Goji berries (great anti-oxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins)
  • Kiwis (more nutrient dense than most fruit (high levels of Vitamin A, C, E,  potassium, fiber and full of anti-oxidants))
  • Lemons/Limes (anti-oxidant bioflavonoids, Vitamin C; fight against heart disease, diabetes and arthritis; heal ulcerations; relieves constipation; and aids in urinary disorders – use the whole fruit – not just the juice)
  • Noni fruit (well known for containing all 72 types of betalaines (but beets contain the most powerful betalaines)
  • Olives (don’t loose the anti-oxidants like the oil does – the anti-oxidants are lost within 6 months of processing)
  • Pomegranate (polyphenols that clean the arterial walls; fight inflammation, heart disease and cancer)
  • Raspberries (the more tart the better)
  • Strawberries (rich in Vitamin C and fiber) – but also absorbs more toxins than most foods!!! so make sure they are organic

Dairy

  • While dairy looses most of its nutrients thanks to the government required pasteurization (originally intended for beer not for dairy) yogurt can be good for you.  Notice how dairy has to put Calcium and Vitamin D back into it.  Well, that’s not all that was lost.  In addition, you have to be careful of the growth hormones and anti-biotics they are injected with and whether the cattle was grazed or fed grain it was not designed for
  • Yogurt, is a fermented foods and all fermented foods are good for us.  If it is Greek yogurt, AND not full of fruit (artificial or otherwise) which then requires all kinds of stabilizers and other toxins we don’t need, can be a great source of protein, potassium, probiotic (although only a few strains).  I love the Greek yogurt that has vanilla infused into it – tastes great.

Proteins

  • Beans:  (great source of a variety of essential amino acids; regulate cholesterols and high in soluble fibers & phytonutrients)
  • Eggs:  great protein to start the day with and full of protein, vitamins (Bs, D) and minerals (selenium) and choline ( a fat that the body requires) if they are truly free range (as opposed to out of the cage for 5 min/day).  Caged chickens just don’t have the same nutrient value.
  • Fish:  salmon (well known for its omega 3s and iron; but you have to watch the mercury); sardines, mackerel
  • Legumes: insoluble fiber, proteins, minerals (magnesium, manganese and potassium), omega 3s,
  • Nuts:  pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans (( a small amount provides lots of protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidant content)

Grains (rich in protein, fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins, trace minerals)

  • Barley
  • Oats (especially the steel cut style: regulates cholesterols; cleans the intestines and provides vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-oxidants)
  • Quinoa ( not truly a grain but cooks like one & is high in protein, fiber, vitamin E and minerals (magnesium, iron, selenium and zinc)

Here’s to your health!

For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca

Copyright 2014 © Choices Unlimited for Health & Wellness

Disclaimer: This site is provided for general information only, and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or other health care professional. This site is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. This site is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of such sites. Always consult your own health care practitioner.