From Chia to Chlorella, Goji and Golden Berries to Hemp, Maca and Mulberries, superfoods are now all the rage. Packed with nutrition and healing properties, superfoods are whole foods with naturally concentrated levels of nutrients and phytochemicals – chemical compounds, naturally occurring in plants, that have been shown to offer nutritional or healing benefits to the body.
There is increasing evidence to demonstrate that the nutrients in whole foods are more beneficial than those found in pills and potions – a common sense perspective when you think that nature made these beneficial compounds available in the perfect synergy of the plants in which they’re found.
Probably the most well-known of the superfoods are those in the general family of micro-algae, which includes Astaxanthin, Chlorella, Spirulina, Blue-Green Algae, and one of the most recent superfood fads, Marine Phytoplankton. There are more than 40,000 strains of microalgae, but the aforementioned foods are known for their potent health benefits, including being rich in chlorophyll, trace minerals from the ocean water, and carotenoids.
But these highly nutritious gifts of nature don’t end at the ocean’s shore… Certain fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, roots, leaves and herbs can all be powerful tools in the fight against disease and poor nutrition.
The claims about superfoods include everything from treating nutritional deficiencies to increasing energy and stamina. But certain superfoods have even been indicated in the treatment of the following conditions:
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Type-2 diabetes
• Autoimmune disorders such as lupus
• Eczema and skin disorders
• Breast cancer, prostate cancer and other cancers
• Heart disease and atherosclerosis
• Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Parkinson’s disease and other neuromuscular disorders
• Liver disease and hepatitis
• Depression, mood swings and behavioral disorders
• Eye disease
• Infertility and reproductive system disorders
• Infections and common colds
• Asthma and respiratory disorders
• Kidney and bladder disorders
• Osteoporosis and skeletal disorders
• Chronic pain and joint pain
If you’re new to the superfood craze, and you’d like to get an overview of what’s out there, you might want to consider taking a stroll around the one of the many websites that sell these nutritional powerhouses. In addition to the usual suspects of spirulina, chlorella, chia, hemp, maca, and many others, here are a few products you might not have heard of, that may be deserving of a place in your health regimen:
Camu Camu Powder
A long-time staple of the indigenous tribes of the Peruvian Amazon rain forest, the Camu Camu fruit has more natural vitamin C than almost any known plant on earth. It is also a good source of antioxidants, amino acids and phytochemicals.
The Goldenberry is an annual herb indigenous to many parts of the tropics, including the Amazon. Dried Goldenberries make a highly nutritious, citrus flavored “raisin.” They are a good source of bioflavonoids, phosphorous, pectin, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, and B6. They are also exceptionally high in protein (for a fruit), about sixteen percent.
Shilajit is considered the king herb of Ayurveda. A rejuvenative herb and an adaptogen, Shilajit contains at least 85 minerals in Ionic form, as well as humic and fulvic acid. It is considered to be beneficial to all systems of the human body with specific significance to the reproductive and nervous system. Studies have confirmed its uses as an anti-anxiety agent and as an enhancer of cognitive ability and memory retrieval activity. It can also help strengthen the immune system, fortify cells and muscles, and can be used as an anti-oxidant, an anti-stressor, an anti-allergen, and an anti-asthmatic.
Note: Upon reading further, I learned that most of the Shilajit found on the market today is in powder form, and is a poor imitation of the real thing, which is “a pale brown to blackish-brown resin, with a characteristic strong odor and taste.” According to this website:
“Traditionally it was used not only to heal multiple conditions and improve overall health, but also used in combination with other herbal formulations, to increase their efficacy… Today, modern science has extensively researched Shilajit, confirming and validating much of the knowledge of the properties holistic practitioners have known and used from antiquity. Shilajit’s well-established health benefits extend over a wide range, from its potent antioxidant properties, to its use as a powerful aid to tissue regeneration.”
OK, it’s official. Shilajit is now at the top of my wish list!