Posted by: godswaytohealth | October 8, 2012

WHY SHOULD WE EAT SUPER-FOODS?

WHY SHOULD WE EAT SUPER-FOODS?

Obviously, it’s for the amazing health benefits that they offer. These foods are rich in nutrients and work wonders in keeping your mind and body healthy. But, this is not all. Once you start consuming super-foods on a regular basis, you will start noticing the difference in how you feel and look.

Typically super-foods contain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, polysaccharides, enzymes and glyconutrients to name a few.

Most of us are all familiar with many super foods like berries, broccoli and quinoa. Let us take a look at some that are not so common in our daily intake.

AÇAÍThis South American fruit has been one of the richest food sources for the people of the Amazon but it has started gaining immense popularity across the world as well for some of its excellent health benefits. The Amazon people of Brazil have been using the Açaí from many years and they seem to have basically known that it had all these super-food powers without being formally educated about it. Scientists today are still discovering all the wonderful things that the Açaí berry can do, but nevertheless, some of its well known benefits have been documented already. Here’s a quick look at what the Açaí berry can do for your body:

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Helps people sleep better
  • Improves circulation and functioning of the heart
  • Improves vision
  • Makes the immune system stronger
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Regulates the levels of cholesterol in the body
  • Slows down the aging process

What does the Açaí berry have which makes it such a fantastic super-food? It is known to contain significant amounts of essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 as well as monounsaturated oleic acid. Açaí berries also have a high concentration of blue pigmented antioxidants and it has the one of the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) values amongst fruits. As we all know, free radicals are the cause of all harm in our bodies, including the ageing process and Açaí berries are excellent in absorbing these free radicals.

Açaí berries have as many as nineteen different amino acids for building healthy proteins and it has plenty of dietary fiber as well which helps out in digestion. They also contain less sugar and have plenty of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus and vitamins such as beta-carotene and vitamin E. One of the most amazing qualities of Açaí berries is that since it has such a high concentration of anti-oxidants, it is also being considered as a cancer fighter, and research is being conducted to verify this aspect.

These berries can be consumed as supplements, or you can get it in powder form, which can be added to smoothies and juices. No matter how you consume it, it’s bound to benefit you in many ways, so make it a part of your regular diet.

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CAMU CAMU – These berries are found in the South American rainforests and contain the highest amount of Vitamin C in any botanical source.  It is not just full of Vitamin C but also contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. Amino acids such as leucine, serine and valine are also present in this excellent super-food. Other vitamins that are also found in the Camu Camu are thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Here are some of the benefits of the Camu Camu berry:

  • Great for the skin
  • Helps improve your eye sight considerably
  • Helps in keeping organs like eyes, brain, heart, skin, lungs and liver healthy
  • Keeps away colds and other viral infections
  • Keeps your tendons, collagen and ligaments strong
  • Reduces inflammation
  • The huge amount of Vitamin C content ensures that your immune system works in top condition

The Camu Camu berry is available as a dried powder which can be used in various ways. You can mix it with water to make an instant health drink or add it to juices and smoothies. The powder is tangy and flavorful so it’s a pleasure to consume. Do note that excessive consumption could lead to diarrhea.

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GOJI BERRIESAlso known as wolfberries are typically found in Asia and America. Goji berries are deep red in color and are often dried and eaten like raisins. They grow in the Chinese regions of Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Hebei. When ripe, the oblong, red berries are tender and must be picked carefully or shaken from the vine into trays to avoid spoiling. The fruits are preserved by drying them in full sun on open trays or by mechanical dehydration employing a progressively increasing series of heat exposure over 48 hours.

So, what are their health benefits?

  • Improves eyesight
  • Improves quality of blood
  • Increases immunity
  • Prevent aging
  • Protects liver

An important thing to remember is that Goji berries should not be used to treat illness but to prevent it from occurring. Also, Goji berries provide overall nourishment by providing an amazing number of rich nutrients. In fact, the number of nutrients that it contains by way of amino acids, vitamins, polysaccharides, HGH (human growth hormone), are too many to be listed. These berries improve the quality of your life and help you live longer.

Goji berries can be added to tea or soups to make them healthier or you could just munch on them as you would with raisins. Goji berries can also be blended into smoothies or juices or added to other recipes to fortify them.

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HEMP SEEDHemp seed has slowly gained popularity as a super-food because of its amazing powers in keeping us healthy.

There is ongoing research being conducted and the following are some of their health benefits:

  • Hemp oil derived from hemp seeds is the best possible EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) supplement there is.
  • They are ideal for vegans who do not eat meat at all as it meets all their protein requirements.
  • Hemp seeds are known to alleviate the symptoms of those suffering from eczema.     
  • Hemp seeds are rich in essential amino acids and fatty acids that are required for a healthy life; in fact, hemp seeds are better than meat, eggs and soy, traditional sources of protein because of its amazing amino acid profile.
  • It has calcium, iron as well as other minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper and manganese.
  • They are richer in omega-3 than walnuts.
  • They strengthen the immune system and help you fight diseases.

Hemp seeds can be eaten in its raw form, they are great in salads, smoothies, shakes; they can also be made into hemp milk that you can use in smoothies together with hemp protein. Hemp leaves can also be added to salads while there’s hemp tofu and hemp butter as well. There are plenty of recipes that can liven up your meal with the goodness of hemp.

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MACA – Is typically found in the Andes, at high altitudes where the land is barren and weather conditions are extreme. These harsh conditions could probably be the reason why the maca root is full of nutrients which makes it a highly valued super-food. Maca root in its various forms, either powdered or cooked has been traditionally consumed by the people of the Andes for many years and in recent times; scientists are recognizing it for its immense nutritional value. All over the world, people are waking up to the enormous health benefits it offers, making it a highly prized super-food. Here are some of its benefits:

  • Has a good concentration of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus as well as vitamins such as B1, C, B2 and E
  • Helps the endocrine system function properly, thereby eliminating hormonal imbalances
  • Increases stamina
  • Is also known to be effective in fighting stomach cancer and tuberculosis
  • Known to help women deal with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings
  • Lowers anemia and alleviates menstrual discomfort and cramps
  • Rich source of fatty acids and sterols
  • Works wonders at reducing the symptoms of altitude sickness

Maca root is usually dried and powdered and can be consumed as an addition to smoothies, teas and other beverages like cacao. Make sure you buy raw organic maca powder.

A word of caution though. Never consume more maca than you should because it can cause adverse reactions in your body. Hyperactivity, insomnia, diarrhea and dehydration are some of the side effects that can occur as a result of over dosage of maca.

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NONI – This Polynesian fruit has been in the news for quite some time and all for the best possible reasons. People all over the world have started acknowledging the benefits of the noni fruit and researchers are giving it the status of super-food. The noni fruit has a strong smell and taste and is not palatable at first, so it takes a bit of getting used to. However, regardless of its taste, the noni is one of the most wonderful gifts of nature as it is power packed with nutrients that can fight numerous diseases and has loads of other benefits as well:

  • An exciting new study shows that noni helps stimulate the white blood cells and kick starts the immune system to work effectively
  • Glycosides fight free radicals while scopoletin has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Noni is rich with antioxidants that fight free radicals effectively, keeping you younger and healthier
  • Other compounds such as selenium help in keeping the skin glowing, fresh and healthy
  • Then there’s xeronine which works wonders for your cell structure and helps in cell regeneration

Noni can be consumed fresh although noni juice has gained popularity recently. Noni powders can also be mixed with juices and smoothies. Noni leaves are also consumed in the form of tea.

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SPIRULINAIs a specific type of blue green algae that has been around from a long time. This amazing super-food is rich in proteins, and it has become quite popular as a nutrition supplement.

Here are some of its health benefits:

  • Contains beta carotene in a form that is even more potent than what is found in carrots.
  • Contains lutein, which is really important for the eyes.
  • Contains phytonutrients such as polysaccharides, sulfolipids and calcium spirulan which are rather unusual but offer lots of health benefits.
  • Contains plenty of vitamin A, E, B complex and C.
  • Has plenty of antioxidants that help in getting rid of free radicals to keep you young and healthy; these antioxidants are also known to help in fighting cancer
  • Helps digestion and it also diffuses the appetite so that you don’t feel that hungry.
  • Helps in detoxifying our bodies, especially where heavy metals like mercury and dioxin are in excess.
  • Helps in making people feel energetic because it balances the immune system and helps your body heal and absorb necessary nutrients.
  • Is a rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron.
  • Is rich in GLA or Gamma Linolenic Acid. GLA is an essential fatty acid that helps in keeping the heart healthy; people have also found it to be useful in controlling weight and PMS problems.

Spirulina is easy to obtain although we must be careful to buy pure forms. It is available in tablets or powder form, and the latter could well be added to your milkshakes and smoothies to make them more nutritious.

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These are just some of the super-foods listed above. They are rich in nutrients and work wonders in keeping your mind and body healthy. They help you flush out toxins and leave you with a healthy glow. They help in maintaining your weight and are a great supplement to keep you healthy.

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