Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ⓥ Super Foods! Ⓥ

Superfoods are all the health rage these days, and why the hell not? Who doesn't want amazing exotic treats that increase your health, keep your heart healthy and fight off cancer. I know I do. Here are some wonderful special super foods and their health benefits, as well as how to incorporate them into your diet. 

Cacao is the antioxidant powerhouse! Raw cacao beans have ten times more antioxidants than blueberries, twenty times more than red wine and thirty times more than green tea! Even cooked cocoa is still one of the highest antioxidant rich foods. Antioxidants protect your cells from the damaging molecules of free radicals which are thought to the underlining cause of many chronic diseases, reducing the risk of many kinds of illness from heart disease to cancer. Antioxidants found in foods such as cocoa are also anti-aging agents and have also been shown to improve cardiovascular health, enhancing blood flow, healthy cholesterol levels and, in some cases, reducing blood pressure. Cacao also contains "blissful" chemicals that enhance mood and decrease depression. 
Chocolate lovers rejoice--but not too soon… look for raw cocoa powder and add it to your smoothies to get the most health benefits. Or, again, make raw truffles! If you are looking for it in chocolate, stay clear of sugar-laden chocolate bars, as there is so very little cocoa that you really aren't seeing any health benefits--not to mention all the sugar and other crap that is bad for you. Instead, opt for dark chocolate that is sweetened with something more natural and dairy-free. Look for a high cocoa content. My favourite? Endangered Species dark chocolate. 
Maca is a wonderful super food, usually available in pill, liquid, or powder form. Why is it amazing? Maca has a high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients, fully loaded with vitamins and nutrients that support brain function and regulate hormones. It helps to rebuild the adrenal gland, which is the body's centre for handling stress, so makes a great mood booster. Maca's root plant is also traditionally used medicinally to enhance stamina, endurance and sex drive--making it a natural aphrodisiac, and has even been shown to increase fertility in men. Because of it's ability to increase stamina, people swear by it for their workout and to help build muscle mass as well. 
Easiest way to add Maca into your diet: add anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon into your smoothies. It is also great in raw truffles or treats. 
Hemp is one the most nutritionally well-balanced foods on the planet. Usually eaten as shelled seeds, oil, butter, flour, or protein powders. Hemp is not only a healthy, raw source of protein, it is also a complete protein that is easily digestible, containing essential amino acids and omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. Such amino acids that are necessary for cellular detoxification and for proper enzyme formation, as well as muscle growth and repair. The omegas and fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, and is one of the most powerful nutrients for balancing hormones. Raw hemp provides such a huge array of health benefits, including: weight loss, increased and sustained energy, rapid recovery from disease or injury, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced inflammation, improvement in circulation and immune system as well as natural blood sugar control, promotes healthy skin, hair, & nails, and increases metabolism. Pretty super huh? 
The best part about hemp is that there are so many ways to incorporate it into your diet! Hemp butter can replace other nut butters. Hemp oil and/or hemp seeds (or "hearts") are great to add on a salad. Hemp protein powders can easily be added to smoothies or shakes. Oh, and, raw truffles--almost forgot. ;) 
Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a Brazilian berry that is packed with antioxidants, amino acids and omega-3's. It is heart-healthy, preventing or decreasing heart disease, diabetes and depression, and can help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. The extracts from the berry also help destroy leukemia cells. Açaí is known to help boost energy levels, improve digestion, promote sleep, promote healthier and younger-looking skin and cleanse the body of toxins.
Like any berry, eat as such; add some to your smoothies, over cereal or in raw treats. You can also find acai juices. 

Goji berries are a small tart Himalayan berry that has been said to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet and had been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. Goji berries pack more vitamin C than some oranges and more beta-carotene than carrots. Health benefits have been shown to treat diabetes, hypertension, malaria, fever, cancer and other ailments. They are also one of the rare fruits that contain protein, and since they are meant to be eaten raw, the protein absorption is undisturbed. They are also a perfect blend of carbohydrates, protein, fat and dietary fibre, making them, well, a superfood.
Again, eat them like any other berry and eat them raw to keep the most health benefits. Add them to raw cereals, bliss balls, truffles, smoothies, or eat them on the go. Goji berry juice has also become more and more popular and can be found in health food stores. 


Of course, there are so many other amazing super foods and beneficial foods out there to increase your health. I would also, lastly, like to remind you that eating super foods is only going to do you good if you are doing other things to keep your health up to speed. Eat plenty of veggies, fruits, and balanced meals (and go vegan!). You should also stay active, exercise, after all, is crucial for good health. And make sure you are doing things to keep stress at bay--like being happy and positive and optimistic, you know, all the stuff I always encourage here at ReLove Plan.et. 
What's your favourite superfood? :) 


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9 comments:

  1. I loooove my superfoods! I like to mix cacao with berries in a smoothie in the morning, as it wakes me up good and proper! yummmm!

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    1. me too!! cocoa in smoothies is the best thing ever! I buy the raw cacao so I get that extra boost! who needs coffee? haha

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  2. *takes notes* Thanks for sharing all this info!

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  3. OHHHHHH I love Goji berries :) I wish they were't so expensive.. and now I want to go out and buy some hemp hearts :)

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    1. me too! I rarely buy them due to the price, but they are yummy! :)

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  4. Great list, thanks! Do you think that there is such a thing as too much fruit? I've been having a fruit smoothie nearly every morning, but somehow I feel like too much of a good thing is bad. Any opinions?

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    1. I think everyone's body is different so it's good to just pay attention to your body's signals. I have a smoothie almost every morning and have been for a couple years now. I feel great, my body loves fruit. But I do change it up, change what I put in there etc to give my body variety. Some people are weary because fruit is high in sugar, but to me it's healthy sugar and unless you are only eating fruit in a day I don't see the harm or people overdoing it. But again, everyone's body is different so it's good to be as in-tune with your body as possible ;)

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