Although the dark berries, leafy greens and bright red berries are possibly the most commonly known Superfoods, there are many that are not so brightly coloured but still offer amazing nutritional value.
The seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree have, over hundreds of years, been linked to cures and therapies for more than 100 diseases and conditions. Their status as a cure-all dates back over 2,000 years, having spread from the Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, via the Spanish conquistadors, into Europe from the 16th century. We currently consume this in the form of chocolate and specifically dark chocolate is gaining a reputation for being very good for you.
The bean from cocoa is very rich in flavinols which are antioxidants that fight free radicals. It is these flavinols that make chocolate good for you. According to the Cleveland Clinic, flavonoids have other health properties such as helping to lower blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky, helping to prevent clotting.
Research is also beginning to indicate that the cocoa flavinols may have a positive impact on cognitive ability and that regular consumption may enhance working memory.
If you needed an excuse to eat more chocolate this may be it!
Did you know of Beetroot & Maqui berry juice also contains raw, organic Cocao? Try it here.
High in antioxidants and packed with vitamins and minerals, mushrooms are rising up the superfood charts. Incorporating them into your diet, may not only boost your immune system but also give your skin a healthy glow and keep your heart healthy. Mushrooms are high in vitamin D, which are good for your immune system and also help to protect DNA, says Lawrence Tredrea a nutritionist and naturopath living in Hong Kong.
Important nutrients in mushrooms nutrients in mushrooms include selenium, vitamin D, glutathione and ergothioneine. All are known to function as antioxidants that can mitigate oxidative stress, and all are known to decline during aging.
Oxidative stress is considered the main culprit in causing the diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease and dementia. Ergothioneine, or ergo, is an antioxidant amino acid that was initially discovered in 1909 in ergot fungi. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Ergo is produced in nature primarily by fungi, including mushrooms. Humans cannot make it, so it must be obtained from dietary sources.
One study conducted in Singapore showed that as people aged the ergo content in their blood declined significantly, which correlated with increasing cognitive impairment.
A recent epidemiological study conducted with over 13,000 elderly people in Japan showed that those who ate more mushrooms had less incidence of dementia.
One of the type of fungi is the reishi mushroom and it has been shown that it can boost your immune system (article here) and test-tube results have shown that it can affect the genes in white blood cells, which are a critical part of your immune system. It is also a natural killer of infections (article here).
Did you know our organic Kale, Maca & Reishi juice contains Reishi mushrooms? Try it here!
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt that is made from kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. The drink originated in the Eastern Europe.
Kefir is a probiotic, which means that it contains plenty of “good” bacteria and yeasts that are necessary for the health of the gut. “It’s nourishing to the digestive system," says the Vancouver-based nutritionist Mikaela Reuben. In general, she explains, “we eat a lot of processed, radiated food that has lost its natural bacteria. Kefir helps give 'an immunity boost'. It’s also high in protein, so it adds a lot of benefit in the day."
Enjoying kefir regularly has a been associated with benefits for blood pressure, cholesterol balance and blood sugar management. Plus, depending on the variety that you use, kefir grains may contain 30 or more strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Some of the major strains include lactic acid.
Traditional kefir made from cow's milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin K, nutrients which are both important for bone health. As we get older, our bones become weaker, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially in post-menopausal women.
Mixed with some berries and granola Kefir can be a lovely way to start the day for breakfast.
A member of the onion family, it is known for its antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties, and has been used by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese to help cure a variety of ailments from bronchitis and influenza to whooping cough.
Today, medical journals contain countless scientific studies investigating the ability of garlic to help fight infections, as well as provide potential benefits for diabetes, asthma and cancer sufferers.
The wealth of scientific literature supports the proposal that garlic consumption has significant effects on lowering blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis, reduction of serum cholesterol and , inhibition of platelet aggregation, and increasing fibrinolytic activity (Chan et al., 2013 ▶).
In 1990, the U.S. National Cancer Institute initiated the Designer Food Program to determine which foods played an important role in cancer prevention (Dahanukar and Thatte, 1997 ▶). They concluded that garlic may be the most potent food having cancer preventive properties. A 2006 study found that raw garlic might help reduce blood sugar levels, as well as reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. This is particular interest, as diabetes increases a person’s risk of atherosclerosis-related inflammation.
If you are worried about the smell of garlic, chewing on a sprig of parsley can take away the smell.
Belongs to the same family as turmeric and cardamom and has been revered from ancient India and China to Greece and Rome. Gingerbread, ginger beer and preserved ginger are all familiar products, but ginger is more than a seasoning – its medicinal properties have been valued and used throughout the ages.
Ginger root has also been anecdotally reported to reduce the symptoms associated with motion sickness, including dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweating.
High blood sugar levels can be incredibly damaging for the body. If left unmanaged, this can lead to serious health issues like heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and even nerve damage. Those who suffer from Diabetes will be especially susceptible to fluctuating blood sugar levels. Luckily studies show that Ginger is effective in normalising blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Ginger is great for various digestive problems as it relaxes your intestines and can be used to combat heartburn and acid reflux.
Have you tried our delicious organic Ginger, Turmeric Juice? Order here.
Omega 3 oil
The British Heart Foundation says eating oily fish can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve your chances of survival following a heart attack, however we do not generally eat enough fish.
A Swedish study of 6000 men over a 30-year period showed that those who didn't eat any fish had between double and treble the risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to those who ate moderate or large amounts. Shellfish, such as crab and lobster, also contains selenium, thought to have cancer-fighting properties.
Fish oil, we now know, is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids that are a vital part of our cell membranes and cell receptors and also play an important role in the production of hormones that control the thickness of the blood, the movement of artery walls, and regulate inflammation throughout the body. Yet, unlike other kinds of fat, our bodies cannot make them. This is why it is so important to supplement with a good quality omega 3 oil. Read more about the omega 3 oil that Britt and her family take every day.