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Superfoods are nutrient dense foods, every aspect of which packs a full punch of beneﬁcial nutrients. These foods have an alchemical, almost magical aspect to them, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to superfoods. Many have been revered for their properties by ancient civilizations. All in all superfoods are something pretty special in the world of nutrition. They are my preferred way to get all the nutrition I need – cutting down the requirement to take supplements. So if you want to be super healthy? Then include superfoods in your diet!
Chocolate is one of the most fabulous foods on the planet. We talk about chocolate being bad for us, but that’s because we mess it about so much. Chocolate in its pure form is a spectacular food!
Chocolate comes from the cacao bean which originates in the American tropics. It was so revered by the Aztecs that the beans were used as currency. They called it yollotl eztli meaning ‘heart blood’ because it strengthens the cardio-vascular system.
Anti-oxidants are essential in the diet to protect against oxidative stress that causes damage and premature ageing. Raw Cacao provides the most concentrated source of antioxidants of any food. As an anti-oxidant it is more powerful than red wine, pomegranate, goji berries or acai.
Magnesium is a mineral commonly deﬁcient in our diets. Cacao is the number one food source of the magnesium. If you suffer cramps, muscle tension, tension headaches or indeed crave chocolate, then chances are you are deﬁcient in magnesium.
Cacao is also an excellent source of: Iron (chocolate is great if you are anemic then!), Chromium (essential for balancing blood sugar), Manganese (essential for oxygenation of blood), Zinc (essential in immune health and digestive enzymes), Copper (important for strong immunity), Vitamin C and healthy Omega 6 fats.
When we fall in love our bodies produce a group of compounds called Phenylethylamines (PEA’s) These are abundant in raw cacao and increase our focus and alertness.
The incredible weight loss properties of cacao comes from the combination of PEA’s and magnesium which suppresses appetite.
The mood enhancing properties of cacao come from the high levels of tryptophan (precursor to serotonin) and anandamide – the ‘bliss chemical’ naturally produced by the body after exercise. Cacao is the only food source of anandamide!
I could go on, but I hope that might just be enough to convince you to try raw cacao. There is a great milkshake recipe below that is an easy way to consume this bitter food without the need to add sugar!
Maca is a root vegetable grown in the high Andes. Generally it comes in the form of a powder. It is a powerful adaptogen, hormone regulator and an aphrodisiac!
An adaptogen is a substance that counters stresses by balancing the body’s systems. Maca has been shown to increase energy, endurance, oxygen in the blood, physical strength, neurotransmitter production and libido.
Maca is useful in the treatment of anemia, depression, chronic fatigue, infertility, menopausal symptoms, poor memory, stomach cancer, TB and stress.
Thyroid problems have also been reported by users to be effectively balanced by Maca. It is ﬁne to take up to a tablespoon of Maca a day.
Chocolate and Banana Milkshake Recipe
Per person put in your blender:
- 1 Banana (fresh or frozen)
- ⅔ cup of almond or rice milk
- 1 heaped tsp Raw Cacao (Raw Chocolate Co.)
- 1 level tsp Cocoa (Green&Blacks)
- 1-2 tsp Maca
- A pinch of chili (optional)
Blend and enjoy this mega healthy, immune boosting, bone strengthening, energy kicking, delicious drink! Beware don’t drink before bed unless you want to stay up and party all night!
We Love Real Chocolate!
More Fabulous Superfood!
Seaweed may not be a favourite on everyone’s menu, but sea kelp is literally mother nature’s multi-mineral supplement. Sea water has a mineral balance very similar to that of blood, and so does sea kelp. Pretty perfect then!
Iodine is a commonly deﬁcient mineral and kelp is our best natural food source. It frustrates me as a nutritionist that doctors do not put people with under active thyroid on sea kelp before resorting to thyroxin. The thyroid is very hungry for iodine and cannot function correctly without it. Many people with thyroid problems or suffering from lethargy may simply be deﬁcient in iodine.
Sea kelp can be bought as a powder or capsule. The powder can be successfully hidden in smoothies! ½ a tsp is a good daily dose. However beware as your doctor will advise not to take this superfood if you are already on thyroxin.
Sea kelp will improve hair, skin and nail condition.
Hemp is such a valuable food, and what’s more, it grows well in the UK.
Hemp oil is an beautiful deep green colour and contains a perfect balance of the essential omegas 3 & 6.
Hemp protein contains an excellent balance of amino acids ideal for supplementing a vegetarian diet. I recommend the Raw Food Co.’s Raw Hemp Protein powder. It is another great addition to a smoothie.
Shelled hemp seeds are a delicious, nutritious addition to breakfast cereals and grain based salads.
I love super-green food powders, in particular Kiki’s Superfood. This deep green powder is an incredible mixture of algae, green foods, digestive enzymes and probiotics. It is a packed full of chlorophyll – an essential living nutrient that supports liver and blood health. This is about as nutrient dense as a food can get and it’s yet another great addition to a smoothie!
Winter Superfood Smoothie
- 1 Banana
- 1 Apple
- 1 Chunk of fresh Ginger
- Rice or Almond milk to cover the fruit
- ½ tsp Sea Kelp
- 1 tsp Kiki Superfood
- 1-2 tsp Maca
- ¼ tsp Ground Milk Thistle (for liver support)
- 1-2 tsp Hemp protein (optional if you need extra protein)
This smoothie is a great way to start the day in the winter. You can add tinctures to it like echinacea and astragalus to give it extra immune boosting power!
Rather than wonder whether you are short of certain nutrients, include these superfoods in your diet and know you are well nourished all the time!
Living Food Nutritionist