Superfoods. Chances are you’ve heard the term, but do you really know what they are? And how they can help you? Consider this your “Superfoods 101” course, complete with the skinny on how these powerhouses can help build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve eyesight, keep your mind sharp, and even help you get (and stay) slim.
Christa Orecchio, certified clinical nutritionist, holistic health counselor, and founder of The Whole Journey, explains that superfoods are incredibly nutrient-dense, low calorie foods, which have the power to have a big impact on health. “I am an advocate of using food as medicine to heal from the root cause, and superfoods help do just that,” says Orecchio. (www.thewholejourney.com) Her three favorite superfoods are maca, camu camu powder, and chlorella. And here’s why:
Maca: This South American root that comes in powder form has been used for thousands of years and is great for balancing hormones, and increasing fertility, energy, and stamina. It supports the pituitary gland (and therefore the thyroid) during times of stress.
Camu camu: This berry is found in the Amazon and contains 30-60 more times the vitamin C of an orange. It is a low-sugar, low-calorie way to give your immune system, adrenal glands, and skin, hair, and nails a huge boost. Orecchio says just one teaspoon a day will do the trick.
Chlorella: This green algae is found in a powder that is packed with chlorophyll, making it very helpful to clean up life’s daily toxins at a cellular level, as well as ward off cancer, heavy metal toxicity, and a host of other unwanted poisons in the system. The abundance of vitamins and minerals found in chlorella strengthens our immune and digestive systems.
Orecchio points out that many foods get the title of superfoods that she wouldn’t technically categorize as such. “They might be amazing foods one can use as medicine, but everyone is different. If there is any potential food sensitivity, I would not categorize that food as a superfood.”
Some other best basic superfoods that are readily available include:
Acai: Harvested from the rainforests of Brazil, this small, dark purple berry is often called nature’s perfect energy fruit. It contains antioxidants, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.
Avocado: Don’t be afraid of eating fats — as long as they’re the right fats. Oleic acid, a compound in avocados’ healthy monounsaturated fats, may trigger your body to actually quiet hunger. The creamy goodness is also packed with fiber and protein.
Berries (if organic): Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are nutrition powerhouses with cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Broccoli & kale: Green vegetables like these contain a wealth of cancer-fighting nutrients.
Chia: These seeds pack a great nutritional punch, containing omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Add the seeds or chia oil to beverages, cereals, yogurt, salads, or other foods.
Goji berries: Grown in the Himalayas, these berries are one of the most nutrient-rich foods on earth. They’re a vegetarian form of protein, packed with essential amino acids and rich in vitamins A and C.
Green tea: Another antioxidant powerhouse.
Salmon (must be wild): This fatty fish contains inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.
Not sure how to incorporate superfoods into your daily life just yet? Enter Beaming, comprised of a team of award-winning chefs dedicated to sharing how plant-based foods can heal and transform without sacrificing flavor. Beaming believes that whole, organic, unprocessed plant-based foods create the most healthy and delicious food available.
Beaming’s first location, in Del Mar, brands itself as a “Gourmet Superfood Company,” with a menu of organic cold pressed juices, smoothies, salads, snacks, raw foods, healthy desserts, and newly-added gluten and dairy-free baked goods.
“The foods we eat have a tremendous effect on how we look, feel, and experience life at any age,” says Beaming founder Lisa Odenweller,” who emphasizes that healthy shouldn’t mean it can’t be delicious. “Let’s face it, if it doesn’t taste good, you are not going to eat or drink it.”
Want to learn more? Consider Beaming’s new e-book, Superfood Smoothies — A Complete Guide to Making Delicious and Nutritious Beaming Superfood Smoothies at Home, which simplifies the process with tips and recipes. Add in the superfood smoothie kit, or Beaming’s raw organic plant protein powders and superfood smoothie blend with over 15 powerful superfoods. Odenweller says once you get started, you can continue to add healthy habits every week. “Give your body time to adjust to change and then, practice these habits daily. It takes about 30 days to create a habit so set a steadfast intention toward positive shifts.” (www.livebeaming.com)
Follow these tips, and you just may find your way to your best you in 2014. MIA S. PARK