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Guest Post: Andrew Maciver- The Superfood Warrior

Posted Apr 01 2012 6:21pm
My Top 6 Superfoods:

Superfoods are whole foods that provide a range of nutrients in high dose. They support the human body so that we are able to – feel and look the best possible and potentially live longer.  Superfoods come in a number of forms – here are some of my favourites.
Fruit superfoods:
Açaí - Açaí berries have long been a part of the staple diet of the tribes in the Amazon.  With the appearance of a purple grape and taste of a tropical berry it has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties thanks to a high level of anthocyanins, pigments also found in red wine.  Make sure to look for the freeze dried powdered açaí fruit in which the nutrients are kept intact or frozen pulp often mixed with the natural stimulant Guarana seed.
Goji Berries - Goji berries are grown on vines in the protected valleys of inner Mongolia and Tibet.  These distinctively flavoured red berries are a very rich source of vitamin C, having 500 times more vitamin C per ounce than oranges.  They are a superb source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E and contain a full complement of protein with 18 amino acids and 21 trace minerals.  Most of all they are an excellent antioxidant making it an ideal natural whole food for reversing aging and protecting against disease.

Green superfoods :
Greens are good, green superfoods are even better!  Green superfoods have the highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins and minerals to protect and heal the body.  They contain a wide array of beneficial substances including proteins, protective photo-chemicals and healthy bacteria helping you to build cleaner muscles and tissues, aid your digestive system function and more effectively protect you against disease and illness. Green superfoods are extremely rich in chlorophyll - the pigment that gives plants their green colour.  The molecular structure of chlorophyll is very similar to that of human blood and studies show that when this is consumed, the production of haemoglobin in blood is increased.  Higher amounts of haemoglobin in the bloodstream means more oxygen-rich blood, the first and most important element that cells need to thrive.

Spirulina - Spirulina is a cultivated micro-algae which has been consumed for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples in Mexico and Africa.  It is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth and contains 70% complete protein, towering over steak which consists of only 25% protein once cooked.  Studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels and cravings thus making it a key food for diabetics, and can be used to assist in weight loss and as a general nutritional supplement.

Nut Superfoods High in plant proteins and saturated fats, nuts are very likely nature's perfect, bite-sized, convenient, power snack.  Nuts have many healthy benefits and taste great; high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and monosaturated fat.  Monosaturated fats protect from chronic heart disease and help to keep your belly flat.  The protein in nuts helps you feel full longer, which results in you eating less.  Recent studies have shown that consuming one ounce of nuts daily reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Raw Cacao - A word of warning before we start however, most cocoa powder and commercial chocolate is processed via the "Dutch method" meaning it is subjected to scorching temperatures of up to 150°C with the additional aid of solvents, thus destroying most of the nutrients and antioxidants.  Be sure to attain certified organic raw cacao in a powder, nib or whole bean form as the temperature will have never been allowed to exceed 40°C thus allowing all the heat-sensitive vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to remain intact. Raw cacao beans contain possibly the world's most concentrated source of antioxidants found in any food.  They also extremely high in magnesium which has been found to be the most common deficient major mineral even following a balanced diet.  For those concerned with not getting enough iron it should be pleasing to know that one small 28 gram serving of raw cacao beans gives 314% of the recommended daily allowance of iron.  And if that is not enough raw cacao beans have an antioxidant (ORAC) score of 95,500.  To put that into perspective, that is 14 times more flavonoids (antioxidants) than red wine and 21 times more than green tea.

Coconuts - Young coconuts are one of the highest sources of electrolytes in nature. Electrolytes are ionized salts in our cells, that transport energy throughout the body.  Coconut water is a much better alternative to commercial sports drinks laden with artificial sugars and colours.  The molecular structure of coconut water is identical to human blood plasma, which means that it is immediately recognized by the body and put to good use.  Drinking the juice from a young coconut is like giving your body an instant blood transfusion.  In fact this was common practice during World War II in the Pacific, where both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water, siphoned directly from the coconut, to give emergency transfusions to wounded soldiers. Coconut oil's saturated fat is of the medium-chain fatty acid variety, which are digested more easily and utilized differently by the body than other saturated fats (such as butter, meat and eggs).  Whereas other saturated fats are stored in the body's cells, the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy.  Coconut oil will actually speed up metabolism so your body will burn more calories in a day which will contribute to weight loss.  Coconut oil supports healthy metabolic function and is a revered anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent.  Pacific islanders deem coconut oil to be the cure-all gift from nature for all illness.

Seaweed Superfoods Seaweeds are the most nutritionally dense plants on the planet as they have access to all the nutrients in the ocean.  They can contain up to 10 times more calcium than milk and eight times as much as beef.  The chemical composition of seaweeds is so close to human blood plasma, that perhaps their greatest benefit is regulating and purifying our blood system.  They help to alkalize our blood, neutralizing the over-acid effects of our modern diet and protect us from a wide array of toxic elements in the environment, including heavy metals, pollutants and radiation by-products converting them to harmless salts that the body can eliminate.

But the most remarkable results with seaweeds we see is boosting weight loss and deterring cellulite build-up.  The high concentration of natural iodine helps to stimulate the thyroid gland so that food fuels are used before they can be turned into fatty deposits.  At the same time, the minerals act like electrolytes to break the chemical bond that seals the fat cells allowing trapped wastes to escape.

Bee Superfoods
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The Egyptians wrote about it back in 5500 B.C., the Indians used it for their religious ceremonies in 1000 B.C. and even the Babylonians have been noted to use it in their medicinal practices.  The western world actually discovered the benefits of bee superfoods by accident during an investigation of native Russian beekeepers who regularly lived past 100 years of age who ate raw honey, rich in bee pollen, every day.  Bee pollen is collected by bees from flowering plants and formed into granules. Bee pollen is the most complete food found in nature and has five to seven times more protein than beef.  It is especially beneficial for the extra nutritional and energy needs of athletes and those recovering from illness.  It is a natural antidote for fighting allergies, particularly hayfever and sinusitis.  Research shows that pollen counteracts the signs of aging and increases both mental and physical capability.

Why the hype about Superfoods and should we bother? We live in a modern world linked to technological and scientific advances yet we consume processed foods and conventional foods that lack nutrients.  Our mineral depleted soils make superfoods an intelligent choice.  The ongoing effect of these poor nutrients has resulted in an increase in obesity, as well as other common and unique illnesses. Superfoods are rich in nutrients and work wonders in keeping your mind and body healthy.  Once you start consuming superfoods on a regular basis, you will start noticing the difference in not just how you feel, but also how you look.  Eating these foods regularly makes your body healthier, helps you flush out toxins more frequently and leaves you with a healthy glow.  It also helps you maintain your weight and you can continue to remain healthy without having to take annoying vitamins or mineral tablets.  Superfoods in fact contain all the right nutrients in the right proportions. However, the best part is that these foods are clean and pesticide free, organic sources of these nutrients, so in effect they act faster and work better.  The health benefits from superfoods are endless; they can help you with weight loss, muscle gain, detoxification of the body and help you increase your energy.  Consuming superfoods also has a therapeutic effect on the body systems; often displaying anti inflammatory purifying properties.  They are a powerful source of clean protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, good fats and oils, essential amino and fatty acids.  They promote nutritional excellence, health and wellbeing, beauty, sustainable agriculture, and can transform individual diet and lifestyle, leading to a revitalized humanity and planet. Let food be thy medicine, and in doing so, save the expenditures of a typical consumer who is paying for health insurance and prescriptions.  My health insurance: real food, superfoods and exercise. People everywhere are becoming more and more aware of the fact that some foods are inherently detrimental to their health – especially those that are heavily processed, packed with artificial flavours or colours, laden with saturated fats, deep-fried or largely comprised of refined carbohydrates.  With such foods becoming recognised as the villains of the food chain, it stands to reason that others are gaining a reputation as nutritional superheroes.

One of the criteria for being a superfood is delivering a huge nutritional hit in a small serve.  If you consume a meal that lacks nutrients your body will seek more food, therefore you will eat more food and more regularly which leads to weight gain.  Whereas with a superfood you only need a small amount to fuel your body.

Where/how can we source these Superfoods In short superfoods can be purchased at health food and organic stores, online, at famers markets and even at supermarkets.  Regarding purchasing, the first point is that we have choice in the food we consume.  Don’t be persuaded by marketing hype or cheapness of product.  Food is essential for your wellbeing.  Life is difficult enough; support yourself with the best nutrition in order to have the energy to succeed. Eat real food, or the next closest thing and avoid eating highly processed foods .  Superfoods are primarily plant based; they contain numerous nutrients and can be dried/powdered which maintains nutrition.  Avoid the tonics that contain preservatives and are expensive.  The other good thing is that many companies are often eco and socially conscious.  Smoothies are the easiest way to consume many superfoods – and a great way of mixing a variety of different superfoods. Try to eat organic – it is better for you and the environment.  There are many points to this - please Google it if you wish to know more.  The main premise is that non
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organic foods are exposed to chemicals – pesticides and herbicides which you inadvertently consume.  They can also be genetically modified resulting in risk of cancer. More from Andrew:  Replacing tablets
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