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    Superfoods

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    What exactly are superfoods, and why should you eat them? There is no agreed definition for what is or is not a superfood. Still, dieticians and doctors consider superfoods to be foods that have a high phytonutrient content, which is generally beneficial to health and well-being. So which foods are superfoods? Although the list below is not comprehensive, most of the superfoods that many in the raw food movement regularly consume.

    1. Almonds

    Almonds

    What are they?

    Almonds are nuts that are usually grown in Asia and Africa. They are known for being a rich vitamin E source, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and magnesium.

    Why are they so good?

    • They can help with the development of the brain.
    • They can regulate cholesterol.
    • They help keep your heart healthy.
    • They can regulate blood pressure.
    • They can help protect you against cancer.
    • They can help protect you against diabetes.
    • They are great to eat during pregnancy.
    • Can help with weight loss.

    What else do I need to know about them?

    Compared to other nuts, almonds contain the most nutrients. In addition to the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, almonds also contain zinc, selenium, copper, niacin, and folic acid. The folic acid content makes them an ideal nut to eat during pregnancy.

    Almond milk is added to some soaps, as it is known to improve the skin’s complexion.

    Regular consumption of almonds can raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    One important point to note is that people who have kidney or gallbladder problems should probably avoid eating almonds. Almonds contain oxalates. Excessive oxalates can cause crystallization, which is not healthy for the kidneys or the gallbladder.

    How can I use them?

    Almonds can be eaten on their own or mixed with other nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Best of all is that you can use them to make almond milk. Almond milk is as delicious as it is healthy, and it is excellent for people that cannot tolerate dairy products. Soaking almonds overnight is a great way to make them easier to digest.

    2. Aloe Vera

    Aloe Vera

    What is it?

    Aloe Vera is a succulent plant (like cactus) that may have originated in northern Africa.

    Why is it so good

    • It promotes healthy skin via collagen production.
    • It benefits digestive health.
    • It accelerates healing from cuts and sunburn.
    • It is an excellent skin treatment, as it helps reduce inflammation.
    • It helps purify the blood and liver.

    What else do I need to know about it?

    Many believe that aloe vera can keep us looking young and healthy. Part of the reason why people think this may be due to its ability to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a critical component in building healthy bone, tendon, ligament, and joint tissue. It is also an essential substance for skin health.

    Collagen production tends to reduce as we age. But with aloe vera’s ability to kick-start collagen production, your body will take on a more youthful appearance.

    If you have any wounds, cuts, sunburn, acne, or inflamed skin, you can rub the aloe vera gel directly onto it. You can get aloe vera gel at your local pharmacy, but many prefer to use fresh aloe vera. It can sometimes be challenging to find, but you can quickly grow your own if you live in a warm climate. Or ask at your local health store to see if they can order to for you.

    How can I use it?

    You may not realize that you can ingest aloe vera. Here is one way you can use aloe vera. Take a whole leaf and trim off the rind. Blend the inner gel with my morning smoothie. It can also be added to lemon juice and water. You may enjoy this as a great drink to have after a workout.

    3. Blueberries

    Blueberries

    What are they?

    As the name suggests, blueberries are dark blueberries. Their sweet flavor makes them popular to use in a variety of raw food recipes.

    Why are they so good?

    • They are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods known to man
    • They help boost the immune system
    • They help reduce the risk of age-related disease
    • They help reduce the risk of cancer
    • They help promote urinary tract health
    • They help promote healthy digestive systems
    • They help reduce the risk of heart disease

    What else do I need to know about them?

    Blueberries are famous the world over, mainly for their delicious taste and their superb nutritional qualities. They are classed as a superfood because they have such a high level of antioxidants, which leads to them being an excellent food for promoting good health.

    In addition to lowering cholesterol, blueberries have been found to improve vision.

    The high antioxidant levels of blueberries can also help slow the aging process and have been shown to help reduce mental decline. Blueberries are even helpful with degenerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

    How can I use them?

    They can be eaten on their own, added to yogurt, or blended in smoothies. You can also add them as ingredients to many desserts.

    4. Brazil Nuts

    Brazil Nuts

    What are they?

    These wild nuts from Brazil, are also found in Bolivia and Peru.

    Why are they so good?

    • They contain exceptionally high levels of selenium.
    • They are an excellent source of vitamin E.
    • They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
    • They are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins.
    • They contain a whole range of minerals, such as copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc.

    What else do I need to know about them?

    In December 1996, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a 9-year study that showed that those who took 200 mcg of selenium a day had a 50% less chance of dying from cancer than those who did not take selenium supplements.

    Brazil nuts contain around 10-100 mcg of selenium per nut, depending on what area they are grown in. That means that if you eat just 2-20 Brazil nuts a day, you could reduce your cancer risk significantly.

    Most people are deficient in selenium because food is grown in selenium-deficient soils. So, eating Brazil nuts is a great way to ensure your body is getting its daily dose of selenium without resorting to daily vitamins.

    How can I use them?

    As with other nuts, you can eat Brazil nuts on their own, or mix them with other nuts, seeds, and fruits. You can also use Brazil nuts to make milk, which is particularly creamy. If you like nut milk, you can alternate between using almonds and Brazil nuts for nut milk. Soak the Brazil nuts overnight before using them, as the soaking helps make them more digestible. Throw away the water they have been soaked in and rinse in freshwater before eating.

    5. Coconut Oil

    Coconut Oil

    What is it?

    Coconut oil is an edible oil that is extracted from either the kernel or meat of mature coconuts.

    Why is it so good?

    • It is beneficial for the heart.
    • It helps with weight loss.
    • It improves digestion.
    • It enhances the immune system.
    • It is a superb massage oil for the skin.
    • It is an excellent natural nutrition for hair.

    What else do I need to know about it?

    Coconut oil has so many incredible benefits that we would recommend everyone to give it a try. Many people use coconut oil for skin care, as they find that it is an excellent moisturizer. They know they do not have to worry about any chemical additives in the moisturizer, as is often the case with commercial cosmetics.

    Coconut oil contains high levels of lauric acid, a substance known to help prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These benefits make coconut ideal for food to help prevent heart disease.

    Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, which makes it an excellent digestive aid; it can keep down bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion.

    Coconut oil is also great for strengthening the immune system since it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.

    How can I use it?

    You can use coconut oil in many different ways, from eating it raw to using it in cooking instead of other oils. You can also rub it onto your skin and hair and even use it to create homemade skincare products. If the oil has solidified, leave it in a warm place, and quickly melt.

    6. Flaxseeds

    Flaxseeds

    What are they?

    Flaxseeds come from the flax plant, and they are rich in Omega-3 oil.

    Why are they so good?

    • They contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids.
    • They are a good source of lignans (has plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities).
    • They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
    • They help fight heart disease.
    • They help fight cancer.
    • They help fight diabetes.

    What else do I need to know about them?

    Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, and as the name suggests, it is crucial for good health. Omega-3 oils are found mainly in oily fish, but can also be found in flaxseeds.

    The ideal intake of Omega-6 to Omega-3 oils is 1:1 to 4:1. In Western countries, the ratio for many people is around 20:1, or even 50:1. This is due to the western diets containing large amounts of corn, soy, and sunflower oils.

    How can I use them?

    Use flaxseeds to make flax seeds crackers. You can also grind them in a coffee grinder and add them to your smoothies. But make sure that you dink your smoothie quickly because the drink will begin to set once you add the flaxseeds. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to a bowl of breakfast cereal. You can also add them to yogurt to increase your Omega-3 oil consumption.

    7. Goji Berries

    Goji Berries

    What are they?

    Goji berries are small and soft red fruits that are popular in Chinese medicine.

    Why are they so good?

    • They contain 6 vitamins.
    • They contain a range of phytonutrients.
    • They contain an exceptionally high level of antioxidants.
    • They contain many trace and essential minerals.
    • They contain unsaturated fatty acids.
    • They contain all 9 essential amino acids.

    What else do I need to know about them?

    Goji berries, also called Wolfberries, are very nutritionally dense food and famous in the raw food community. Since so many tout them as a superfood, the price for goji berries seems to have risen dramatically. They are now mostly sold at expensive health food stores. The Chinese have been using these berries for thousands of years, and if you have a Chinese market near you, you should be able to get them at a fraction of the price you would pay at a regular store.

    Goji berries contain 18 amino acids, including all the essential amino acids, so they are a good protein source.

    They also contain a whole range of trace minerals, including iron, copper, zinc, germanium, calcium, selenium, and phosphorous.

    By weight, Goji berries contain 500 times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges. Despite their nutritional value, it is important to eat various fruits and vegetables to get other essential nutrients in your diet.

    How can I use them?

    As with other dried fruits, they can be eaten or mixed with other dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. If you want to use them in your smoothies, soak them for a couple of hours until they are soft. This will ensure that they blend more easily. If you like to make your granola bars or trail mix, add some goji berries to the recipe.

    8. Green Tea

    Green Tea

    What is it?

    Green tea is a drink made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.

    Why is it so good?

    • It helps control blood sugar levels.
    • It can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.
    • It can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
    • It is claimed to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
    • It can destroy some bacteria and viruses.
    • It is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
    • It is packed with antioxidants.
    • It has anti-inflammatory properties.

    What else do I need to know about it?

    For thousands of years, the Chinese and other people in Asia have used green tea as traditional medicine. They have used it for many things, including lowering blood pressure and inhibiting cancer. Processing green tea is different from processing black tea, which means that it retains higher amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols. These are the substances that experts believe give green tea its many benefits.

    Many people also drink it because it may have properties to help with weight loss. The thought is that green tea raises the metabolism and therefore helps burn a little more fat. It also suppresses the appetite, which also helps in weight loss.

    How can I use it?

    The best way to take green tea is to add hot water and drink it as a tea. It is also available in capsule and powder form, which can be considered as a supplement. Many doctors and dieticians recommend drinking it as a tea because the supplements do not have the same benefits.

    9. Hemp Seeds

    Hemp Seeds

    What are they?

    Hemp seeds come from the hemp plant and are an excellent source of protein.

    Why are they so good?

    • They are an excellent source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.
    • They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, including Omega 3, Omega 6 and GLA.
    • They are rich in Vitamin E.
    • They can increase energy levels.
    • They are known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
    • They are known to lower blood pressure.
    • They improve immunity levels.
    • They are high in minerals.
    • They help muscles recover after exercise.
    • They help improve skin condition.

    What else do I need to know about them?

    Many people consider hemp seeds to be among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are packed with protein and contain remarkably high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most experts agree that the optimum ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 ranges from 1:1 to 4:1. Hemp seeds are the only seeds that have this perfect balance of these oils.

    Author Udo Erasmus’ Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, said that “the best-balanced source of EFAs is hemp seed oil.”

    Medical professionals believe diseases are the result of deficiencies or imbalances of certain essential fatty acids. Using hemp seeds or hemp seed oil, can ensure you are getting enough EFAs, and getting them in the correct ratios.

    How can I use them?

    You can eat hemp seeds in the same way as other seeds, such as sesame or sunflower seeds. They are also used by many people in the raw food movement to make hemp milk. The easiest way to make this is to use a milk maker, such as the Soyabella Soya Milk Maker. As well as making soya milk, this machine will also make raw milk from nuts and seeds.

    10. Maca

    Maca

    What is it?

    Maca is a root plant that is eaten both for food and for its medicinal properties.

    Why is it so good?

    • It will increase your energy.
    • It will give you a stamina boost.
    • It can help with fertility problems.
    • It can enhance your libido.
    • It will boost your immune system.
    • It can enhance memory, focus and mental clarity.
    • It helps reduce menopause symptoms.

    What else do I need to know about it?

    Maca is a tuberous plant that grows in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia and Peru, at 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. The area where the plants grow is affluent in minerals, which may be one reason why Maca has such a high nutritional content. It is known mainly for its ability to increase stamina and improve sexual function in men and women.

    It is known for women suffering from menopause to provide relief from hot flashes, vaginal dryness, itchy skin, palpitations, indigestion, and tenderness of the breasts.

    The benefits include increased libido and potency, increased sperm production, and the enhanced production of testosterone for men.

    It will not be surprising to know that both men and women use Maca to aid fertility.

    But Maca is very potent, and there are reports about its side effects, so be careful if you begin using it. Using large amounts can cause hyperactivity, insomnia, and anxiety.

    If you plan to use it, then make sure you consult with a medical practitioner first.

    How can I use it?

    Maca is usually taken in powder or capsule form.

    11. Mesquite Meal

    Mesquite Meal

    What is it?

    Mesquite meal is a gluten-free low-glycemic flour produced by grinding dried pods from the mesquite tree.

    Why is it so good?

    • It is gluten-free.
    • It is a low-glycemic flour.

    What else do I need to know about it?

    Mesquite meal was a staple food for Native American Indians, who used it to make soups, drinks, porridge, and cakes. Because mesquite is a low-glycemic food, it is excellent for keeping your blood sugar balanced.

    Because the mesquite meal is naturally sweet, you can make cakes and bread without sugar, which will also help control your blood sugar levels. The taste of cooked mesquite can be a little strong for some people. So, make sure to mix it with 50-50 with wheat flour.

    How can I use it?

    It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour to make bread, cakes, etc.

    12. Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkin Seeds

    What are they?

    Pumpkin seeds are simply the seeds from pumpkins.

    Why are they so good?

    • They contain high levels of zinc.
    • They contain high levels of magnesium.
    • They promote prostate health.
    • They protect against osteoporosis.
    • They have anti-inflammatory effects.
    • They can be used as a treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.
    • They can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    What else do I need to know about them?

    Many people have highly acidic diets due to the high amounts of processed foods they consume. So, it is good to know that pumpkin seeds are an alkaline food.

    Most foods lose their nutritional value as they get older, but the opposite is exact with pumpkin seeds. The nutritional value increases with the age of the seeds.

    One thing to note is that pumpkin seeds are very high in calories, containing around 560 calories per 100 grams.

    How can I use them?

    Pumpkin seeds can be eaten in the same way as other seeds. They are great as a snack with some dried fruit and nuts.

    13. Sea Vegetables

    Sea Vegetables

    What are they?

    Sea vegetables are quite simply plants that grow in the sea.

    Why are they so good?

    • They have a high mineral content.
    • They contain large amounts of chlorophyll.
    • Kelp has large amounts of iodine, which is excellent for the thyroid.

    What else do I need to know about them?

    The sea contains over 90 types of minerals, and it is this abundance that makes sea vegetables so good for your health. This is especially important when we consider that land-grown fruits and vegetables are often deficient in minerals. The reason is mostly due to the depletion of minerals in the soil in recent decades.

    If we cannot get enough minerals from other foods in our diet, adding sea vegetables will give us a considerable boost.

    Sea vegetables also include generous amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, and selenium.

    Many studies have shown that people that eat sea vegetables have higher mineral content in their bodies than people that do not eat sea vegetables. The people of Okinawa, who are known for their longevity, eat lots of sea vegetables.

    How can I use them?

    Sea vegetables can be used in salads, soups, and other dishes. But be aware that they are very salty, so you will not want to eat too many of them, as excess salt can cause high blood pressure in susceptible individuals.

    14. Spirulina

    Spirulina

    What is it?

    Spirulina is a green-blue alga that grows on mineral-rich lakes in many places around the world.

    Why is it so good?

    • It improves sports performance and is used by many athletes.
    • It contains around 65% protein.
    • It contains a good amount of iron.
    • It contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other trace minerals.
    • It contains Vitamin B12 and other B-complex vitamins.
    • It helps improve immunity.
    • It helps keep the heart healthy.
    • It helps keep the skin clear and healthy.

    What else do I need to know about it?

    Spirulina is also known to help digestion, reduce fatigue, build endurance, boost energy levels, and reduce inflammation. It is as close as you can get to a portion of complete food and is a great supplement to take for general health.

    How can I use it?

    Spirulina is available in tablet and powder form. The powder form can be mixed with both fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies.

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