In the first part of this series, we learned what superfoods are and how they can make a difference to our lives. We discovered that superfoods do not possess just a single nutrient, but many. They offer us many benefits at the same time so in effect you get more nutrition with lesser amount of food that you eat.
Part 1 also explained why we should eat superfoods. They are rich in nutrients and work wonders in keeping your mind and body healthy. They help you flush out toxins more frequently and leave you with a healthy glow. They help in maintaining your weight and you can continue to remain healthy without having to take annoying vitamins or mineral tablets.
In this part of our series, we will learn about 6 superfoods that can make a remarkable change in your life.
5. Spirulina – Spirulina is a specific type of blue green algae that has been around from a long time. This amazing superfood is rich in proteins, and it has become quite popular as a nutrition supplement. Spirulina is classified among algae but to be truthful, it lies between the plant and animal kingdom because of its cell structure and metabolic functions that make it a step above regular plants but not quite in the animal kingdom yet.
So, what are the health benefits of this amazing superfood and how can it help you? Let’s have a look…
* Contains plenty of vitamin A, E, B complex and C.
* Is a rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron.
* Has plenty of antioxidants that help in getting rid of free radicals to keep you young and healthy; these antioxidants are also known to help in fighting cancer
* Has a unique blue green color that is pretty much one of the reasons why this superfood is a cancer fighter.
* Helps in building protein, which is even better than soy.
* Is rich in GLA or Gamma Linolenic Acid. GLA is an essential fatty acid that helps in keeping the heart healthy; people have also found it to be useful in controlling weight and PMS problems.
* Helps digestion and it also diffuses the appetite so that you don’t feel that hungry.
* Contains beta carotene in a form that is even more potent than what is found in carrots.
* Contains lutein, which is really important for the eyes.
* Contains phytonutrients such as polysaccharides, sulfolipids and calcium spirulan which are rather unusual but offer lots of health benefits.
* Helps in making people feel energetic because it balances the immune system and helps your body heal and absorb necessary nutrients.
* Helps in detoxifying our bodies, especially where heavy metals like mercury and dioxin are in excess.
Research is still on to figure out the long-term benefits of Spirulina. Spirulina is easy to obtain although you must be careful to buy pure forms, because impure varieties are easier to get but just as harmful.
Spirulina is available in tablets or powder form, and the latter could well be added to your milkshakes and smoothies to make them more healthy and nutritious.
6. Blue green algae – Algae are one of the oldest forms of life on earth and blue green algae are certainly one of the oldest. These simple plants have a bad reputation because they are often responsible for water blooms that clog lakes and cause harm to marine life. However, blue green algae have their uses as well and even have plenty of benefits. In fact, recent studies have concluded that blue green algae like Spirulina are actually a powerful superfood with chockfull of nutrients and goodness.
Blue green algae –
* Are rich in antioxidants that are essential to fight free radicals that cause disease and ageing.
* Are known to relax blood vessels and lower the lipid content of blood.
* Help people who want to control their weight or lose weight faster. It’s worth noting that blue greens have plenty of nutrients but very little calories, which make it such an ideal superfood.
* Help in lowering the blood pressure.
* Contain a high amount of protein and help in keeping blood sugar levels in control. Also helpful in cleansing the body so people who are fasting can take it without any qualms.
* Aid the growth of intestinal bacteria, which is good for digestion.
* Lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
* Help in neutralizing bad breath
Blue green algae also have a few side effects so care should be taken when consuming them because sometimes it can cause headaches, sweating and flushing. Another important thing to note is that blue green algae that are harvested from the wild can be extremely toxic and cause problems such as liver damage, vomiting and diarrhea.
A good idea would be to only purchase organic blue green algae and make them a regular part of your diet. Blue green algae are available in the form of powder, capsules, tablets and flakes. Make sure you take only the recommended amount of dosage so that you derive the health benefits without the side effects.
7. Marine Phytoplankton -The marine phytoplankton has been the blue whale’s food for as long as it has existed. Do we really need another testimonial to the phytoplankton’s amazing ability to make the blue whale so strong and healthy? Not really, but we’ll look at it anyway because the marine phytoplankton is now being considered one of the top most superfoods that are there on this planet.
The marine phytoplankton has been on the earth for billions of years and was instrumental in getting human life started on the planet because of its ability to give out oxygen.
We already know how well Spirulina and blue green algae work for us, but close on their ranks is this amazing superfood, which is distinguished from the others because it is full of live nutrients.
So, how can the marine phytoplankton help us?
* Marine phytoplankton has a huge whopping amount of carotenoids, amino acids and minerals. Some of these fight ageing and others help in fighting disease causing free radicals.
* Trace minerals found in marine phytoplankton like zinc, selenium, magnesium, strontium, chromium and iodine are helpful in many ways right from fighting cancer to controlling thyroid function and reversing neurological disorders.
* Marine phytoplankton contains phytochemicals which are great for removing toxins from your body, helping in circulation and preventing abnormal cell division that usually leads to cancer.
* Helps preventing diseases that cause degeneration of the body and mind
Marine phytoplankton has so many nutrients that it’s hard to classify them all here. Suffice it to say that it contains all the goodness required to treat diseases and disorders such as atherosclerosis, eczema, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, osteoporosis and many other diseases.
Raw marine phytoplankton is really potent and there are many products which offer it to you in liquid form. Of course, it is also available as powder or tablet but many health aware people feel that it loses its powers and potency if it is processed in any form.
8. Aloe – Aloe is well known today for many reasons, be it for providing soft and supple skin or to help assuage mild burns or probably even help in diaper rash. But, did you know that aloe vera is also a superfood and can be consumed because it provides some really amazing health benefits?
Aloe vera has long been recognized for its superficial effects on our body but now scientists are realizing that this plant is quite a potent superfood as well. Here are some of the benefits it provides:
* Helps maintain the balance of good bacteria in the intestine so that digestion is good
* Helps people suffering from allergies and helps in keeping blood sugar normal.
* Contains trace minerals such as calcium, selenium, zinc, chromium and magnesium, which are really good for health.
* Polysaccharides help in keeping the immune system healthy.
* Detoxifies the body and even gets rid of harmful bacteria from the body.
* Contains sterils, which greatly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
* Helps in healing and preventing fungus infections.
Aloe can be taken in the form of juice, smoothies, soups, dips or even salad dressing and it will provide all the much needed nutrients without a hitch.
9. Hemp seed – Hemp as we know is an extremely versatile product of nature and right from ropes to paper, hemp has been instrumental in making our lives easier. However, in recent times, hemp seed has slowly gained popularity as a superfood because of its amazing powers in keeping us healthy.
Consistent research is being conducted on this aspect but we do know that hemp seed helps us in the following ways:
* Hemp seeds are rich in essential amino acids and fatty acids that are required for a healthy life; in fact, hemp seeds are better than meat, eggs and soy, traditional sources of protein because of its amazing amino acid profile.
* It has calcium, iron as well as other minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper and manganese.
* Hemp seeds are known to alleviate the symptoms of those suffering from eczema.
* Hemp seeds are richer in omega-3 than walnuts.
* Hemp seeds are ideal for vegans who do not eat meat at all as it meets all their protein requirements.
* Hemp seeds make your immune system stronger and helps you fight diseases better.
* Hemp oil derived from hemp seeds is the best possible EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) supplement there is.
Hemp seeds can be eaten in its raw form; they can be made into hemp milk like soy milk, or made into tea. Hemp leaves can also be added to salads while there’s hemp tofu and hemp butter as well. There are plenty of recipes that can liven up your meal with the goodness of hemp.
10. Coconut – Tropical countries where coconuts abound often take them for granted. However, since they also consume enough coconut water constantly, it is one of the reason for their good health. Coconut water found inside the shell is pure because of the many filters it has had to pass through till it reached the center.
Did you know that tender coconut water is very similar to the plasma in human blood? So, whenever you drink tender coconut water mixed with some other fresh juice, preferably a green leaf one like wheat grass, you’re giving your body an amazing boost of power and energy.
Soft coconut meat has its own uses as well but here’s a look at what coconut water can do for you:
* Those suffering from cholera can find great relief in tender coconut water because of its sodium and albumin content.
* For people with kidney stones, drinking coconut water helps in tackling the pain, while protecting the kidneys from bad calcium sources.
* Coconut water, at times, is used as a substitute for blood plasma because of its purity.
* Coconut oil and coconut cream contain Medium Chain Fatty Acids, which are instrumental in making the immune system stronger.
* Coconut oil contains antioxidants such as pregnenolone that are highly useful for the body.
* Coconut cream and coconut oil help in balancing the blood sugar level and enable you to without food without feeling the onset of hypoglycemia.
* In young coconuts, the meat inside is soft and is excellent for creating breast milk.
Coconuts are indeed a superfood that have been ignored largely because of misleading reports of cholesterol increase on coconut consumption. There’s no end to the different uses that can be created with the humble coconut, right from oil to cream or just its water.