FRUIT and NUT SUPERFOODSFruit and nut superfoods are high in anti-oxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals may sound a little like an extremist terrorist sect evading capture and wreaking havoc across the globe and in fact within the context of your body this would be right. They are, in part, a natural occurrence through metabolism however extra and unnecessary free radical load can be put on our bodies by external factors including pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation, burnt foods, deep fried fats and cooked foods. When enough of these free radicals invade our immune system problems occurs. This is when you need antioxidants to build up the immune system and fight off the free radicals in the form of superfoods or supplements.
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 and actually more than any other fruit. 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.
Raw Cacao - For this nut we could easily dedicate a whole page, if not a book. 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 each serving of raw cacao beans contains 21% 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.
Maca - Maca powder is from the Maca root, a flavorful ancient superfood from Peru. Maca has been cultivated for at least 2000 years and was consumed by Inca warriors to increase strength and endurance. It is a highly nutritious food that has been used traditionally to gain energy, promote sexual desire, support fertility and enhance immune system function. It continues today to be a significant staple food and medicinal plant for the Peruvian people and is now widely available around the world as a whole food supplement.
Acai - Acai 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. The ORAC rating of acai is 1,027. Make sure to look for the freeze dried acai fruit in which the nutrients are kept intact or when buying the juice look for a brand that has not been pasteurized or heated in any way.
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 colors. 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- 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.
Noni - This fruit has been used by Polynesian islanders as a regenerative medicine for more than 1500 years. Research documents that the noni fruit has astounding anti-bacterial properties, even against E-coli. It has anti-tumor activity, anti-inflammatory properties, is effective as a pain reliever, generates cell repair and strengthens the immune system. Noni contains a multitude of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. Many believe that the synergistic effect of the multi-spectrum nutrients is what gives it its potency. It has been proven beneficial for colds and flu's, digestive disorders, skin disorders, pain relief, headaches, infections and more. For best results look for a freeze-dried product that uses only the whole fruit or when buying the juice look for a brand that does not use pasteurizing.
For more information on how to use Superfoods in your day to day life please have a look at our Healthy Cooking Class 6 DVD set and the Detox and Rejuvenation Guide