Because what we eat is broken down and absorbed by our cells, the phrase "you are what you eat" rings true. But just as there are natural forces that are within us to heal, there can also be natural forces within us to harm as well... depending on what we eat. So if you're eating sugar and fat and salt, what are THOSE natural forces doing to your body?
I recently read and re-read an AMAZING book by David Wolfe called Superfoods, The Food and Medicine of the Future. It really hit home how the natural powers in the food we eat really do make us sick or make us well. Mr. Wolfe really touched on those foods that REALLY promote wellness in some pretty incredible ways. He calls them Superfoods.
“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”~ Hippocrates
Here are MY favorites:
Raw Cacao - come on folks... CHOCOLATE!!! Definitely at the top of the list! And when sweetened with natural sweeteners (like raw, organic agave) it's super healthy and guilt free! Check http://www.gnosischocolate.com/ for some hand-crafted super duper superfood! Not ruined by heat, refining and processing, raw cacao is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, tryptophan (for the 'feel good') and fiber. Raw cacao can even help you lose weight! Now THAT'S what I call super!
Spirulina - Yay Protein! Spirulina contains the highest concentration of protein (by weight) of any food known, between 65 and 71 percent protein, depending upon the variety. AND spirulina yields 200 times more protein per acre than beef without hormones, chemicals, pesticides (that are ingested from cows eating corn unnaturally), and "factory farming" that leads to E. coli and Salmonella organisms that can contaminate store bought meat. Oh and spirulina protein is also more readily absorbed by the body because it's easily blended with water in it's raw state, whereas cooked meat loses about 50% of it's usable protein as soon as it's cooked. Each gram of spirulina protein is four times more absorbable than the same gram of protein in beef. Add to the amazing protein, spirulina is a great source of antioxidants, GLA and is an all around immune system booster! Popeye would have done FAR better with spirulina! :)
Goji Berries - Another immune system booster and super source of antioxidants, this little berry is a powerhouse for a healthy body. Although often recommended for such chronic conditions as liver or kidney disorders, weak joints and legs, lower back problems, dizziness and tinnitus, headaches, insomnia, hypertension, tuberculosis, and impotence, goji berries are not used for treating illness or poor health, but rather to nourish the body... to support the body in healing itself by providing a startling array of extraordinary nutrients. Goji berries are perhaps the most nutritionally rich berry-fruit on the planet. Add to all those outstanding attributes the stabilization of hormones and increasing sexual function, well, you can just see why it's "up there" on my superfoods list!
Aloe Vera - Being that this particular plant is a succulent that is a native plant where I live, this one should probably be at the top of my list. I am the most familiar with this superfood, but honestly, there are going to be very few things to push chocolate from the top! hahahaha! Aloe is another antioxidant with an arsenal of vitamins. Among them are A, C, and E, the minerals sulfur, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium and chromium as well as fiber, amino acids, enzymes, sterols, and lignins. With all of these amazing benefits, I think the one benefit that shines above all others for me is aloe's antimicrobial properties. With so many people plagued with digestive issues because of what is being put into our food (PLEASE go see Food Inc., in select theaters now), aloe might just be a life saver for many. The polysaccharides in aloe are converted by the human body into oligosaccharides, which protect the musosal lining of the digestive tract and have been shown to be effective in fighting back organisms such as Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough pathogen), E. coli strains, Heliobacter pylori and Streptococcus pneumoniae. And I haven't even talked about ALL of aloe's benefits. That's a pretty great resume for such a naturally beautiful plant that takes very little maintenance to grow where I live. Being that it's a succulent, it's one of those plants that needs very little water to grow and thrives in desert climates.
Well, hopefully from my list of faves, you can see that Superfoods by David Wolfe is the book to run and get. His book contains a list of his top ten with quite a few other "honorable mentions". Each superfood is accompanied with recipes, histories and benefits. There is also an appendix in the back with nutritional information on each superfood. This has already become my go-to book. I'm sure pages will be falling out shortly. They always do with super duper books, don't they? Mr. Wolfe, can you PLEASE make this into a spiral bound book?!? That would be soooo much easier! ;)