new superfoods on the block | Melissa McAllister

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new superfoods on the block

Have You Tried The New Superfoods On The Block?

Have You Tried The New Superfoods On The Block?

Chances are you’ve heard of moringa, hemp, algae, reishi mushrooms, turmeric, or maca root recently; it seems you can’t turn around or check Facebook without seeing someone mention one of these as the latest magical health and food supplement.

But what do they all have in common?

Well apart from being anything but ‘new’ (they’ve all in fact been around for many hundreds of years), they’ve recently joined the ranks of cinnamon, chia seeds and wheatgrass as the latest ‘superfoods.’

What Is A Superfood?

One of the hardest food groups to join, superfoods are usually plant-based (although not exclusively), nutritionally dense foods that offer amazing health benefits. They often contain high doses of vitamins and minerals, which can help our bodies in so many ways, including weight loss, but more importantly they can boost our health and fitness status.

Some of the most common superfoods you probably consume regularly include blueberries, spinach, salmon, nuts and seeds. Our ancestors never referred to such foods as ‘superfoods’ though – to them it was just normal nutrition and they ate what they could based on their location and access to foods.

These days, however, we are bombarded with the latest superfood powder, supplement or capsule and our supermarkets and health food stores are filled to the brim with the latest must-have addition to our diet.

It can be overwhelming. But the important thing to remember is that these types of foods are good for you, when consumed in the right quality and quantity. But you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on them.

Superhealthy Superfoods

As always, I’m most interested in helping people learn how their food intake can positively impact their health. And this is where superfoods really earn their high-ranking status. In some cases, there are numerous proven studies that show huge improvements and reversals of certain medical conditions. And if that can be achieved with little or no medication, then I’m all ears!

Food can prevent and heal better than ANY pharmaceutical! Reverse the trend – get over nourished, and not just overfed…

  1. Moringa

new superfoods on the block

What is it? A small tree native to India, but grows elsewhere too. A rare plant-based food that contains all 9 amino acids, which are normally only found together in animal products.

Why is it super?

High in nutrients:

  • B-vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc
  • High in antioxidants and reduces inflammation
  • Helps lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Helps skin cells to repair damage for better looking skin
  • Boost immunity
  • Help muscle growth
  • Aids digestion

How to consume?

Traditionally the leaves are picked and used in teas, but more commercially available as powders, capsules and dried tea.

Add 1-2 teaspoons to smoothies – it’s recommended to start with half – 1 teaspoon until you get used to the taste.

  1. Hemp Seeds

new superfoods on the block

What are they?

Hemp seeds are a super versatile superfood that our Asian ancestors have been reaping the benefits of for thousands of years. With a taste like sunflower seeds, they have a rich, nutty flavour.

Why are they super?

They contain over 30% fat so they pack a punch in a small handful. They are also exceptionally rich in essential fatty acids and proteins. Because they contain so little carbohydrate and so much fat, they provide 50-70% more protein than chia or flax seeds.

Hemp seeds contain:

  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Calcium

How to consume?

Hemp seeds can be eaten raw – like other seeds, or added to smoothies, protein bars, energy balls and dressings. They can also easily be scooped onto salads for a crunchy addition.

  1. Algae

new superfoods on the block

What is it?

Despite their name, blue green algae are not algae, but in fact a form of ‘good’ bacteria that is an unusual green color. They grow in both salt and fresh water, and blue green algae, including spirulina, contain valuable nutrients.

Why are they super?

What makes algae particularly super is that they not only contain a high concentration of nutrients – over 65 vitamins, minerals and enzymes as well as the complete spectrum of eight essential amino acids and ten nonessential amino acids – but they are also much more easily absorbed than any other supplements (97% vs 5-25%).

Algae also contain:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C, D, A and E
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc
  • Chlorophyll

What are the health benefits?

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Can protect against heart disease
  • Boost immune system and remove toxins from the body
  • Natural anti viral properties
  • Relieve fatigue
  • Balance blood sugar (check out some reports of the effects vs actual diabetes drugs)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase fat burning during exercise

How to consume?

The strong taste of algae powder (it does taste like you’d expect!) can often mean it puts people off, but you can easily absorb it through capsules or mixing it into your smoothie where the other ingredients will mask the taste. 

  1. Reishi mushrooms

new superfoods on the block

What are they?

Not just your average fungi, reishi mushrooms are an edible form of medicinal mushroom. One of the oldest ‘superfoods’ the Chinese have been relying on these for their healing properties for years. No wonder they are also known as the ‘king of mushrooms’!

Why are they super?

  • High anti-inflammatory properties
  • Boost immune system
  • Help mental clarity
  • Aid the repair of damaged blood vessels
  • Rebalances hormones
  • High antioxidant abilities
  • Linked to aiding the body’s ability to fighting cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, allergies and infections

How to consume?

Whilst you might be able to find these mushrooms fresh or in dried form in your local Asian supermarket or Chinese medicine shop, you’re much more likely to find them in supplement, tincture or powder form.

  1. Turmeric

new superfoods on the block

What is it?

Used medicinally and in cooking in India for hundreds of years, the turmeric root has a distinct bright yellow-orange color and a smell that can hit the back of the throat when used in cooking.

Why is it super?

Aside from its stunning color and smell, turmeric is an amazing addition to a healthy diet. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and many studies have pointed to its health advantages, including the ability to potentially reverse many health conditions, with no side effects.

The fact that it’s relatively cheap and easy to access makes it even more super!

What are the health benefits?

The primary compound of turmeric – curcumin – contains many anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-amyloid, anti-ischemic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric has been linked to reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing/clearing the plaques that are part of the development of the disease.

The curcumin in turmeric has also been linked to reducing the inflammation of the joints. Several studies have also shown that turmeric has had greater positive effects than anti-inflammatory drugs.

It also contains zero cholesterol.

Other benefits:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • High in dietary fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Choline
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron (helps to produce red blood cells)
  • Potassium (helps to control the heart rate and blood pressure)
  • Manganese (antioxidant support)
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium

How to consume?

Powdered turmeric is easy to find in most supermarkets and health food stores (but be careful to buy a good, organic brand). It can be added to scrambled eggs, sautéed veggies, stir fries and meat.

Fresh turmeric root is becoming more readily available and can be grated into food in the same way (just wear gloves as the orange color lasts a while!!)

  1. Maca root

new superfoods on the block

What is it?

Grown high in the mountains of South America, predominantly Peru, the maca root usually comes in powder form and is one of the world’s most natural superfoods. A pleasant tasting and nutrient dense superfood, the maca root has long been used as a dietary as well as medicinal support for a variety of ailments. 

Why is it super?

The maca root has so many health benefits, including:

  • Fertility boost
  • Hormone balancer
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Improved sexual performance
  • Better memory and focus
  • Elevates feel good hormones

It also includes:

  • Over 20 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids
  • 20 free-form fatty acids (such as lauric, linolenic, palmitic acid, oleic , and steric acid)
  • Vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Sulphur
  • Sodium
  • Iron

How to consume?

1 teaspoon daily can be sprinkled into smoothies.

So there you have it – more awesome reasons to enjoy plant-based and natural additions to your healthy lifestyle. Of course, please always consult your medical professional, before changing any of your current health and medical practises, particularly if you are on medication, pregnant or breastfeeding.