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Diets these days are getting pretty intense. It seems like every day there’s something new we should be eating or something old that isn’t as great as we thought it was. Everyone is looking for ways to feel rejuvenated and detoxified, while also getting the most bang for their buck.
Superfoods are the way to do it. Foods like salmon and kale have long been toted as quick, easy, and delicious ways to make sure your diet is jam packed with vitamins and nutrients. There are, however, a few new additions to our list of superfoods you might not be aware of.
Acai might not be the newest kid on the block but it’s growing popularity definitely gives it a home on this list. This delicious tropical fruit, indigenous to the Amazon, is very high in antioxidants and totes a wide array of health benefits. From heart health to sexual potency, this tiny berry is quickly becoming the go-to superfood for the health conscious foodie. Many choose to start their days with the quintessential Acai bowl, an immune boosting concoction of acai puree and fresh fruits that will quench your sweet cravings and keep you full to boot. Simply pick up some Acai power and add whatever fixings you think might work, the possibilities are endless. Acai has also been finding it’s way into the beauty industry as it’s oils are a natural alternative to many of the chemical based skin-care products currently on the market. Don’t believe me? Go grab some.
Goji berries might seem new to you but they have been a staple across Asia for thousands of years. Also known as the wolfberry, Goji berries boast a whopping 18 essential amino acids and are a great source of protein. I know what you’re thinking…. “Protein? From a fruit?”. Yes. 1 cup of Goji berries gives you up to 12 grams of protein making it the one of the most protein dense fruits. Additionally, Goji berries have more vitamin C by weight than any food on the planet and has up to 15 times more iron than spinach. What’s not to love about this diverse and nutrient packed berry? Throw it in a smoothie, on a salad, or bake it into a cake… The possibilities for this little guy are endless.
Let’s get something out of the wayL Though they are related, hemp seeds do not come from the marijuana plant and do not contain have any psychoactive components. Alright, NOW if you had a childhood even remotely like mine you definitely made a hemp necklace or two at some point. But did you ever associate that necklace with food of any kind? Probably not.
Hemp is a miracle material. It has been used to make fibers for clothing and paper for thousands of years, George Washington even grew it on his farm and The Declaration of Independence was drafted on it. Every plant must come from a seed and this case the seed is just as miraculous. Containing 10 essential amino acids, hemp seeds are a very efficient source of protein.
The high concentration of omega-3 and omega -6 fatty acids make it damn good for your heart and is also one of the planet’s best natural source of magnesium. These little miracle seeds can be thrown into almost anything… Throw them into your oatmeal, yogurt, or on top of your salad. I even saw someone bread their chicken wings with it. Get out your old hemp necklaces and give yourself a dose of this wonderful superfood.
You might usually opt for brown rice over white but how often do you come in contact with black rice? Black rice has been a beloved part of Chinese cuisine for almost as long as there has been Chinese cuisine… So much in fact that, in a distant time, only royalty had access to it which is why it is also called forbidden rice. The rice’s dark color contributes to it’s high antioxidant count and studies have showed it to be great for heart health. It also has higher amounts of vitamin E than brown and white rice and a much nuttier flavor. I don’t know about you but I tend to get very bored of rice as I have been known to eat a lot of it… Black rice has been just what I’ve needed to spice things up while still managing to keep rice as a major staple in my diet.
The health benefits of garlic shouldn’t be news to you. I put garlic in most of the things I eat because, not only does it make everything taste better, it’s also great for your immune system, your heart, and warding off vampires. That being said, I bet you haven’t heard about black garlic. Black garlic totes the same health benefits as its lighter cousin but, by fermenting it under very controlled heat and humidity, it gains several new ones. Through the fermentation process the black garlic just about doubles it’s anti-oxidant count and gains much more allicin, which is what gives it much of it’s health benefits. The fermentation process also creates S-Allycysteine which assists with the absorption of allicin as it is water soluble which is essentially what make black garlic so much more effective than white garlic.
Growing up we are all taught that chocolate is not healthy but that is only half of the truth. Cacao, chocolate in it’s raw form, actually has many health benefits. The flavanols and other compounds found in cacao might help lower blood pressure and do wonders for your circulation. Cacao also contains flavonoids and essential minerals that also promote heart health and help lower cholesterol. Cacao also contains plenty of what some call “bliss chemicals” that all contribute to improve your physical and mental health. Cacao can be found in most health food stores as either nibs or beans and many dark chocolates now advertise their cacao contents. The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t feel guilty about getting your chocolate on (as long as it’s the right kind).
Probiotics are all the rage these days, with people going through great ends to identify and consume a wide assortment of cultures that are currently available. Most people, on this side of the world, turn to yogurt to get their probiotics. Kefir is actually a much more potent source of probiotics than yogurt. Kefir is a drink made by fermenting milk after adding kefir “grains”. These “grains” are not the kind of grains you are used to seeing but are actually cultures of yeast and lactic acid. After about 24 hours the grains are removed from the milk and can be used again. Though it is high in calcium, protein, and vitamin B, kefir’s biggest selling point is the 30 or more different microorganisms that promote gut health. These friendly bacteria do wonders for your digestion and can work to help prevent infections. All in all, kefir is a pretty easy to make and comes with a ton of benefit over your normal run of the mill yogurt.
If you love food even half as much as I do then you owe it to yourself to give these foods a try. Google is your friend in this endeavor… There are SO many recipes out there that include these foods in ways that won’t be a shock to your well groomed food routines. If changing things up isn’t a problem for you then feel free to jump in with both feet. Get a little weird with it, there’s plenty of opportunity for that. Good luck… I think you’ll be just fine.