Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The 7 Secret Foods that Only the Healthiest People in the World Eat

You’ve heard the buzz about superfoods.

There is some mystique about them, isn’t there? Imagine a food--or a group of foods--that alone can elevate moods, enrich your body with almost hundreds of minerals and taste great all at the same time?

The 7 foods I want to talk about do all this and more... and are not just the "ordinary" superfoods like the cherry, the avocado or extra virgin olive oil. These foods are from the corners of the world and they will pack a super-punch into your everyday diet.

Superfood #1: Cacao (Raw Chocolate)

Want more energy? Try some raw chocolate.

Raw chocolate is one of the most powerful sources of magnesium on the planet. Not only does magnesium help with alertness and activity, it also helps elevate your mood.

Magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in the human body. Depending on where you find your studies 60-80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. No wonder we're sluggish, agitated and stressed!

Raw chocolate is the same reason you've heard that chocolate is good for you... except that the cooked and processed form that you get in your Hershey's bar does not have the same composition as it does when it's raw.

Raw chocolate also contains tryptophan--an essential amino acid--which helps naturally produce serotonin in your body. This is great news for those who need an emotional boost.

You can buy raw chocolate in the shell (it is a bean), but it's easiest if you buy it without.

Since the cacao bean is actually fairly bitter, it is best to mix it with various other superfoods--pumpkin seeds, goji berries--for a super, power-packed, nutrient rich snack that will get you through even the toughest days.

Superfood #2: Goji Berries

Move over carrot.

This little, bright red berry from China is one of the most potent sources of beta-carotene and vitamin C. These are both fantastic antioxidants.

Goji berries also contain 18 amino acids and over 21 minerals which give them a serious power-punch to anyone’s system.

Goji berries help stimulate your body’s natural human growth hormone which is critical in anti-aging and longevity.

You can only get them dried in the US, so don't expect to find them in any produce section. Some health food stores will carry them, but you're best bet is online.

Goji berries are a fantastic snack--eat them just like you would raisins--to add to your superfood arsenal and are a great addition to any herbal tea.

Superfood #3: Maca

Maca is a Peruvian root powder that is used to increase strength and vitality. It has more mineral content than potatoes and carrots--containing iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iodine.

The Peruvians and many others claim, Maca can help fight depression, help with anemia and improve overall memory and vitality.

This powerful food is also a libido stimulant!

Maca powder is best taken mixed with warm water in a tea. Maca has a strong taste and this can be softened with goji berries or honey.

Superfood #4: Raw Honey

I'm not talking about the honey in the little bear. I'm talking real, unprocessed, raw honey.

Raw honey contains enzymes, phytonutrients, resins and propolis--bee glue. This unique combination of properties makes it versatile not only as a food, but as an anti-bacterial agent.

As a food, raw honey can raise antioxidant levels in the body, restore muscle glycogen after a workout and help lower cholesterol and the risk of certain cancers.

As a topical substance, it can decrease infection and work just as well as alcohol solutions.

Use it as a sweetener, put some in your teas or your water, or just have a small spoonful for a quick pick me up.

(Be sure not to heat it to a high temperature. Heat will destroy many of its best qualities.)

Superfood #5: Spirulina

This superfood and next might scare some people off.

Don't compromise your health by not trying these two foods!

The first, spirulina, is an algae that has high vegetable protein content, is high in B-12 vitamins and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

GLA and Vitamin B-12 are connected to mood, memory and general energy vitality. Many people believe that low B-12 levels for long periods of time is actually the cause of "old age" symptoms--fatigue, memory loss, confusion, etc.

Just because it's algae doesn't mean that it's gross! The first time I tried it, I was surprised that it tasted so good.

Buy it in flakes and sprinkle it on your salads, add it to a smoothie, sauces or soups.

Superfood #6: Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are grown in an environment full on minerals that our body needs for optimal health--the ocean.

The ocean water has up to 92 minerals can be absorbed by the plants growing in the sea.

This makes sea vegetables are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Seaweed--compared to land vegetables--is one of the best vegetable sources of calcium, which is fantastic for muscle and bone development, strength and growth.

Don't worry if the idea of eating seaweed grosses you out. Your health food store will have different seaweed granules that you can use as a salt substitute and you’ll never know the difference.

Nori, dulce, and kelp are three of the most readily available sea vegetables.

Superfood #7: Pumpkin Seeds and More...

The raw pumpkin seed, just like the cacao bean, is another feel good food. It is a great source of magnesium and tryptophan. You can find this super-seed right in your backyard if you live in the Northeastern US!

Pumpkin seeds also are great sources of protein, fat and other essential minerals.

Other great seeds are hemp seed, flax seed and raw sunflower seeds. These all contain good fats and good protein for optimal health.

If you’re eating a primarily vegetarian or vegan diet, be sure to add these seeds to your diet to get some good protein. If you’re NOT a vegetarian or vegan, be sure to add these seeds to your diet to get some good protein (not a typo!).

They are great to add to salads as an extra garnish or great as a snack or mixed in with some other superfoods.

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