My Top 10 Superfoods - Part 2

As I said before, there are so many to choose from, but this selection is right up there with my favourites to support your body. They can help to keep your energy high, protect you from serious disease and keep you looking radiant and young. What’s not to love!

As well as eating a healthy, plant-based diet, adding a few of these wonder powders into your daily regime is certainly going to enhance your life!

Check these out...

6. Gogi berries

These little red delights are so good for so many things!

First, they help protect against age-related eye diseases because they contain high levels of healthy antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin. The same antioxidants can also stop damage from UV light, free radical and oxidative stress.

Studies have shown that when members of our older generation drink goji berry juice for 90 days, their antioxidant levels significantly improve, creating better vision and protection of the retina from the ganglion cells responsible for glaucoma, a condition that can lead to vision loss.

Goji berries contain so many healthy antioxidants – which are well known for their immune-boosting qualities and their ability to fight harmful free radicals and inflammation.

In addition, they contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, which are vital for building immunity and preventing illnesses, ranging from the common cold to flu. High levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, are responsible for fighting cancer cells. They really help to protect us. Antioxidants slow tumour growth, reduce inflammation, and help to remove harmful substances from the body.

Goji berries are also ridiculously good for our complexation, as they contain beta carotene, which is an essential plant phytochemical well known for its ability to promote healthy skin. Because of this, it is used in many skin creams to improve skin health, reduce skin irritation, manage the effects of the sun and manage the impact of aging.

Gogis are also helpful in controlling the release of sugar into the blood as they balance insulin and glucose levels. But my favourite fact about these red berries is that, when consumed regularly, in powder or the dried berries, they can help improve depression, anxiety and sleep, and increase the ability to focus and feel calm.

Goji berries are often called a superfood because they contain chemical compounds called phytochemicals that are produced by plants. Plus, they are a fantastic source of dietary fibre. It’s the Beta-carotene that is responsible for the orange-red colour pigment in goji berries and this is amongst the highest of all edible plants.

They are available fresh, dried, or powdered and, although often expensive, the health benefits are surely worth the cost.

7. Turmeric

Like many spices, turmeric has a long history of use in traditional medicine.

This amazing spice is primarily cultivated from roots of a flowering plant in India and other parts of South East Asia, and apart from giving curry its vibrant yellow colour, Turmeric is also known for having potent anti-inflammatory and antioxident properties.

The primary active component of Turmeric, and the one that gives the spice its characteristic yellow colour, is curcumin. This is the compound responsible for most of Turmeric’s potential health benefits, such as, slowing the aging process and preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression.

So, how does this work?

By increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein found in the brain and spinal cord, that plays a key role in keeping nerve cells healthy, as well as regulating communication between nerve cells, which is critical for learning and memory.

One of Turmeric’s main "claims to fame" is that it’s commonly used to fight inflammation, and the bulk of turmeric’s inflammation-fighting powers can be credited to curcumin. In fact, in the right dose, curcumin may be a more effective anti-inflammatory treatment than common inflammation-fighting medications. As chronic inflammation contributes to many chronic diseases, curcumin may help treat conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis.

Why is it good to mix turmeric with black pepper? Black pepper is a potent spice in its own right. This popular, pungent ingredient is made of ground (or whole) peppercorns, which are the small, dried, unripe fruits of the black pepper plant. In addition to flavouring food, it’s commonly used as a medicinal agent, a preservative, and in perfumes.

One thing you can do to enhance how your body absorbs Turmeric is add black pepper to the mix, and like turmeric, black pepper contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it potentially helpful for managing inflammatory conditions and reducing free-radical damage. Piperine, the main active ingredient in pepper, helps reduce inflammation associated with chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis and gastritis. Mixed together these spices boost a powerful health protecting punch!

8. Maca

One of my all-time favourites for strength boosting and hormone balancing! This plant-based superfood is hard not to love. Not only can Maca contribute to overall well-being, it can balance hormone levels, boost energy, and support a healthy libido. This versatile herb helps the body adapt and deal with different stressors so you can live a well-balanced life and it's safe and easy to add into your everyday routine.

What is Maca?

Maca, is an indigenous Andean vegetable that has been grown and cultivated as a root crop for at least 2,000 years. Used both nutritionally and medicinally, Maca grows wild in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, but has primarily been cultivated in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes. Even though Maca has become quite popular in the last decade, deservedly so, it has been used as an important food since the days of the Inca warriors in Peru. Maca looks similar to radishes or turnips and the roots can be various colours such as yellow, purple, or black.

Maca has been shown to provide sustained energy throughout the day without the jittery crash of caffeine, plus it can help you feel more awake and energized so you're able to appreciate each moment and focus on the things that matter. By maintaining positive energy levels throughout the day, Maca may also help improve mood.

It’s also known as a prized aphrodisiac, and supports male and female health and optimizes sexual performance and fertility. Maca has been studied clinically to support a balanced transition through menopause, and it does so without particularly influencing sex hormone levels as it tonifies the female reproductive system and helps to balance hormones by nourishing and stimulating the adrenal glands. As it’s an adaptogenic herb, Maca supports normal hormone production and supports the body's natural liver detoxification, which in turn supports hormonal issues, including PMS, menopause and hot flashes.

Maca Root is a nutritional powerhouse, providing key macro and micronutrients, and unique plant compounds to support an active human body. It’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, copper, zinc, calcium, and iron. It contains all eight essential amino acids and plenty of phytonutrients making this a fabulous enhancement to your daily routine.

9. Spirulina

Spirulina is known as a nutrient-dense food as it is packed full of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E and B, as well as a whole host of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. In particular, vitamin C and selenium are both antioxidants and help protect our cells and tissues from damage. Spirulina is a blue-green algae and has been used for centuries as a food source in other countries and can grow in extreme conditions inhospitable to most other water-dwelling organisms. It's generally cultivated in manmade or natural lakes, harvested, and freeze-dried. Spirulina boasts a 60% protein content, which makes it a richer source of protein than most vegetables and it's also a good source of beta-carotene, various minerals and essential fatty acids.

It is such a powerful superfood that including this in your daily regime may help to prevent many common ailments such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, depression, viral hepatitis, and under nourishment. It also helps to boost the immune system and improve kidney and liver function. This is one of the best maintenance superfoods you can have as it offers such a wide range of goodness!

10. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used as a medicine in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Known for its benefits linked to digestion and gastrointestinal complaints, cinnamon has long been used as a home remedy for heartburn, indigestion, and nausea.

Cinnamon contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it such a great addition to your diet. Plus, it's great as an appetite suppressant to those with a sugar addiction, thanks to its naturally sweet taste.

Cinnamon has been proven to fight fungal, bacterial and viral elements in foods, so it’s no surprise that in the Middle Ages, when food spoilage was far more frequent due to lack of refrigeration, many recipes, both sweet and savoury, were flavoured with this spice. Its antiviral properties make it powerful in treating anything from lung problems to the common cold by helping clear up mucus and encouraging circulation.

Many studies have also indicated that it may help fight or manage HIV by preventing the virus from entering cells.

Candida is also a massive problem with many clients that I see. This can cause all sorts of havoc in the body plus, create even more sweet cravings, fatigue and brain fog. Cinnamon's anti-microbial properties extend to fungi, therefore rendering it a promising treatment for candida.

Cinnamon has been shown to have positive benefits on both lung cancer and stomach cancer by reducing both systemic and specific inflammation in the body. It’s the systemic inflammation that is a prominent problem and has led to the rise in chronic disease.

Specific inflammation reduction means that consumption of cinnamon could help treat certain types of pain and headaches, as well as arthritic pain. It plays a double role in this particular type of pain, as it helps stimulate and push circulation to the joints.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is also a common problem with numerous symptoms that need to be managed, and cinnamon may be a key element of this management due to a number of characteristics. It also helps slow heavy menstrual bleeding associated with common conditions of female health, such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

Your challenge…

I hope you can now see how such natural herbs, spices and superfoods can truly help us with a variety of ailments.

When it comes to health, prevention is always far better than cure.

Don’t forget the challenge from last week and that is to include at least two new superfoods into your diet to help keep you on the right health enhancing track.

Enjoy your newfound energy!