Think you know what a superfood is and isn't? Think again.
While foods like Goji berries and kale, which are traditionally punted as superfoods do have some nutritional value, they also have their cons. Goji berries would be classified as a dried fruit and have a high sugar content, while kale when eaten raw on a daily basis (along with other cruciferous veg) may cause thyroid problems. Chia seeds, another "superfood" high in protein and omega-3s and a favourite of smoothie fans, are very close in nature to the humble linseed (flaxseed).
The thing is if something is exotic (eaten by the Incas), imported (from the Amazon or Andes) and expensive (ever appealing to the wealthy and healthy), we the consumer will probably attach value to it. But if you stop and think about it for a second, doesn't it seems a bit ridiculous that the supposed key to all humanities good health has to come from these obscure sources.
Or does it? We've narrowed down a selection of The Real Superfoods, foods that are nutritious, delicious and which don't have to be flown in at great expense on the wings of a condor. You can get them all locally. Read on and lick your lips for a selection of really delicious Real Superfoods.
Packed with Vitamin K2, the stuff responsible for putting your calcium in your bones and not your arteries, butter is an essential food for anyone concerned about their heart, bones, hormones and brain (essentially anyone who wants to live, stand, have sex and think in no particular order of importance) – those who want to do something proactive to avoid cancer. For too long society has been fooled into believing margarine was superior to butter, when in fact there was no K2 present at all. This means if you are not getting grass-fed butter, you are missing out on one of nature's most powerful health-protective foods, containing vital fat-soluble vitamins like K2, A and E. Butter is also a healthy saturated fat which will raise your HDL cholesterol fraction, while also being highly protective.
The fatty acid butyrate is created by special colonic bacteria in our digestive systems which have the ability to help prevent weight gain, and an added bonus is the ability to lower triglycerides and insulin. In addition, butyrate is anti-inflammatory with powerful protective effects on the entire digestive system. A study showed high fat dairy consumption reduced heart disease risk by an enormous 69% due to the presence of K2. It's rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which helps weight loss and research has found that butter even helps to prevent obesity. Butter offers us all we are looking for on a low carbohydrate diet, and it's delicious too.
Another forgotten superfood, liver will provide you with key nutrients like Vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, as well as the minerals copper and iron. These special nutrients all rid the body of ingested toxins. Animals raised on pasture without antibiotics and hormones will be far higher in nutrients than feedlot animals. Liver contains all the B Vitamins, great for stress, and is the best bio-available source for Vitamin A. It's also a fabulous way to combat fatigue. In fact liver is probably our most nutrient-dense superfood. As the richest source of B12, it's a brain food extraordinaire. Liver is even a source of the valued Co-Enzyme Q10 – so important for heart and brain health.
This saturated fat is very different from other saturated fats from animals (which are wonderfully nutrient dense, so please eat them), but the same nutrients are missing from coconut oil. It's a rather distinct oil in that it is a very rich source of lauric acid, capric and caprylic acid – and together these work together to offer us not only antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, but anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties too. It is known to regulate metabolism and assist with weight loss, boosts immunity, aids stress relief, enhances skin, improves cholesterol levels, boosts digestion, betters dental quality and increases bone strength. Coconut oil has also been touted as a relief for high blood pressure, diabetes and some amazing studies into Alzheimer's. It truly is a superfood we can all benefit from.
The health benefits of oily fish revolve around the very powerful and protective omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) – which being very powerful anti-inflammatory agents contribute to healthy brain function, heart protection, and general well-being. These essential fats occur naturally in fatty fish, with the highest being found in salmon. The human body is unable to produce these vital essential fats, so they need to be eaten, and cannot be converted from other forms of omega-3 found in the plant kingdom. Not only oily fish an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids, it is also packed with very important vitamins and minerals such as potassium, selenium and vitamin B12. These are known as protection for high blood pressure, the heart, cancer and brain protection. In the 1970s it was noted that Eskimos in Greenland ate huge amounts of fish and blubber, yet had virtually no heart disease and scientists now propose that these essential fats are protective against a variety of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's, asthma, depression, diabetes, hypertension, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. We would also encourage that everyone ensure they source sustainably fished seafood.
Pasture raised eggs have 19 times higher essential fatty acid levels than ordinary supermarket eggs. This is such an important point if you really want to get the most nutrition out of your eggs. When it comes to eggs, they are known as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet with a complement of Vitamin A, folate, B vitamins, phosphorous, D3, E, K, calcium, zinc and selenium. You'd be hard pressed to find another food so full of goodness. Apart from almost every other nutrient in trace amounts, eggs are rich in choline which builds cell membranes and plays a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain. Most people are way too short on choline, and with eggs being the richest source there is, it makes sense to eat eggs daily.
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