Sunday, September 25, 2011

Superfood Sunday - An Introduction to Superfood

Before I begin to talk about specific superfoods, I would like to start off this week with an introduction to superfood.  What is a superfood?  What does it do for the human body?  And where can I get different types of superfood?

According to many experts on nutrition and health, a superfood is any food that is particularly high in one or more phytonutrients, minerals or vitamins.  The best superfoods are nutritionally packed and help to build the body or protect its immune system.  For example, berries are well-known to have antioxidants like polyphenols, anthocyanins and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).  These antioxidants can protect the body from free radicals, enhance the immune system, and keep the eyes healthy.

As humans began to domesticate plants, crops would begin to weaken over time due to the protection provided from natural elements by humans.  Most of the food we eat today (and feed the animals we eat) falls under this group.  Hence, the nutritional value of many of these foods have diminished, even if grown organically.  Superfoods include food groups that are closer to the wild state and/or grown in mineral-rich soils without the use of pesticides and other poisons.  Examples of these are algae, sea vegetables, wild berries, wild grasses and greens, and some heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Finding out what superfoods work for each of us and consuming them on a regular basis can contribute a lot to a person's health.  Of course, some superfoods (like herbs and concentrated oils) need to be taken in moderation and with consideration.  It is always wise to research any new food you are adding into your diet or consult a qualified health practitioner.  Often, a strong or very bitter taste is a good indication that respect is demanded of this food or medicine.  When choosing to eat food from the wild, make sure that you are 100% sure what you are eating before you indulge.

Buying superfoods can be tricky because a lot of companies promote their products as superfoods, but may add toxic sweeteners, stabilizers, or preservatives to the food.  In addition, a lot of producers of popular superfoods grow their food in poor soils and over process the food with high heat, chemicals or other denaturing methods.  Always check into the integrity of the company and ask them a lot of questions.

As we explore one of more superfoods every Sunday, there will be a lot more to discuss.  I encourage you to try different superfoods and see if they make a difference for you.  They have certainly made a difference in my life.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

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