Let food be thy medicine.Hippocrates
Every person needs it. Every person needs it roughly three times a day — or at least, that’s the convention our culture has come to accept.
It is our source for fuel, and the direct source for human vitality. However, the difference between eating the right foods and the wrong foods can result in long life versus shorter life, disease free life versus countless trips to the doctor & crippling medical expenses (in the U.S. at least), young vibrant skin versus saggy wrinkly skin, and energy versus sluggishness.
Furthermore, the foods you eat have a direct reflection upon your mindset and the way you perceive the world. Doing something good for your body by eating healthy foods makes your brain actually think you are a healthy person. Your brain says to itself, “I must be eating this healthy food because I am a valuable person that deserves to be taken care of.” This drastically improves your mindset and increases your positivity overall, making you a much happier, healthier and more effective person.
So you know you need to be eating healthy, but what’s all this talk about superfoods — and what exactly is a ‘superfood’? A superfood is anything that is extremely nutrient dense, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols.
- Vitamins: necessary for normal body growth, but the human body can only produce 4 of the 13 essential vitamins needed, so they must be obtained through our diet.
- Minerals: necessary for bone growth, making hormones, and regulating autonomic systems in the body; the body cannot naturally create these either, and so they are obtained through a diet.
- Antioxidants: These powerful agents battle the oxygen powered free radicals in your body that are trying to attack your cells.When free radicals successfully damage your cells, it leads to all sorts of disease and disorder; including cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. The body does naturally produce antioxidants, but not at a level that can keep up with the naturally occurring free radicals.
- Polyphenols: are just strong antioxidants that help prevent the free radicals in your body from causing too much damage.
Now that you know what’s in a superfood and why they are necessary to a diet, here’s a list of 8 powerful superfoods that will help you live the healthiest life possible.
If you don’t already have these in your diet, now is the time to add them.
We have briefly discussed matcha as a dietary powerhouse in our article “Why Green Tea Is the Key to Six-Pack Abs, Incredible Sex, and Beating Aging” but it deserves to be talked about at length, due to its incredible array of benefits and lack of drawbacks.
- Reduces the risk of stroke (source)
- Lowers fasting blood sugar
- Lowers cholesterol (source)
- Increases memory and attention via theanine, which increases serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and glycine levels in various areas of the brain, as well as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps new brain cells grow).
- In conjuction with the caffeine found in the tea, theanine has been shown to induce alpha states in the brain, the calm, present-focused awareness necessary for concentration and focus. (source)
- Extremely high in chlorophyll and fiber
- Contains the highest concentration of cancer fighting agents called catechins (specifically, EGCG).
- One cup of matcha = 10 cups of conventionally-brewed green tea.
- Seems to have the effect of reducing belly fat (source)
- Is mostly comprised of medium-chain triglycerides, which help promote “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- Is stable at higher temperatures than olive oil, means it’s safer for cooking or frying at higher temps
- Helps curb hunger
- As a healthy fat, it may help improve brain function
- Be sure to buy virgin, unrefined coconut oil, as bleached and refined oil is not good for you
DARK CHOCOLATE (70 -99%)
- Despite being delicious, dark chocolate has also been shown to be effective at reducing blood pressure (source)
- Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are under intense study for their potential effects at blocking coronary heart disease and stroke. (Flavonols are also found in fruits & vegetables)
- Dark chocolate may also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiplatelet effects. (source)
- Shows protective effects versus Alzheimer’s disease (source)
- Drinking 4 cups per day of coffee was inversely correlated with all-cause mortality (a 16% lower rise) as well as with cardiovascular disease (a 21% lower risk from drinking 3 cups / day) (source)
- Be sure to buy Fair-Trade certified coffee, as it ensures farmers get a fair price and the opportunity to rise out of poverty.
OMEGA-3s (FISH OIL)
- Omega-3s have been shown to be beneficial for cancer patients, although we don’t know exactly why. (source)
- Overall, omega-3s found in fish oil are very important for overall health, including cardiovascular function, nervous system and brain development, and immune health
- Aim to take in 1-3 grams each of EPA and DHA for a total of 3-9 grams daily — be sure to pick a supplement company that doesn’t contribute to overfishing (i.e., that uses bycatch or fishing discards to produce their oil)
- For more: All About Fish Oil at Precision Nutrition
- Has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties
- High in Vitamin C and dietary fiber
- Has the highest amount of cartenoids in the brassica family
- Has a bit of beta-carotene
- Is high in nutrients that are anti-cancer in nature, including small amounts of selenium and diindolylmethane
- Note: the anti-cancer benefit of broccoli is greatly reduced if boiled! (Steaming has no effect on the compounds)
- Contains indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which helps DNA repair in cells and appears to also have anti-cancer effects.
- Per calorie, has twice as much protein as steak
- High in phytochemicals
- The peel, which can be used as an extract, is high in catechins and gallocatechins (like green tea)
- Has been shown to reduce blood pressure in at least one study (source)
- Has punicalagins, which have been shown to have free-radical scavenging properties in laboratory experiments and may be biologically active in humans
- Is under study in 60 clinical trials for effects in everything from prostate cancer to erectile dysfunction.
- A member of the brassica family just like broccoli, and contains cartenoids just as broccoli does
- Very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium
- Also has potent anti-cancer properties due to indole-3-carbinol
- Try in smoothies, omelets, stews, and salads!
Other notable mentions you might consider adding to your diet:
• Bee pollen
• Chia seeds
• Dark Chocolate
• Rice (brown)
• Sweet potatoes
The list goes on, but you get the point. Eating clean, healthy, non-processed food will keep you more energized, mentally clear, looking younger and healthier, and disease free.
Once a month, the body regenerates most of its cells with whatever has been given to it through your diet. You are literally made up of what you eat. You have the choice to become a better you in a month, today.
If you’re looking for a great source of some superfoods and supplements, you can’t do better than Onnit Nutrition – tell them we sent you and get 20% off (referral link).
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