Benefits of Superfoods and Adaptogens For My Health
Some of the most important ingredients I try to incorporate in supporting my health is the use of superfoods. Superfoods are the foods that are the most nutritious while being the lowest in calories. In order to get all the superfoods that I want incorporated weekly, I make different beverages such as smoothies. I love to consider my smoothies as tonics or elixirs as well, a magic potion I conjure up with different superfoods that I know will give me what I need in a quick and easy fashion and that tastes delicious. David Wolfe, a well known nutrition expert, and one who is a big proponent of incorporating superfoods in your diet, encourages you to put as many of these foods as you can fit into your drinks. David Wolfe has described superfoods as “the most potent, concentrated and nutrient rich foods on the planet”. Some of the ingredients I will share with you are known as adaptogens. Adaptogens are plants and herbs that have been known to strengthen the effects of the immune system, help sleep, slow aging process, promote radiant skin and hair, boost energy, increase muscle mass, lessen anxiety, and so much more. Just knowing that I have ingested these foods in my diet provides me with that feeling of overall wellbeing not only because it affects the “feel good” chemicals in my brain but also because it is evidence that I am taking good care of myself. Below I am going to share with you my favorite superfoods and what they are good for.
Note: You should always be careful when incorporating anything new into your diet as you do not know how it will affect you. Remember to always start with a low dose and talk to your doctor when making any major changes in what you are eating.
Ashwagandha: This powder, derived from a medicinal root, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. It helps with vitality, energy and helps support the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body. It is known to stimulate the thyroid gland. It has the ability to relax you but at the same time give you energy.
Cacao: Most people know this as cocoa in its processed form. It is considered one of the highest antioxidant foods known to man. There are so many benefits of cacao such as boosting energy, good for cardiovascular health, building strong bones, supports the libido, and contains feel good components supporting mood. It is a good source of magnesium and iron.
Flaxseed: Most beneficial in ground form. Provide Omega 3 Fatty Acids that help with brain function and lower cholesterol levels. It may help reduce the forming of blood clots. May help reduce the risk of some cancers. Also great source of soluble fiber which helps reduce glycemic levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
Goji Berries: Also known as wolfberries , they have been a staple in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. They have all amino acids including 8 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and they help regulate hormones and synthesize neurotransmitters. These berries are full of nutrients including vitamins E, C and B. They have high amounts of antioxidants to help balance the body as well as contain trace minerals. They support eye health, vitality and beauty as well as provide energy.
He Shou Wu: This root was known for restoring youth. It was first discovered when it restored a man’s black hair from gray. It is known for it’s beautifying properties and stimulating the body to produce anti aging antioxidants. It supports the liver and gallbladder.
Maca: A root that originates in Peru, where it was eaten by the Incan warriors before battle for vitality and strength. It contains 20 amino acids as well as 7 essential amino acids. It is a mood enhancer as well as provides energy. Maca is known for it’s positive effects on libido as well as a hormone supporter for women going through menopause.
Moringa: This is one of the newest additions to my smoothies. It contains a substantial amount of protein and supports anxiety, digestion and may even lower cholesterol. There is evidence that it may even help control blood sugar levels for those who have type 2 diabetes.. You will also see evidence of a more youthful appearance because of the amount of vitamins A and E it contains.
Mushrooms (medicinal): There are many different types of mushrooms that have strong evidence supporting their health benefits and have been used for thousands of years. They are being heavily research for their cancer fighting properties by supporting the immune system as well as minimizing side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Turkey Tail, Reishi, Chaga and Lion’s Mane are some of the top cancer fighting types of mushrooms. The Reishi mushroom is one of the most popular and has many benefits that support wellness in the body and mind. It supports the immune system, detoxifies, supports hormones, helps with sleep, supports cardiovascular and neurological systems and helps with seasonal allergies just to name a few.
Pearl: I bought this adaptogen recently after reading some pretty interesting information on the benefits. Pearl powder is made up of grounded fresh water pearls. It is known for its beauty benefits because of it stimulating collagen production. It has a substantial amount of calcium which supports nail, hair and cell regeneration. It is also known as a detoxification agent and as a relaxant.
Spirilina or Blue Green Algae: Removes toxins from the blood, boosts immunity and reduces inflammation. It is full of nutrients and antioxidants. It also may have anticancer properties as well as improves muscle strength and endurance. It has shown to reduce blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
As I type I am realizing how excited I am to make my smoothie of the day! I also add blueberries, greens and protein powder to which provides me with even more building blocks my body needs to stay strong. I really look forward to making my drinks on a regular basis. It is easier then cooking, can be eaten anytime of the day and it is something I love sharing with my family and friends.
Wyks, Katrine Van (2019): Super Powders: Adaptogenic Herbs and Mushrooms for Energy, Beauty, Mood, and Wellbeing;, The Countryman Press