The term “Superfood” is often misused, over-used or even misunderstood by many people. But generally most experts do agree that there are certain foods that are low caloric / high nutrient foods.
Superfoods typically contain superior sources of anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and other essential life giving nutrients that other foods do not.
Superfoods can be found in various forms and locations. Unfortunately, most cannot be found in your local grocery stores or even farmers markets.
In the next few postings we will be discovering what superfoods are the best and which we choose to use.
In this first post we will be discussing what we call the daily basics. These superfoods or supplements are not normally considered superfoods but with them you will feel super!
The Daily Basics
Enzymes – Many nutrition experts call enzymes the ―spark‖ of life because they play a necessary role in virtually all of the biochemical activities that occur in the body. They are essential for digesting food, for metabolizing nutrients, for stimulating the brain, for providing cellular energy and for repairing tissues, organs and cells.
The functions of enzymes are so many and so diverse that it would be impossible to list all. But the easiest designation is that enzymes are often divided into two main groups: digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes.
Digestive enzymes will be the focus for this discussion.
Digestive enzymes breakdown the foods you eat. They metabolize the nutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals enabling them so they can be absorbed into the bloodstream for use in multiple bodily functions.
While the body does manufacture a supply of enzymes, it can and does also obtain enzymes from the fruits and vegetables you eat. Unfortunately enzymes are sensitive to heat and most will denature at temperatures between 102 and 115 degrees. Therefore, maintaining a temperature at or below 100 degrees, or consuming raw foods yields the highest and most benefit from the enzymes.
Taking enzyme supplements before every cooked meal will greatly improve your nutritional absorption rate of cooked foods. And taking enzymes after a raw meal will greatly improve your absorption rate of living foods.
For the best benefit, any enzyme supplements you chose should contain all of the major enzyme groups to include amylase, protease and lipase.
For even better digestion also use the following items on an as-needed basis: apple cider vinegar, HCl pills to quickly strengthen weak stomach acid, Celtic sea salt and at night take probiotics.
Probiotics – In a healthy state, the body has a higher concentration of good bacteria than bad, or disease-causing, bacteria.
But most of us do not live in a healthy state. Instead the human body has become full of bacteria-destroying elements called antibiotics. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria alike. These nasty little things are in many of the foods you eat; milk, fish, meat and anything else that big farms raised. Animals that are raised in crowded conditions and live in close proximity to each other, contract and share diseases with each other. To combat sickness, farmers administer massive amounts of antibiotics to livestock. When meat or milk products are consumed, these antibiotics persist and are transferred to you. These antibiotics deplete your bacteria levels and drain your immune system leaving you vulnerable to infection.
Research on probiotics is fascinating. In short, probiotics are the best line of defense your body has to defend itself from infection. Most people do not realize it but the ―gut‖ carries as much as 70% of your immune system. And in your gut sits millions if not billions of bacteria. These bacteria keep us healthy and aid in many other functions. Probiotics are good bacteria and should remain in high levels in your gut. I recommend consuming natural and supplemental probiotics on a daily basis!
Good bacteria can be obtained through two sources. The first is direct from the Earth. As children, we play in the dirt and bacteria invades the body. Yes, some of the bacteria sources are harmful but much of the soil based bacteria is beneficial. But in this clean world of antiviral soaps and cleaners and most of us no longer working outdoors I fear we have lost touch with nature. This departure from nature, coupled with the bacteria killing cleaners moves us farther and farther away from good bacteria and good health.
The second way to obtain good bacteria is to purchase probiotic supplements. There are many on the market. Look for the highest probiotic count possible when purchasing these supplements. Probiotics that utilize ―soil based organisms‖ are better and stronger.
I suggest you ingest ample amounts of probiotics every day and go outside every now and again and walk barefoot through the dirt and grass (watch out for the dog poo). You will be much happier and healthier for it.
Essential Fatty Acids – All fats are not created equally. PERIOD.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are fats that the body cannot produce on its own and are available through one of two sources: 1) Plant sources like Flax, Borage, Primrose, Hemp, Chia and other plants. 2) Fish, specifically deep sea fish like mackerel, salmon and krill.
EFAs remain liquid at room temp and stay liquid in your body. EFA’s help tremendously with many bodily functions such as, but certainly not limited to, hair growth, digestion, cell repair, cell detoxing, skin repair and growth, proper brain functions, stabilizing blood sugar levels, keeping proper HDL/LDL levels in balance and much more!
The primary function of essential fats is to coat and protect your cell walls. Your cell walls are susceptible to damage without this protective barrier.
I recommend that you put a little research into this subject and you will be the better for it. I highlight a few other facts about EFA’s later in the book but please note that this is yet another substance the body requires daily.
Green leafy vegetables – Green leafy vegetables are the rock stars of the plant kingdom. They are highly nutritious and readily available. But if you are American then you probably do not eat enough of them.
Fresh, raw, green, leafy vegetables contain high doses of chlorophyll, easily digestible proteins, enzymes and a wide range of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. These particular vegetables also act as a health tonic for the brain and immune system and a cleanser of the kidneys.
Leafy greens are denser in nutrients than other vegetables and contain awesome amounts of calcium.
Leafy greens should definitely be a large part of your daily diet!