It’s hard to tell exactly where or when it originated but superfood became a trendy term some years ago. There is no definition of what a superfood really is but at least the European Union knows what it isn’t. EU law prohibits the use of the term “superfood” on any label attached to a food that has not been shown by independent scientific study to have an established medical benefit. So unless a food cures a certain condition, it doesn’t qualify as “superfood” in Europe. If only the internet was ruled by such a clause.
I’ll give my own definition to superfood: A superfood is one that has an extraordinarily high level of nutrients versus caloric intake. One could also argue that a sub-category of superfood would be one that provides a rare but vital nutrient or micronutrient despite any ratio of calories the food may contain.
Conventionally trained “nutritionists,” usually employed by mainstream medical institutions, seem obsessed with caloric intake and ignore the value of natural nutrients. It takes a long time to re-educate those nutritionists because they’ve been brainwashed by the academic structure of universities that are mostly funded by Big Food, Big Pharma and Big Oil research grants. For example, Monsanto gives millions of bucks to University of Nebraska agriculture research. Think for a moment that anyone working there is going to come out against GMOs?
By a matter of plain practicality, because most processed foods are stripped of nutrients, that leaves those kinds of packaged products out of consideration. So one of my over-broad rules of thumb would be, “Unless a food comes in its own skin, leave it on the shelf.” Most superfoods then would be found in the produce aisle. And since winter is a season of scarcity in that regard, it’s fitting that we’ll find many of our superfoods available as we enter the autumn.
Yams or Sweet Potatoes
Look into it and you’ll find that in North America, yams and sweet potatoes are essentially the same food. By either name, they may be the most nutritious food you can eat. They are off the charts with Vitamins A and C, fulfilling 100 percent of the daily need in a good sized one. Trace minerals, antioxidants and fiber, pantothenic acid and Vitamin B6 are abundant in this tuber. The best way to cook them would be baking or steaming to preserve the nutrition. As with all the foods listed here and any others you can think of, research at nutritiondata.self.com will inform.
This stuff is so easy to grow it should be in every yard garden, patio pot or window box. And it pretty much ranks as the Number One superfood of the leafy greens. Of course you don’t have to grow it yourself. It’s easily found at farmers markets and stores and usually at great prices. High in vitamins A, C and K, kale carries loads of anti-cancer anti-oxidants with only 30 calories per cup. Small leaves are great raw in a salad. To prepare larger leaves, rinse and strip the fibrous stalk and cut the leaves into strips. Steam lightly then butter and season. Or sauté lightly in olive oil with crushed garlic.
According to a nutrition rating scale called ANDI developed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, bok choy ranks near the top. ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.” The ANDI score considers many nutrients, including calcium, carotenoids: beta carotene, alpha carotene, lutein, lycopene, fiber, folate, glucosinolates, iron, magnesium, niacin, selenium, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, Zinc, plus ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity,) a method of measuring the antioxidant or radical scavenging capacity of foods. Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is a local crop at area farmers markets and can be prepared in the same manner as kale. One farmer I know suggests basting with orange juice and grilling in a foil pouch.
Good for the heart, the aphorism goes, and it’s true. Low, low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients like protein, vitamins and important minerals, beans are said to lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Avoid the BPA and don’t bother with canned. It’s too easy to buy bulk and do your own from scratch. Check two cups of black beans for pebbles, place in a heavy soup pot then soak overnight in plenty of water. Drain, rinse and cover with about an inch of pure water. Add a bay leaf, cover, simmer and after about 45 minutes, add a couple tablespoons of whole cumin seed. After another 30 minutes, check for tenderness and add a sliced, fresh jalapeno or two, 1.5 tbsp of ground cumin and salt to taste. If tender, they’re done. Most all the water will be cooked in. Refrigerate in a big container and you’ve got lunch for a week. Just serve over rice with chopped tomatoes and avocado and you have a balanced supermeal.
There is no reason to start the day without oatmeal. On the ANDI score, oatmeal is a supergrain. Buy bulk at Whole Foods for about $1.75 per pound and save a bunch. Toss a couple handfuls into a pot, add a small handful of raisins, cover about an inch with water, bring to a boil, simmer a minute or two, bowl it and honey it and breakfast is on. Lower cholesterol and lose weight all at once.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice.
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