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If optimal health is your goal, there’s no getting around your diet. Your physical health is a direct reflection of what you put into your body, and how you live your life in general. Pre-packaged processed foods may be convenient, but cooking from scratch using fresh unprocessed ingredients is an absolute must if you want to improve your health.
The term “superfood” has become something of a marketing buzzword in recent years, and many processed food products will boast such ingredients. But don’t be fooled. Processing tends to denature nutrients, so what you end up with is typically a far inferior version compared to the real thing.
Your best bet is to simply stick with the originals, meaning whole organic foods.
Below is a list of our top ten best superfoods—whole foods that offer a wide range of essential nutrients that can easily be integrated into a balanced diet. Aim to incorporate as many of these foods into your diet on a daily or weekly basis, and you’ll be off to a great start. Keep in mind that all of the foods on this list should be organic or wild.
1. Organic Pastured Eggs
Free-range or “pastured” eggs are a relatively inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in, especially high-quality protein and fat. A single egg contains:
- Nine essential amino acids
- One of the highest quality proteins you can find. Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones
- Lutein and zeaxanthin (for your eyes)
- Choline for your brain, nervous- and cardiovascular systems
- Naturally occurring B12
Kale is an inexpensive cruciferous vegetable that can help ease lung congestion, and is beneficial to your stomach, liver, and immune system. It’s an excellent source of multiple vitamins and other nutrients,
3. Raw Grass-Fed Organic Kefir or Yoghurt
Adding kefir or yoghurt made from grass-fed raw milk is an excellent way to boost your immunity and increase your daily energy. Kefir is a traditionally fermented food that is packed full of healthy bacteria (probiotics). In ancient times, food preservation was accomplished through lacto-fermentation, a process that adds a host of beneficial micro-organisms to food. This makes them easier to digest, and increases the healthy flora in your intestinal tract. The bacteria that make the kefir or yogurt consume most of the lactose in milk, which can be a problem for someone with insulin resistance.
The importance of maintaining healthy balanced gut flora simply cannot be overstated. Far from simply helping your body to better digest and assimilate your food (which they do very well), probiotics influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner. Friendly bacteria also train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately. This important function prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is the genesis of allergies. Probiotics can even help to normalize your weight, and lack of beneficial bacteria in your gut may play a significant role in the development of type 2 diabetes, depression and other mood disorders. Please beware that pasteurized products will NOT provide you with these health benefits, as the pasteurization process destroys most of the precious enzymes and other nutrients.
4. Wild Alaskan Salmon
Virtually all fish these days contains dangerously high levels of mercury and other toxic contaminants. If it wasn’t for the health risks posed by this contamination, fish in general would be among our absolute most recommended foods for their outstanding nutritional benefits, including high levels of omega-3 with DHA and EPA, which most people are desperately lacking in their diets.
However, there are still some exceptions, and wild Alaskan salmon is one of them. Wild Alaskan salmon one or two times a week as it is an excellent source of:
- Essential animal-based omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA)
- Astaxanthin and other antioxidants
- High-quality protein
Avocados are an excellent source of healthy raw fat, which most people are very deficient in. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including:
- Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
In addition, avocados enable your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein, in other foods eaten in conjunction.
6. Organic Coconut Oil
Half of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid—a fat rarely found in nature—that could easily qualify as a “miracle” ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Your body sends medium-chain fatty acids directly to your liver to use as energy. This makes coconut oil a powerful source of instant energy to your body, a function usually served in the diet by simple carbohydrates. Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil also increases the activity of your thyroid. And you’ve probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do.
Coconut oil is the ideal choice for all types of cooking. In fact, it’s the only oil stable enough to resist mild heat-induced damage. So, whenever you need an oil to cook or bake with, use coconut oil instead of butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, or any other type of oil called for in recipes. Even though we don’t fully recommend frying foods, if you must fry, by all means use coconut oil — it’s your smartest choice.
7. Green Vegetable Juice
Juicing your vegetables is a great way to make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of veggies in your diet. Raw vegetable juice teems with valuable and sensitive micronutrients that become damaged or destroyed when the juice is pasteurized, so avoid the store-bought versions and juice your own instead. Raw juice can be likened to a “living broth.” It is almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that go straight into your system without having to be broken down.
The benefits of raw organic vegetable juice are numerous. For example, it can help:
- Promote weight loss
- Boost your immune system by supercharging it with concentrated phytochemicals.
- Increase energy. When your body has an abundance of the nutrients it needs, and your pH is optimally balanced, you feel energized. Since it can be utilized by your body immediately, those who juice report feeling the “kick” of energy almost instantly.
- Support brain health. People who drank juices (fruit and vegetable) more than three times per week, compared to less than once a week, were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Kame Project.
Hidden within the juicy, deep blue-purple flesh of this tasty fruit is cancer-fighting ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has been proven in laboratory research to slow the growth of some cancerous tumours. Blueberry extracts have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and help prevent infectious bacteria from clinging to the walls of the gut, bladder and urethra.
10. Goji berries
They’ve been called the most nutritionally dense food on Earth, and they taste something like salty raisins. Lycium barbarum, commonly known as goji berries, contain more vitamin C than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than steak. The dried Himalayan fruit is also a great source of B vitamins and antioxidants and contains 15 amino acids. Goji has been used medicinally in China for centuries to improve blood circulation, strengthen the limbs, improve eyesight, protect the liver, increase libido and boost immune function.
What Are Your Recommendations?
We have given you our picks for the top superfoods, and the ones we consume most of the time. Let’s hear from you! Share your own top picks. The comment section is a great place to learn from each other.