What is the deal with the term SUPERFOODS? If you eat them can you leap tall buildings with a single bound?
Or, does your brain have special powers, and you can actually read other people’s minds?
Actually, the definition, per the Oxford dictionary is somewhat wishy-washy:
a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
So what kind of foods does THAT definition entail? If you think that would cover a W I D E variety of foods, I’d say you would be right.
You see, there is NO gold standard of SUPERFOODS. Books, blogs and speeches have been written about SUPERFOODS through the years, yet there is no real consensus of specifics.
I’m going to give you my reasoning for delineating certain foods as “super” and you can decide for yourself. You will note that my list gives you categories of these foods, not just one single food item. I was so inspired after making this list that I made dishes to fit the SUPERFOOD family, thus the SUPERFOOD SERIES that follows. My purpose for this series is that I wanted you to not only realize that food has the power to heal the body and mind but it also can taste absolutely DELICIOUS!
So what is food’s function? Three things:
- Structure- These are foods that are the building blocks for your body. Protein is the main player here. Protein is responsible for building muscle, laying down the building blocks of your bones, skin, hair, nails, even the structure and support of your cells. Fat’s function cushions the organs, making up the cell membranes and comprising about 60% of your brain.
- Energy- Carbohydrates are the chief source of energy for our bodies.
- Information-These are select members of the protein, carbohydrate and fat foods that are so powerful they have the power to impact the expression of your genes, be it a good or a bad choice.
My SUPERFOOD choices have the potential to impact your gene expression in a very positive way if consumed on a regular basis. You see, we are all dealt a genetic hand of cards when we are born. The thinking used to be that we were stuck with that hand, potentially succumbing to the diseases of our parents. That myth has been debunked:
Epigenetics, or “above” or “on top of” your genes is the switch that you have the power to turn on or off based on your lifestyle, i.e. nutrition, movement and recovery (see A Perfect Day in the Game of Life) choices.
Since we are narrowing in on foods here, the scientific term being nutrigenomics, meaning by primarily choosing foods that are nutrient dense, you have the potential to positively “turn on or off” your gene expression for the better, i.e. decreasing the risk of chronic disease.
Here is a list of the SUPERFOOD FAMILIES that I have selected with a brief description of their SUPERFOOD nutritional “powers”, along with a link that gives a more in depth description of the nutritional qualities with matching culinary dishes:
1. SUPERFOOD RECIPES- EPA/DHA (Omega 3 Fatty Acids)-These are cold water fish sources of Omega 3s, i.e. wild caught salmon, sardines and albacore tuna that fight inflammation in the body. Understand that inflammation is the beginning of all chronic diseases like heart disease, Type II diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. They also boost brain power since the brain is about 60% fat and 40% of that fat is DHA.
2. SUPERFOOD RECIPES-Allium Vegetables– Onions, leeks, garlic, green onions, shallots and chives are in this group. They have tumor suppressing, blood pressure lowering, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibiotic properties, just to name a few.
3. SUPERFOOD RECIPES-Cruciferous Vegetables-Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli and swiss chard are members of this clan. This entire family has potent cancer fighting properties. You know it is powerful when it is sold in pill form to combat breast and cervical cancer, i.e. DIM.
4. SUPERFOOD RECIPES-Gut Health Foods-The gut is roughly 40% of our immune system. With the advent of processed foods and antibiotics, our guts have paid the price by losing precious good bacteria to keep us healthy. By consuming foods that bring our gut back to that healthy bacteria balance, we have the potential to prevent digestive diseases. Kimchi is one of those foods. Made of all the top cancer fighters like cabbage and green onions, the fermenting process puts it over the top in qualifying it as a super-duper food!
5. SUPERFOOD RECIPES-Whole Grains and Legumes-Insulin is our master hormone, A/K/A the “hunger hormone.” If we keep our food sources balanced, with not only carbohydrates but protein and fiber, which are available in the whole grains and legumes choices, we keep insulin operating the way nature intended. The effect is to stabilize our sugar loads, reaching satiety quicker, keeping us more alert and significantly decreasing our chances of chronic diseases, i.e. heart disease, cancer and Type II diabetes.
6. SUPERFOOD RECIPES-Sweet Ending With Berries-The berries as a clan possess the highest ORAC of all foods. That is Oxidative Radical Absorbency Capacity. In a nutshell that means the entire family combats our natural rusting process we all go through by living each day with antioxidants that have the power to repair our DNA at the cellular level.
I have a challenge for you. If you are inspired by the message of these SUPERFOODS and try some of the recipes, we would like to post those recipes on this website OR if you have a change or comment to any of these recipes we would also invite you to let us know!
We are all in this together! That is getting the word out that SUPERFOODS are not only good medicine to your body and mind they CAN taste absolutely delightful!