Monday, January 14, 2013

Deep Dive into Nutrition: The Superfood Catalog

Deep Dive into Nutrition: The Superfood Catalog So now that we know why raw foods are good for our body and mind, it is time to explore the nutritional gamut of the raw food world. When I first got acquainted with these superfoods, I was absolutely flabbergasted by the kind of nutrition Nature has provided us with in the herbs growing in the Peruvian Amazonas to China and the sea vegetables in our oceans, seas, and lakes!

Let's start by talking about 'Superfoods.' Simply put, superfoods are foods with high nutrient or phytochemical content that have huge health benefits. Blueberry (for anthocynanins, vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber, etc.) and fish (for omega-3 fatty acids) are the two most common superfoods from the plant and animal worlds. In the recent years, this term has reduced to a mere (and misleading) marketing tool; but that's a different topic altogether for now...

In the rest of this journal entry, I will be introducing a large variety of superfoods that we can incorporate in our food rather easily to make it nutritionally dense AND delicious. It is worth noting here that these superfoods are in addition to the already well-known nuts, seeds, sprouts, etc. that are typically consumed raw.


Hemp protein powder: Great nutrient profile - 45% protein, 43% fiber, 9% beneficial fats.

Buckwheat groats: High quality protein. Acts as a wheat (gluten sounds familiar?) substitute. Sprout and dehydrate to use as crispies to top salads, soups, sprinkle into wraps, etc.

Brown rice protein powder: Substitute for milk proteins. Somewhat chalky texture.

Spirulina: Microscopic blue-green algae. Tastes like seaweed with strong ocean aroma. High amounts of proteins, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Boosts immune system, aids in digestion, makes body environment alkaline. Available as flake powder and pressed tablets.

Wheatgrass: Complete protein with about 30 enzymes, most vitamins and minerals needed for the human body, increases red blood cells, excellent detoxifying power, and the list continues. Best taken as "shots," though powder form can be used in smoothies (watch out for some nasty flavors - coming straight from my personal experience! =))

Golden berries: Originally from the Incan land. 16% protein, high in phosphorous, excellent source for vitamin A, C, B Complex, and bioflavonoids. Sweet and tart, enjoy as any berry or raisins in trail mix, cereals, cookies, salads.


Matcha: Finely milled green tea packed with antioxidants - reported to boost metabolism, enhance mood, lower cholesterol, help balance blood sugar. Easy add to smoothies for anti-aging. In fact, half a teaspoon of matcha is an essential ingredient in my green smoothies every morning.

Goji berries: Comes from a shrub native to China. Increases longevity, has antioxidants and vitamins for brain health, prevents Alzheimer's. I personally love the flavor these berries add!

Alfalfa grass juice powder: Potential source of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat poor digestion, arthritis, kidney stones, other digestive issues. Sweet mild flavor. Super alkalizing. Use in smoothies and shakes to boost immune system.


Chlorella: Fresh water algae. Believed to boost immunity, help detox heavy metals, eliminate constipation, and body odor. Contains mostly protein, vitamins (E, B, C), and minerals (zinc, iron). Snack on tablets. Tastes like seaweed and green tea.

Maca: Peruvian superfood that rebuilds weak immune system and re-mineralizes poorly nourished bodies. Awesome source for increasing energy and building endurance.

Omega 3s

Hemp Oil: 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, rich in amino-acids and vitamin E, helps in hair and nail growth, anti-inflammatory.

Sacha Inchi: Peruvian plant that grows small nuts rich in oil that is cholesterol free and Omega 3 rich. Tasty source of vitamin A/E. High in protein, rich in nonessential amino acids, strong nutty flavor similar to hemp oil. Can be used as any oil in dressings, sauces, soups. Use sparingly due to strong flavor.

Fat Blast

Coconut oil: It has special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that can break down health fats leading to burning of energy. Also increases HDL and resistance to infection causing viruses and bacteria. It was quite a surprise for me to see coconut oil being abundantly used in detox plans. Stay tuned for a post on detoxing.

Cacao nibs and powder: Yes, chocolate, in its purest form, is a great aid to weight-loss. It has certain enzyme inhibitors that dimish appetite too. Also a great source of sulphur and manganese.

Sea vegetables

Nori, kelp, hijiki, wakame, kombu, dulse: One of the best sources of iodine, health-promoting vitamin K and folate. Nori has also been known to assist in weight-loss. In general, these see vegetables decrease inflammation, decrease LDL, anti-coagulate the blood, help fight cancers, and the thyroid in hormone balance.


Flax oil: Low in cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting, etc.

Sesame oil: Helps in diabetes and lowers high blood pressure. Also known to assist in multiple sclerosis and cancer.

30 times for Vitamin C than oranges and lemons?

Camu Camu: Plant growing along the rivers and lakes of Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela. 30 times more vitamin C than oranges and lemons. It's a Dry pink powder - add to juices and smoothies for fruity, semi-sweet, acidic flavor.
22 times more iron that spinach?!

Barley grass juice powder: 22 times more iron than spinach, calcium, protein. Everything from aging to weight-loss, mild sweet flavor for smoothies, shake.

"Ani's 15-Day Fat Blast" by Ani Phyo
Countless other material that I read in last several months...

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