The term “superfood” has been thrown around recently to describe many edible items that may not necessarily fit the bill. An unfortunate example of this occurred on a well know street where a big yellow bird and disgruntled trash dweller have occasionally been spotted. Yes, sunny day, sweeping the clouds away, on my way to where the air is sweet, can you tell me how to get, how to get to Superfood Street…not exactly. Four new characters have recently moved into apartment B12 on Sesame Street: broccoli, banana, whole wheat hamburger bun, and block of cheese. All of them qualify as food, but two are not particularly super. While Mr. Broccoli, sporting the green afro and bleeding vitamin C, is a legit superfood, and his buddy Mr. Banana is considered a healthy food, Whole Wheat Hamburger Man and Block of Cheese Guy should not have been put on the lease. These two cats need to find their own little efficiency down Unhealthy Lane somewhere.
All jokes aside, there is no legal definition for the term “superfood”. Hence anything can be called a superfood for the sake of marketing and selling products. Yet, common sense and most grandmothers will tell us that a stalk of broccoli will be a healthier choice then a block of cheese. We can also safely assume that most dietitians and nutritional scientists who are not proponents of the superfood label will also not advise their clients to consume gallons of ice cream for its health benefits. It is common sense and knowledge that some foods are better for us then others, and these are usually of the natural, unprocessed, straight from Mama Earth type, as in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Furthermore, a few of these healthy foods possess nutritional properties superior to the rest of the edible world, hence deserving of a superfood status.
Before delving into the particulars of superfoods and their benefits, I would like to reintroduce my favorite kitchen appliance from my previous article on Blendanomics. This, my friends, is the awesome blender, a vehicle to convenient superfood consumption. I find that blending a health shake is the ideal way to take in superfoods, especially since some of them come in powder form. This method also presents the opportunity to consume a wide array and number of superfoods simultaneously.
Sample Superfood Blender Medley
I suggest a nice mix of fruits and vegetables (all of which are healthy foods if not superfoods), as the base of a superfood shake. And their combination should produce something that appeases your palate. Feel free to choose from the following, which are available at your local grocery store or supermarket most of the year:
– Bananas (good source of iron, potassium, and a source of natural energy)
– Kiwi fruit (great source of antioxidants, vitamins C,E, and A, fiber, and potassium)
– Avocados (provides twenty essential nutrients and is excellent for weight control)
– Apples (great source of soluble and insoluble fiber)
– Kale (contains large amounts of vitamin, minerals, and phytonutrients)
– Spinach (excellent source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, etc)
– Carrots (great source of beta carotene and good for the eyes)
– Limes (excellent source of vitamin C, aids with weight loss, and a medicinal food)
– Blueberries (high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants that fight cancer)
– Strawberries (great source of vitamin C, fiber, and folate).
Of these fruits and vegetables, the following are commonly considered superfoods: kiwi, avocado, kale, spinach, blueberries, and limes. Combining them with some of the other healthy fruits and vegetables mentioned above will provide a super base for your superfood shake.
The next healthy and super food options for your creation can also be located in most grocery stores and supermarkets. After thoroughly blending your fruit/vegetable base, you can add the following foods into the blender:
– Organic plain yogurt (great source of probiotics, calcium, and B vitamins)
– Coconut milk (contains lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, also a great source of vitamins and minerals)
– Almond butter (great source of minerals and antioxidants, also good for the heart, may lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, and aid in weight control)
– Turmeric (a medicinal masterfood, has been used for centuries as a healing agent in Indian medicine)
– Cinnamon (a great source of minerals, may lower bad cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and aid in weight loss)
– Oats (excellent source of fiber, known to lower cholesterol, and a good source of protein…will also turn your shake into a meal)
After maneuvering through the second level of healthy and super foods, it’s now time to delve into some top notch additions to your health shake. These superfoods are not common to most of us but have been health staples for centuries in other parts of the world. A few of them may be available at your local supermarket, but the best bet is to find these foods at a Wholefoods or another health food store. And since most of them can be attained in powder form, they are an easy addition to your blender splendor. Without further ado, the next level of superfoods:
– Goji Berries (stimulate the secretion of human growth hormone, contain powerful antioxidants, increases stamina and endurance, enhance libido, protect DNA, and may aid in weight loss).
– Hemp Seeds (contains ideal balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids, is a source of complete protein, and is a great source of trace minerals)
– Chia Seeds (excellent source of energy, keep the body hydrated, easily digestible, and stabilize blood sugar)
– Aloe Vera (is an anti-inflammatory, aids in digestive issues, great source of essential minerals, vitamins, and enzymes)
– Acai Berries (powerful source of antioxidants, protein, and dietary fiber; aid in weight loss, digestion, and energy)
– Spirulina (the highest protein food with the highest concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron, trace minerals, and the essential fatty acid GLA; enhances immune function and RNA)
– Maca Root (provides energy, strength, and endurance, enhances libido, and aids the immune system). It is highly recommended to research maca before usage due to possible side effects.
Now that you have a thorough list of healthy and super foods to choose from, take out your blender, clean it, wipe it down real good, let the creative juices start flowing, and make an incredible super-healthy shake! For anyone feeling a bit overwhelmed with all this, here’s a not-so-basic recipe to get you started:
– 2 small bananas – 1 kiwi – a handful of fresh spinach
– ½ of a Granny Smith apple – ¼ of a lime – a handful of goji berries
– ½ cup of plain yogurt – 1 small carrot – 2 to 3 dashes of turmeric
– 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds – ½ cup of water – 1 teaspoon of maca
– 1 inch piece of aloe leaf – lots of ice!
The above should produce an entire blender-full of awesomeness. If you are not ready to consume all of that or don’t have a friend around who is willing to experiment with you, then make this in the morning, drink half, and refrigerate the rest for later in the day. Ideally, we want to consume the super shakes soon after preparation because they may not refrigerate well. Also, the color of your shake will probably resemble something you may not want to drink. If this becomes an issue, use a colored cup or mug instead of a clear glass. Lastly, the flavor of the above recipe may not be to your liking, and this is fine. Experiment with food combinations that you like to develop a super shake of your own.
At the end of the day, a superfood shake is not going to cure every disease known to man, but there is a good chance that it will make you feel better on a daily basis, providing energy and an overall sense of well-being knowing that you are giving your body a wonderful amount of nutrients. And if you do not feel confident enough to begin creating shakes with double-digit ingredients, make yourself a simple fruit and vegetable smoothie combo and see how that makes you feel. The purpose is to introduce high-quality nutritional foods back into the American diet so that everyone can experience each day at their highest level of health. You are what you eat, thus consuming something called a superfood shake can only lead to one thing: a super consumer!!! Be creative my friends, and enjoy your creations.