Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Inside SCOOP: Unmasking the Superfoods

Hey fellow health nuts - and health nuts in the making :) - ever feel like you have an idea of what foods are good for you, but then get fuzzy as to WHY they’re so awesome?

I had a moment in the produce section the other day. I just had to have this chocolate & acai berry drink. Then the “superfood” label caught my eye.  Huh! I paused to ponder as acai fiends elbowed around me – Excuse me! – grasping at the bottles.

Paired with cocoa, the fruit juice is a smooth and delicious alternative to chocolate covered nougat… but I wondered why acai was so great as to be called a superfood. Was I just buying into some pervasive food marketing? Should I have just waited for the Bourne Legacy to come out on Netflix instead?

"Coulda had a V8..."

I had questions…. Questions that would have to wait until I was home, and not standing in the middle of a crowded grocery aisle.

In finding the most-balanced, healthy lifestyle for me, I’ve discovered that while I have better idea of what foods are good for me, I could do with a bit more research. I’d like to share with you as I learn more about super foods, and hope you will chime in with your insights too.

 Superfoods are…

Natural foods that are dense in nutrients and low on calories.

High sources of disease-fighting anti-oxidants and essential nutrients

*(for more background on anti-oxidants and how they work, click here)

Five types of superfoods
Green superfoods
Fruit and nut superfoods
Bee superfoods
Seaweed superfoods
Herb superfoods


These luscious greens have the highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, so they’re easy on the eye as well as on the body. 

They’re also most rich in fat-burning compounds, vitamins, and minerals that protect and heal.  Plus, green superfoods contain proteins, and healthy bacteria that help us build healthier muscles and tissues; improve digestive function and fight off disease.

Their coloring comes from chlorophyll, which (you’ll remember from biology class) is what makes plants green.  Studies show that chlorophyll is similar in structure to human blood and that when we eat more of it, we get increased oxygen flow in the bloodstream.

Examples of green superfoods:

Wheat grass: the spouted grass of a wheat seed

Since it’s already sprouted, wheat grass does not contain gluten or other allergens found in whole grain. This superfood lowers acidity and promotes healthy blood. High in enzymes that promote cleansing and weight loss.

Barley Grass
Looks can be deceiving: Barley had 11 x more calcium than cows milk and 5 x more iron than spinach.

Wild blue-green algae

Old school: Algae was the first form of life on Earth! And wild blue-green algae contains almost every nutrient, including a 60% protein content. The phyto-plankton has been shown to rev– up brain function, and bolster the immune system against viruses.


This algae is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth. With 70% complete protein, spirulina dwarfs steak, which is only 25% protein once cooked. Spirulina has also been shown to help control blood sugar levels and food cravings which helps with diabetes and weight loss.


Chorella is high in all the B vitamins, vitamin C and E and many minerals. The algae helps reduce cholesterol and the hardening of arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Green leafy vegetables

These are easier to come by than the other green superfoods: Kale, watercress, parsley, lettuce are as close as the neighborhood food market.

Leafy greens supply proteins, enzymes, vitamins and minerals that improve bodily functions across the board!

Next week, back to acai and the fruit & nut superfoods!

A wheatgrass shot to your continued health!

- C.

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