Superfood’s (Part 2)

Coconuts:

Those who know me personally are aware of my love of coconuts. The humble coconut’s origin’s has been suggested by scholars to be in the Philippines. Perhaps it’s an innate connection, given my Filipino heritage, that has gravitated me towards this wondrous plant. Once you look deep into the nutritional and, I believe, medicinal aspects of this much-loved gift from nature, it’s easy to understand why millions of people around the world, including me, embrace it.

When it comes to hydration, coconut water is considered to be one most important sources of electrolytes in the world. Thus making it a ideal nutritional drink when it comes to exercise, activity and effective rehydration after excessive sweating. You can drink it straight or blend it in to a smoothie. It is also one of the purest foods in the world as it takes almost nine months to filter the water as it rises up the coconut palm tree through numerous fibres before settling inside the shell.

Coconut oil is also an extremely popular substance in today’s modern world. Sourced from the mature coconut flesh known as copra, it’s a source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA), which contain factors that can support immune function due to antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. They also have an amazing property of assisting the body to absorb essential fatty acids such as the Omega 3s, well known in Fish Oil but also found in Flaxseed Oil and Chia Seeds. Use coconut oil to cook your favourite fish meal to enhance the absorption of nutritional properties.

Because the oil contains medium chain fatty acids, these are much easier for the body to utilise as an energy source and, therefore, can be used before exercise for a quick boost. As a result, Coconut oil can’t be stored in the body and must be used up on the spot, which is important to assist in firing up your metabolism and may assist in fat loss.

It has a high smoke point, making it the most ideal oil for cooking or barbecuing.

Goji Berries:

Looking like little red sultanas, Goji Berries have a fascinating legacy. Primarily grown in the Ningxia Province within China, it has been long regarded as one of the keys to longevity.

Goji Berries are considered to be a source of complete protein, as they contain 19 different amino acid, 8 of which are the essential amino acids that contribute to muscle growth/maintenance. They also contain an array of trace elements (such as zinc, iron and selenium) along with vitamins such as B2, B6 and E.

Antioxidants are also in abundance within the Goji Berry. You can find the amazing Beta-Carotene within the berry. Beta-Carotene is the precursor to Vitamin A, and is important for areas such as immune support and healthy vision. Speaking of which, two other important antioxidants for vision, lutein and zeaxanthin, are also found in the berry. Both are important for eye health maintenance and evidence has shown that they may also protect the eyes from degenerative eye disorders such as Macular Degeneration and Cataracts.

Evidence has confirmed that Goji Berries contain a substance known as sesquiterpenoids, which have been shown to stimulate specific glands in the body that enable us to produce Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

Immune-supporting Polysaccharides are also found in Goji, making these rather suitable for giving your bodies an immune boost during the upcoming winter period.

With such as array of key nutrients and phytochemicals, it’s easy to see why Goji Berries are considered a superfood. They taste great on their own as a snack, or you can use them as yoghurt toppers or even blended into smoothies.

Chia Seeds:

So who remembers Chia Pets? They were such a phenomenon way back in the early nineties. They were called Chia pets for a reason, and it’s due to the seeds that we now refer to as a superfood, the humble Chia Seed. And due to this, this special seed has transformed from ornamental to culinary when it comes to modern use.

Chia is a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are known to support cardiovascular health and to reduce inflammation. This makes Chia a great addition or alternative to taking Fish Oil capsules, especially those who are vegan.

A great array of minerals are found in Chia such as Calcium. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, approximately 28 grams of Chia Seeds provide 18% of daily calcium needs (around 180mg of Calcium) making it an ideal way of boosting up your body’s daily calcium requirements, along with an ideal way of allowing those who cannot consume dairy products due to allergies or intolerances to increase their calcium intake from a non-dairy source. They also contain small amounts of zinc, potassium, manganese.

In addition to the minerals, you also receive 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fibre in the same 28 gram serving.

The best way to serve up Chia Seeds is to soak them overnight in either almond or coconut milk to make a great tasting Chia Pot. The fibre mentioned earlier is found in the gel-like substance that is created from soaking. You can add berries or nuts to the mix and even top it up with a dollop of Greek Yoghurt for an extra nutritional flavoursome boost. Other ways to consume Chia include sprinkling them on top of yoghurts or blending them into your favourite smoothie.

Victor Tuballa- Naturopath and Herbalist

Victor Tuballa Natural Therapies

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