Super-Foods contain high concentrations of unique nutrients and provide tonic properties that go well beyond vitamins. Their compounds are anti-inflammatory, enhance detoxification and repair gene mutations that would otherwise lead to cell damage resulting in physical degradation and disease. Think of super-foods as your “boots-on-the-ground” waging a major defense on behalf of our stressed bodies. Consume daily to enjoy their full range of benefits. In the exciting world of food-as-medicine, super-foods provide a variety of phytonutrients that are key players in preventive health, cellular repair and anti-aging. Their activities support detox, immune function, free-radical scavenging (antioxidants), cell repair, and cell death (cancer). They decrease platelet aggregation, provide substrates for hormone production, feed the microbiome, promote positive gene expression, fight viral and bacterial infections, repair mucosal tissue, nourish and protect brain cells. In Chinese medicine super-foods and teas with tonic properties are revered for supporting vitality and optimal wellness of every body system.
Tonics, long revered in Chinese medicine enhance vital force; they are balancing & nourishing. Tonic foods and teas promote normal system function, boosting vitality. They have dual-directional activity, up-regulating or down-regulating functions as needed.
Clients love healing foods presentations. This positive message form of nutrition education pairs perfectly with essential oils.
Recommending delicious foods that supercharge cells is fun to do and will keep them coming back for more!
Some items below are ordinary, but their superior value is unknown. Others can be classified as truly medicinal healing foods – think wolfberries.
This is just a starting point for amazing foods. God has placed healing plants throughout all of creation.
Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. .. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.
As you read through the benefits for each super-food, keep in mind that it’s all about protecting your cells from inflammation and and oxidative stress. Plants with abundant polyphenols provide profound antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Numerous studies have demonstrated that oxidative stress and inflammation are the root cause of most disease. Anytime detoxification, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant or immune support are mentioned, know that this translates into activity that chelates metals, prevents lipid peroxidation, delays or prevents cancer, diabetes, premature aging, joint problems and other chronic degenerative conditions.
Always emphasize consumption of the “rainbow” of food colors.
Even healthy foods can contribute to inflammation. LEAP testing can reveal individual food sensitivities.
The foods below are accessible in many stores or on-line. Many other super-foods exist that are specific to other cultures and geographic regions.
Phytonutrients: This term is used below to include all health promoting compounds found in food, including vitamins, minerals and polyphenols.
Aloe: Receive the full complement of nutrients and lubricating polysaccharides by using the raw inner leaf in a smoothie. Juices: choose 1 made with Aloe Barbadensis – species shown to be superior in healing capabilities. To use fresh aloe: slice off a 2″ piece, trim off thorns, cut in half & use a knife to fillet out the inner gel.
Avocado: Protective of the entire circulatory system delivering all the known benefits of monounsaturated fats. Unique nutrients present in greater concentration in dark flesh near the skin – peel to maximize nutrient intake.
Berries– Berries in general provide 4 times more antioxidants than other fruits. This concentration of bionutrients helps protect the body from heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration.
Berries – Shizandra : Builds core energy & protects the body from the damaging effects of stress.
Berries – Wolfberry/Goji : One of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet: complete protein, 19 amino acids, 21 trace minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, anti-aging constituents, four times higher antioxidants than blueberries. In China’s herbal encyclopedia – classified as a “superior tonic” – a plant to consume regularly to preserve youth and promote general well being. Add to salad, soak overnight & add to smoothie, or simmer for 3 minutes in prepared tea.
Bone Broth: I call it my liquid collagen and recommend always having a batch on hand. Nourish bone health with ALL nutrients needed for healthy bones – marrow, cartilage, collagen, gelatin, glycine, proline, glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid, chrondroitin sulfate, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulphur.
Brazil Nuts: Only common food that is an excellent source of selenium, which is important for detoxifacation and immune support.
Citrus Fruit: Contain compounds that are potent activators of detoxification enzymes. D-Limonene found in the peels has anti-cancer properties.
Cacao: Use the powder, paste or “dark” chocolate with 70% cocoa – preferably the extrodinarily nutrient dense, anti-oxidant rich arriba criollo cacao. Avoid chemically processed Dutch-processed or alkalized.
Cranberries & Pomegranate: Contain unique phytonutrieints that enhance immune system function.
Cruciferous vegetables: Contain sulfur compounds that reduce inflammation, support detox & enhance glutathione production – the master antioxidant. Especially important for FM’s who over-produce estrogen. Protect cells from damage (cell protection = disease prevention). Contains compounds that block growth of cancer cells. Arugula, cabbage, watercress, collard greens,bok choy, turnip greens, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale.
Garlic: Promotes detoxification. Allow to stand for 10 minutes after slicing to enhance development of protective compounds.
Green Leafy Vegetables: Contain numerous foundational phytonutrients essential for bone health, maintaining proper pH balance, and building/maintaining strong bones.
Hemp and Chia Seeds: Hemp – complete protein, omega 3 to omega ,fiber, multiple forms of vitamin E, lecithin, chlorophyll and THC (useful for chronic pain and nausea.) It’s GLA is anti-inflammatory and supports hormone balance.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3’s, fiber, antioxidants and minerals. They slow down carbohydrate absorption when consumed with water.
Mushrooms: High in unique nutrients including immune-enhancing, anti-viral polysaccharides; lipid-lowering and provide anti-cancer cell protection.
Raw Honey: Rich in minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes.
Red Grapes: Promote detox, protect against free-radical damage, reduce inflammation,reduce platelet aggregation to prevent blood clots & strokes.
Rosemary & All Herbs & Spices are potent sources of cell-protective phytonutrients.
Salmon: Good source of omega-3’s which reduce inflammation, joint pain & cancer risk; enhance gut, heart & emotional health.
Sardines: Inexpensive source of omega-3’s
Sea Vegetables/Seaweed: High in minerals, trace minerals, anti-viral polysaccharides, & enzymes. More mineral-rich than any land vegetables.
Sprouts & Microgreens: Rich in nutrients, enzymes, fiber & chlorophyll.
Turmeric: Known as the anti-cancer spice – regresses tumor growth, cuts off blood supply to tumors, inhibits activation of genes that trigger cancer; also emulsifies fat, elevates HDL & inhibits plaque formation, reduces dementia risk along with an extensive list of other health benefits documented in over 4000 clinical trials. Consume with oil and pepper to enhance absorption.
Unfiltered Olive Oil & Olives: Contains up to 50% more phytonutrients than regular (clear) extra virgin.
Walnuts: Considered to be a “superior herb” in traditional Chinese medicine – a designation reserved for tonics with unique properties. They strengthen kidney function: used to strengthen lower back, legs & brain. Enhance creative abilities, strengthen sexual function, increase physical strength and promote longevity.
Yams/Sweet Potatoes: in Chinese medicine regarded as an anti-inflammatory that moistens joints and strengthens GI function.
FERMENTED FOODS AND PREBIOTICS
Fermented vegetable: kimchi, cabbage, carrots, beets, etc
Fermented Beverages: kombucha, kefir (dairy or coconut)
Fermented Soy: tempeh, miso, natto
Prebiotics: A non-digestible fiber that stimulates the growth and activity of the health enhancing microbes in the digestive track. almonds, artichokes, broccoli, endive, jicama, kiwi, orange squash,oats, lentils, raw chicory root, raw dandelion greens, raw garlic, onion, raw leek, raw asparagus, legumes, mushrooms, orange squash, sunchokes, and plantain bananas
There are many teas which provide immune, nourishing and tonic properties.
These are just a few of my favorites, chosen for flavor and composition. I like to make a large pot at night to sip throughout the following day.
Serve tea with 1 drop of lemon oil to enhance flavor and limonene content.
Chamomile: Supports healthy hormone levels by decreasing the conversion of healthy androgen hormones into unhealthy estrogens. Especially protective against reproductive cancers.
Chuchuhuase: Anti-inflammatory, promotes immune and adrenal support. Traditionally used for arthritis of the knee and back.
Green tea:2,500 studies: High in cell protecting anti-oxidants that paralyze free-radicals – (cell-damaging metabolic by-products), enhances calmness, increases focus, decreases blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity, enhances fat metabolism and provides both anti-viral and anti-bacterial immune support.
Green ee Tea: A fast-prep green tea powder that mixes in hot or room temperature water. Made with young organic leaves to capture the wood elemental energy in an extract that maintains the original phytonutrient profile. (Dragon Herbs)
Organic Detox Infusion: A tasty way to support daily detox – an essential practice to protect health in our toxic environment. (Mighty Leaf)
Pau d Arco: Antifungal (candida), antiviral (herpes,flu), inhibits free-radical cell damage (mutations), supports blood sugar balance, increases bone mineralization, and makes a great base for cocao and smoothie beverages.
Reishi Tumeric Ginger DELICIOUS! You can hear your cells thanking you with every sip. Contains ginger, tumeric, licorice, lemongrass, and citrus essential oils high in limonene. Combine with Spring Dragon tea for daily whole-body nourishment. (Rishi)
Rooibose: High antioxidant content
Shizandra Tea: An outstanding super-food made convenient and accessilbe in a powdered tea form. (Dragon Herbs)
Spring Dragon: Made from gynostemma (anti-aging herb known as “magic grass” in China); Infused with 5 superior tonic herbs: luo han guo, schizandra, lycium, astragalus & eleuthero. Double-direction activity – consume in am to get started and drink at night to relax. (Dragon Herbs)
Tulsi Tea: Also called holy basil. High antioxidants and phytonutrient content. Good for respiratory support. Revered throughout India as a sacred herb infused with healing power and is considered to be the “Queen of Herbs.”
BEST IN CLASS
These items represent the more nutrient dense options within their specific food categories.
Bitter Greens: Stinging Nettles, arugula, dandelion greens,mustard greens, watercress, broccoli rabe. Bitterness signals the presence of high calcium content and antioxidants. Our agricultural ancestors removed bitterness from most greens, stripping away phytonutrients. Bitter greens stimulate bile flow enhancing liver detoxification. Bile emulsifies fats, rendering fat-soluble vitamins more available. Dandelion greens have 40x more phytonutrients than iceberg lettuce. Arugula is higher in antioxidants than most dark green lettuce varieties. Osteoporosis is partly due to the diminished nutrients resulting from altering the flavor profile of greens.
Blue corn: Contains unique phytonutrients with very promising research for blocking inflammation and cancer growth, lowering cholesterol & blood sugar, and reducing weight. Yellow corn is completely devoid of this nutrient.
Granny Smith Apples: 13 times more nutrients than most supermarket apples. Look for less common high nutrient variety at farmer’s markets.Granny Smith Apples: 13 times more nutrients than most supermarket apples. Look for less common high nutrient variety at farmer’s markets.
Purple Potato: Triple the antioxidant activity of blueberries. Also look for potatoes with blue or red flesh.
Radicchio and Endive: Anthocyanins (a potent antioxidant showing anti-cancer benefits) are most prevalent in reddish brown and then red lettuce varieties. Endive contains powerful phytonutrients similar to other bitter vegetables. Looseleaf lettuce that has direct sun exposure contains the highest levels of nutrients.
Scallions: 140 times more phytonutrients than common white onions
Shallots: 6 times more phytonutrients than common white onions
Wild Blueberries: Higher levels of phytonutrients than cultivated varieties. Antioxidants are more bioavailable in cooked blueberries.
Wild Salmon and Sardines: High in omega-3’s. Wild salmon is cleaner than farm raised and Atlantic varieties. Sardines are less expensive.
Except for Young Living, I have no affiliation with companies below – just love the products!
Botanical Treasures: A convenient way to receive extracts of 6 potent super-foods – tumeric, green tea, grape skin, rosemary, quercitin, tulsi and ginger.(Natura Health)
Dandy Blend: Gluten-free, dairy-free, caffiene-free extract of dandelion, chicory, beets, barley & rye. A good coffee-substitute, prepared with almond milk and a drop of liquid stevia. (Goosefoot Acres)
Fruit Anthocyanins: Dark berry concentrate processed to only remove water. (Natural Health)
Hot Cocoa: A tasty way to consume anti-oxidant-rich cocoa plus 6 mushrooms including reishi, cordyceps, shiitake, maitake, agaricus blazei, and coriolus – all containing immune-boosting beta-glucans. Also contains maca, inulin ( a pre-biotic) and rice bran. (David Wolfe Foods)
Kombucha: A flavorful fermented tea. (GT’s Gingerade)
Non-Soy Miso: Made with aduki beans, or rice and other grains. (South River Miso)
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread: Cocao nibs with hazelnuts and sweetener – a great substitute for over-sweetened options – especially good (less tart & more creamy) when “stretched” with almond butter, stevia drops and coconut oil. (Rawmio)
Sea Snax: An easy form for the unaccustomed are the sheets of seasoned seaweed that have become more accessible.(Seasnax)
Shizandra Tea: An outstanding super-food made convenient and accesilbe in a powdered tea form (Dragon Herbs)
Sprouted Ground Organic Flax: Richest source of lignans (polyphenols) which may reduce the risk for hormone-related cancers. This convenient source is great for baking or stirring into moist foods. (Sprout Revolution)
Tonic Alchemy: Contains 91 super foods. Combine with unsweetened almond milk and fruit (berries or 1″of banana for creaminess). Or mix with 2-3 of the following: water, ginger kombucha, aloe juice, Ninxia Red Wolfberry Juice. One scoop delivers probiotics (5 billion CFU), sea vegetables, sprouts, mushrooms, super fruits and super vegetables. (Dragon Herbs)
Ningxia Red: Contains wolfberry/goji berry – the most nutrient-rich food in the world, grown in mountain-watered soil + organic plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate extracts. Infused with limonene-containing lemon, orange, yuzu, and tangerine essential oils. The wolfberry, known as a Chinese national treasure, is renowned for its extraodinary antioxidant content. Wolfberries from the Ningxia region are prized by the Chinese Olympic team. Supports energy and normal eye health. I recommend 2 oz/d. (Young Living)
Not Super-Foods, but worth mentioning: Salt & Sweeteners
Salt: Common table salt contains 2 minerals – sodium and chloride.
Sea Salt: The “whole food” version of salt is very nutrient-rich, containing up to 86 trace minerals. Sea salts from Hawaii, Iceland, the Himalayas or Mediterranean regions have a robust flavor and supply critical cell nourishment. Two favorites include Icelandic flake salt and Premier Research Lab’s Pink Salt.
Natural No-Sugar Sweeteners
Monk Fruit/Lao Han Guo: clean tasting, best combined with other sweeteners. Found in Lo Han Sweet (Jarro) or as a blend in Lakanto (Sayara) or as a liquid in Sweetfruit Drops (Dragon Herbs). Lakanto is great for baking and works best when combined with a small amount of brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
Stevia: sweet-tasting leaves from the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni shrub. I like the clean taste of Body Ecology’s liquid stevia which is an organic, sun-dried extract.