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What Makes Superfoods Super? By Paul and Ann Malkmus

Fri, Jul. 18, 2014 Posted: 05:20 PM


It seems like everywhere we turn today we see advertising about superfoods,which begs the question, what makes these foods so super? Phytonutrients are what make superfoods the powerhouse of nutrition that supercharges the body preventing and sometimes helping the body recover from sickness and disease. They are non-vitamin, non-mineral components of food that have amazing health benefits. Some facilitate our cells’ ability to communicate with one another. Some have anti-inflammatory abilities. Some help prevent mutations at the cellular level. Some prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.

Three important types of beneficial phytonutrients are polyphenols, carotenoids, and phytoestrogens.

Polyphenols act as antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties, and are anti-allergenic. Some foods that contain polyphenols are tea, nuts, and berries.

Carotenoids are the pigments found in red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, pumpkins, carrots, apricots, mangos, and sweet potatoes. These nutrients function as antioxidants, protect against cancer, and help defy the effects of aging.

Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) are naturally occurring chemicals found particularly in whole wheat, seeds, grains, and some vegetables and fruits. They assist the body in protection from hormone-related cancers such as prostate and breast cancers.

Plant-based foods high in phytonutrients are certainly foods that are above and beyond the norm. But "beyond the norm" doesn't mean a superfood has to be super expensive or super rare.

The draw to super expensive or super rare foods is understandable. With depleted soils, mass production, and so forth, it's hard to find food that has the nutrition it once did. We reach for organic foods hoping that they'll be different. We often put those exotic, hard to find “superfoods” on a pedestal because of their perceived, pristine growing environment, far removed from mass cultivation. While these exotic superfoods certainly provide additional benefits the more common ones shouldn’t be quickly overlooked.

Superfoods are NOT isolates, chemically altered, cooked, highly processed, or a substitute for a well-balanced diet.

Everyday Superfoods

As in the case of mild-mannered Clark Kent, there are everyday superfoods among us that have powers beyond our expectations. Believe it or not, they're in every grocery store's produce section.

Anything dark and leafy is automatically a superfood. Kale is one of the most nutrient ­ dense plants on Earth, and collards are not far behind. Romaine, mustard greens, dandelion greens, broccoli and bokchoy are many of the wonderful superfoods we can easily obtain. Practically speaking, anything leafy green you put in a salad is a superfood.

Here are some other examples:

Vegetables, Spices and Seasonings- Many common foods have time-tested medicinal properties. Certain rhizomes (garlic, ginger, turmeric) have been used for their therapeutic value for centuries. Others like celery seed can be used dried or sprouted. While all of these foods have different superfood characteristics, they act collectively in the areas of antioxidant activity, anti-microbial activity, cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, and inflammatory response. Ginger is also highly regarded as a digestive aid.Celery seed is commonly used as a diuretic and for its calming effect. Turmeric is also used as a digestive aid and to strengthen and cleanse the liver.

Young Grasses – All young grass juices (barley, kamut, oat, rye, spelt, wheat, etc.) are superfoods. They are exceptionally nutrient dense, easy to digest and assimilate, and rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, hormones, essential fatty acids, enzymes, vitamins, and chelated minerals.

Fruit and Berry Seeds - Many fruits and berries can be considered superfoods, but their seeds are even better. Most berries and seeds are relatively low in sugar, a stark contrast to most commercially available fruit. Sprouted berry seeds are ideal for those who must avoid sugar in any form.

Superfood Swindles

In addition to knowing the origin of superfoods and/or ensuring they are organic, it's important to carefully scrutinize any superfood claim on a packaged or processed product. Here are some ways to see through the marketing mud:

Superfoods added to processed foods - If a bona fide superfood has been heavily processed or if it has been cooked or requires cooking in order to be included as part of a product, don't buy the superfood claim!

Other ingredients - Consider the other ingredients in any product that claims to be a superfood. Avoid fillers, chemical preservatives, gelatin, magnesium stearate, and synthetic vitamins.

Supplements -All supplements are not created equally. Always take into account the processing method, origin of ingredients, and labor practices involved in getting the product to market. BarleyMax, for example, is made with certified organic barley, and is harvested, juiced, and dried to a powder in less than a couple of hours using enzyme-preserving processing. It is a true, rare superfood supplement.

"Natural" claims - The word "natural" means nothing. It has no legal definition and can therefore be used freely in product descriptions whether it merits the term or not. Think about it... even cyanide poison comes from nature and could be considered "natural."

The Hallelujah Diet Is A Superfood Diet

Any diet will get a boost if superfoods are incorporated. But maximum benefits occur when superfoods are a daily part of a whole food, plant-based diet like the Hallelujah Diet. With animal source foods and processed foods out of the way, superfoods are given free reign to do exactly what they are intended to do within the body at full capacity.

The Hallelujah Diet's primarily raw, plant­based protocol (including an abundance of vegetable juices) is the best way to provide the body with nutrients and antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals. Free radicals, oxidative stress, oxidation, reactive oxygen species, etc. are all related to the damage inflicted upon cells both externally and internally from normal, moment-to-moment metabolic activity.

Superfood nutrients help each individual cell to function optimally, which leads to health and a very slow aging process as designed by God. Next time you’re in the grocery store consider adding a few superfoods to your basket.

Hallelujah Diet