September 21, 2017
This list of Top 10 Sacred Superfoods was first published in my book ‘Reclaim Your Health’. For a limited time, you can download a FREE PDF copy of the entire 100+ page book HERE.
In this article you will learn:
This list is different to the usual random list of superfoods that you’ve seen on the internet. Firstly, these are no ‘Johny-come-lately’s’; these superfoods have all been revered in ancient cultures …and handed down through the generations for thousands of years. If thousands of years of evidence-based wisdom isn’t enough, they have also been validated by research to have particular unique and beneficial properties!
Secondly, they have been carefully selected to cover all the most important common deficiencies including vitamin-C, vitamin-D, vitamin-K2, vitamin-B12, vitamin-E, vitamin-A, omega-3, magnesium, iodine, calcium, iron, and choline, as well as other bioactive compounds that are thought to have powerful optimal-aging properties, such as the growth factor IGF-1, immunoglobulins, essential amino acids, polypeptides, glycosaminoglycans, coenzymes, polysaccharides and many more.
In a perfect world, a good varied diet of whole food including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables would provide all the nutrients our bodies need, and we wouldn’t need any additional vitamins or supplements of any kind.
Unfortunately, because of soil nutrient depletion, genetic modification, pesticides and herbicides ...and the subsequent packaging, processing and transportation over long distances, by the time most of the fruit and vegetables we buy hits our plates, much of the nutritional value has been lost. Consequently it’s not possible to get all the nutrients our bodies need just from our diet.
For those eating an unhealthy diet consisting mainly of processed foods, things are even worse. The artificial flavoring, coloring, preservatives, refined starch, sugar, vegetable oils, and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) in processed foods can cause severe nutritional imbalances, slowly stripping the body's reserves of vital minerals and other nutrients over time.
According to the US Department of Agriculture:
Many people turn to artificial vitamin and mineral supplements, but for the reasons I cover in my book Reclaim Your Health, these synthetic isolated chemicals should be avoided, as they can’t be utilized by the body in the same way as the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals found in whole foods, and some are even toxic to the body - even in relatively small amounts.
Fortunately, there is a safe and natural solution to this nutritional quandary! The following superfoods have been empirically validated over thousands of years to provide a safe, effective and natural nutritional safety net, preventing the most common deficiencies and/or imbalances. Today, these deficiencies are the major causes of chronic systemic low grade inflammation, insulin resistance, and the resultant degenerative disease and accelerated aging afflicting so many.
Prior to the emergence of the ‘modern’ Western diet, the healthiest ancestral cultures all recognised and sought out particular nutrient-dense foods with high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds. As well as being prized for general health, strength and vitality, it was also common practice for such superfoods to be given to newlyweds, pregnant mothers, babies, and growing children, specifically to ensure the health of future generations.
Some of these superfoods have only been ‘discovered’ in the West relatively recently, while others were widely used for their health-giving properties in our great-grandparents’ day, but have since have fallen out of favor in a culture that relies on the treatment of individual symptoms with drugs, rather than correcting the underlying imbalances that lead to illness through a nourishing diet.
Incorporating a mix of these very special superfoods into your diet is a very powerful strategy to help ensure your body is getting an adequate supply of all the nutrients it needs for vibrant health and optimal aging …and a life free of prescription medications.
Few people in the US and other Western countries have even heard of Deer antler velvet (DAV), but it is a sacred food that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for over 2,000 years - held in the same regard as Ginseng and Reishii mushroom. In the West it is being increasingly embraced by people seeking alternative natural health care choices that go beyond the mainstream Western medical approach.
Deer antler velvet is an adaptogen - a unique class of natural substances that work by helping to modulate the functioning of the bodies own systems, increasing resistance to a wide range of adverse biological, chemical, and physical factors. Adaptogens have been a feature of both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Classified as a ‘herb’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), deer antler velvet belongs to a class of herbs called super-tonics, which are prized whole-food nutritional supplements. It is used in TCM to strengthen the life-force (Ch’i), and promote the body’s adaptability to stress of all kinds.
Deer Antler Velvet is possibly the most complete nutrient-dense, bio-active, natural nutritional food known, with no substitute or equivalent in the plant kingdom that can provide the same benefits.
Along with the powerful growth-factors IGF-1 and IGF-2, scientists have so far identified 400 active ingredients including 13 growth factors, collagen type 2, glucosamine, chondroitin Sulphate, 21 amino acids, 20 glycosaminoglycans, retinoic acid (the active form of Vitamin A that regulates many cell activities), and many minerals and trace elements.
The growth factors in DAV (including IGF-1, IGF-2, transforming growth factor beta, and others) play a unique role in the human body in repairing damaged tissue, wound healing, development of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), and cellular mitosis (creation of new cells through cellular divisions).
Much has been made of the fact that deer antler velvet is a natural source of the growth factor IGF-1 (especially in the body-building fraternity), but this emphasis on a single nutrient overlooks the bigger picture and grossly underestimates the importance of the many other bio-active compounds present. The natural growth factors in deer antler velvet are undoubtedly an important component, but the broad range of benefits in DAV are due more to the complex way that all of the different compounds work together to produce a synergistic effect far greater than that of any single isolated nutrient.
Deer antler velvet stimulates the digestive, circulatory, and immune systems, supports joint and bone health, and protects against arthritis, rheumatism, and osteoporosis. Significant benefits have been experienced by sufferers of arthritis, anaemia, asthma, certain allergies, obesity, sexual function, PMS, & chronic fatigue syndrome.
Because of the risk of nutrient deficiencies for vegetarians, for those who have not totally eliminated animal products, taking a DAV supplement is a very good idea because it provides a unique source of beneficial compounds not readily available from vegetarian sources.
Beware that not all deer antler velvet supplements are equal, with some unscrupulous operators selling low quality velvet supplements of dubious origin and such low potency that they effectively provide no therapeutic benefit. The best quality DAV comes from New Zealand, with free roaming, sustainable, grass-fed herds that are free of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), and very strict animal welfare codes which ensure the wellbeing and safety of all animals.
“Velvet antler contains the missing link to longevity, something just not present in all the promising nutrition programs I have ever worked with. Its growth factors are a significant part of what makes it so special. Growth factors may be the only substances than can retard and even reverse aging.”
- Dr. Michael E. Rosenbaum, MD, in an interview with Betty Kamen, author of ’The Remarkable Healing Power of Velvet Antler’
“I have over 100 patients on velvet antler, and the response has been dramatic. The most common reports I have received are lifting of depression and stress related fatigue, improvements in memory, and better overall focus."
- Dr. Stephen Center, M.D. - owner and operator of BodyLogicMD of San Diego
Download a FREE copy of my book 'Reclaim Your Health' and go into the draw to win a bottle of VelPure Ultra!
Modern diets are deficient in vitamins A and D and Omega-3 fatty acids, and the best way to ensure you are getting enough of these important nutrients is with a daily dose of Cod Liver Oil.
Cod liver oil is one of nature’s richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, and the fat-soluble vitamins A and D, which are vital to good health. It is preferable (and quite different) to regular fish oils which are extracted from the tissue of oily fish, but do not provide the fat-soluble vitamins. Regular fish oils also usually come from farmed fish.
DHA is vital to the optimal development and maintenance of the brain, sight and nervous system, and EPA has positive benefits for coronary heart disease, high triglycerides (fats in the blood), high blood pressure, and inflammation.
Fatty fish is generally considered the best source of omega-3s, but the actual level of omega-3 varies considerably from species to species. For example, while two or three four-ounce servings of salmon, herring or sardines a week might supply adequate omega-3 fatty acids, you might need to eat ten times that amount of another species to get the same amount of omega-3.
For this reason most people find it difficult to get enough omega-3s in their diet, and would be wise to consider a good cod liver oil supplement. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins A and D, and is rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are vital to good health.
Note: As with all supplements, it is vitally important to use only the best quality cod liver oil. Unfortunately the majority of cod liver oils available today have had most of the vitamins removed by the molecular distillation process used, and synthetic vitamins are added back. Also, many do not supply vitamins A and D together in the required ratio to be properly utilised by the body.
Be aware also, that the vitamin A and D in cod liver oil need to be balanced by vitamin K2, found in butter, butter oil and other animal fats, as well as aged cheeses, duck and goose fat.
I personally use NutraPro International virgin cod liver oil: http://www.nutraprointl.com/store/p3/Virgin_Cod_Liver_Oil.html It is a cold-pressed cod liver oil which provides 75% of the daily recommended intake of Omega-3 from one serving (1/2 teaspoon), and 2500 IU Vitamin A; 250 IU Vitamin D; and 3 IU Vitamin E per serving. Being cold-pressed rather than fermented, it has a cleaner taste than the Green Pasture oil. I actually find the taste of the lemon flavored oil quite pleasant.
Green Pasture Products: Blue Ice High-Vitamin Fermented Cod Liver Oil: http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/CodLiverOil/index.cfm The Green Pasture cod liver oils don’t state the levels of Omega-3, and vitamins A, D, and E in their oil, but they are recommended by The Weston A. Price Foundation.
Note: I am not affiliated with these companies in any way. For more recommendations and information on Cod Liver Oil, check out The Weston A. Price Foundation recommendations.
Vitamin-C is the most important dietary antioxidant, and probably the most widely taken synthetic vitamin. The reason vitamin C is so important is that it is a very powerful antioxidant, neutralizing toxins in the body, and repairing oxidized biomolecules that have already been exposed to toxins.
A water-soluble nutrient found in many fruits and vegetables, vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat. Most people don’t get enough vitamin-C from their diet, and need to take a supplement in order to avoid a deficiency.
However, as with other vitamins, for reasons I cover in my book 'Reclaim Your Health', long-term use of synthetic vitamin-C can do as much harm as good, and so the best way to get vitamin C on a daily basis is from a natural whole food source. So what’s a good, convenient, natural source of vitamin-C that can provide a high dose? Enter Camu Camu, a low-growing shrub (Myrciaria Dubia) found throughout the Amazon rain forests of Peru and Brazil.
Since ancient times, indigenous Amazonian tribes have harvested the Camu Camu berries in season, dried them, and used them medicinally throughout the year. When picked, the berries are red, purple or green in colour and the powder is a light beige once dried.
Compared to oranges, Camu Camu berries have up to 60 times as much vitamin-C, and compared to blackberries (long prized for their vitamin-C content), Camu Camu has up to 14 times as much vitamin-C!
Although it varies depending on the source and how carefully it has been processed, one teaspoon of Camu Camu powder can provide roughly 750 mg (and up to 1100 mg) of vitamin-C, or 10 to 15 times the US recommended daily value!
Bear in mind that the USRDA of 75 mg is really only an arbitrary amount based loosely on the absolute minimum needed to prevent scurvy, which is a severe vitamin-C defficiencey. For optimum health, we really need much more than this, and Camu Camu is the perfect natural source of vitamin-C, having extremely high levels …along with anthocyanins, bioflavonoids, and other essential co-factors such as essential amino acids, potassium, ellagic acid and gallic acid.
As with other vitamins in their natural forms compared to synthetic vitamin isolates, small quantities of natural vitamin C in the form of Camu Camu powder or tablets can provide the same or greater benefits as large amounts of synthetic vitamin-C (ascorbic acid), without any side effects.
As well as boosting the immune system, Camu Camu berry is also good for liver health, enhances mood, improves heart health, and can slow the aging process by reducing inflammation in the body.
Some people find the taste of Camu Camu quite tart. That is a good thing, as it's an indication of the high levels of vitamin-C present, and the standard dose is only 1/2 to 1 tsp, and it can be added to smoothies, yoghurt, sprinkled on fruit, granola or muesli, and incorporated into ice cream or other deserts.
Sometimes referred to as ‘nature’s multivitamin’, liver truly is an underrated superfood - especially these days! The reason for it’s place on this list is simple: Liver supplies more essential nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. In fact, 100 grams of beef liver supplies 1000% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin-A, 1850% of the DV of vitamin b-12, and 240% of the DV of Riboflavin (vitamin b-2)! See the comparison table below.
Traditional diets from right around the world were rich in organ meats, but along with the disappearance of many organ meats from supermarket shelves, we’ve lost the gratitude that comes with understanding where our food comes from, along with the respect that is shown by using the entire animal.
Organ meats are between 10x and 100x higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats, and pound for pound, liver contains more nutrients than almost every other food on the planet!
With the exception of the phytonutrients found mainly in fruits and vegetables (which are only found in relatively low concentrations in meats), all other nutrients found in liver occur at many times the levels found in fruits and vegetables.
Liver contains all of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and high levels of all the B vitamins, as well as folic acid, a highly bio-available form of iron, trace elements including copper, zinc, and chromium, coenzyme Q10, and it is an excellent source of high-quality protein.
Its very high levels of Vitamin-B12 are of particular importance because B12 deficiency is more widespread than many people realize, and it tends to be under-diagnosed because it’s not routinely tested by most doctors. Vitamin-B12 also can’t be obtained from plants, and a number of studies have shown that up to 50% of long-term vegetarians, and 80% of vegans are deficient in B12.
The scientific literature on B12 points to the fact that many people with B12 levels considered “normal” in the U.S. have clear symptoms of B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with cognitive decline, dementia and memory loss, and some research has suggested that significantly lower rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia in Japan may be because that countries lower limit of what is considered normal plasma B12 levels, is over twice that considered normal in the US.
Because a major role of the liver is to eliminate toxins in the body, it is often assumed that liver contains toxins. However the liver doesn’t actually store these toxins …but it is a storage organ for the high levels of important nutrients it contains, which all play a vital part in the elimination of toxins.
Another concern that is often raised is the high levels of vitamin-A present in liver. These stem from studies in which moderate doses of vitamin-A were found to cause problems and even contribute to birth defects. What is not generally pointed out, however, is that these studies used synthetic vitamin-A.
The natural form of vitamin A found in liver (in the form of Retinol) is an extremely important nutrient for human health and does not cause problems unless eaten in very large amounts. A 4 ounce serving of beef, lamb, or duck liver (about 100-grams) once or twice a week will providing about 50,000 IU vitamin A per serving, and chicken liver (which is much lower in vitamin A), may be safely consumed more frequently.
As with all other meats, it is important to only eat liver from from pasture-fed animals that have been raised without hormones, antibiotics or commercial feed, that spend their lives outdoors. As well as containing residues of antibiotics and hormones, commercial feedlot raised animals have significantly lower levels of nutrients, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.
If you can’t determine the meats origin, or supermarket liver is your only option, the best choice is calf liver, because as a rule beef cattle raised in the US spend their first months on pasture.
Liver from different animal sources differs in the levels of micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) present. The most commonly available are beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and veal, but goose, duck, turkey, and venison livers are all excellent if you can source them from pasture-fed or organic suppliers, or you have a hunter in the family, or have access to wild game.
Goose liver is a particularly good source of Vitamin-K2, which is important for it’s interactions with other important nutrients like vitamins A and D. Vitamin K2 is now believed to be the “activator X” that Weston Price discovered in 1945.
In my book 'Reclaim Your Health', I talk about the importance of a diverse and healthy microbiome for good health, and because gut health plays such a large role in our health, Probiotic Foods are #5 on my top 10 list of superfoods.
Probiotics are of course the good bacteria that make up your microbiome, and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. They hold the key not just for a stronger immune system and better health in general, but also for treating and preventing digestive issues, mental health illness, and neurological disorders. Over 40 different diseases have been linked to gut health, and human microbiome research continues to confirm that the benefits of probiotics go far beyond what we previously thought.
There are two ways to ensure you get a good intake of these beneficial forms of gut bacteria, through live probiotic foods, and probiotic supplements. Generally, store-bought products don’t compare to home made, or ‘home brewed’ probiotic foods. Here’s a list of some of the best probiotic foods to add to your diet that you can either buy, or make yourself:
Natural Yoghurt: Live cultured yoghurt made from cow, goat, sheep or buffalo milk is an excellent source of probiotics, provided you only get natural live-cultured yoghurt made from pasture fed animals with no added sugar.
Kefir: Almost like a drinkable yoghurt, Kefir is is made with particles called “grains” that ferment the milk and then strained out before consumption. Like yoghurt, you can make your own, and if you buy it the same rules apply. Kefir has different strains to yoghurt, and can contain 30+ different strains of probiotics.
Pickled Vegetables: The two most well known examples are Sauerkraut and Kimchi, very popular in Germany and Korea respectively. A single mouthful of Sauerkraut (lacto-fermented cabbage) contains billions of beneficial bugs as well as being high in vitamins C and A. Like other probiotic foods, home-made Sauerkraut and Kimchi will be much higher in beneficial microbes than store-bought, and they are easy to make, with no ‘starter’ bug required. Here are some easy instructions for making Sauerkraut at home.
Kombucha: A type of refreshing fermented black tea that is started by using a SCOBY, (a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). It is made with added sugar, but most of the added sugar is used up in the fermentation process, so this is not a concern except for some store-bought brands. It is cheap and easy to make yourself. Here are some good instructions.
Natto: A type of fermented soy popular in Japan. Natto is very strongly flavored, and definitely an acquired taste, but it is an outstanding source of beneficial microbes, very high in vitamin-K2, and also contains a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme called nattokinase that has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Avoid natto made from GMO soy!
Miso: Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, miso is mainstay of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. It is full of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, and by adding hot water, makes a quick and easy probiotic soup.
Probiotics are available from health food stores and supermarkets, but the commercially available probiotics vary considerably in terms of both the number of colony-forming units (CFUs), as well as the diversity of different bacteria strains present.
Different strains of probiotic bacteria have different specific benefits and are found in greater concentrations in different parts of the digestive tract. Synergy also plays a significant role in the functioning of a healthy microbiome, and because of this, probiotic supplements that contain multiple strains are much more likely to be more effective than those containing high concentrations of one or two strains. Because of this, if buying a probiotic, choose one with a wide variety of different strains.
Make your own! Yoghurt, Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, and Kimchi and all cheap and easy to make, and ‘home-brewed’ fermented foods are generally much higher in good microbes than store-bought. And of course, store bought products that have been pasteurised, irradiated, or ‘shelf-stabilised' in any other way have had much or all of the good bacteria destroyed.
Recommended Supplement: Bio Kult is a 14 strain probiotic formula, designed to help the digestive and immune systems, and formulated by a team of doctors, nutritionists and scientists dedicated to advancing the research and use of probiotic health supplements. They can be used on a continuous basis, or for a short period of time, for example, when taking antibiotics.
The terms broth, stock and bone broth are often used interchangeably, and are essentially built on the same basic foundation: water, meat & bones, vegetables and seasonings.
Bone broths are typically simmered for a longer period of time than stocks, with the intention being to not only extract gelatin from collagen-rich joints, but also to leach beneficial trace minerals from the bones. The bone marrow is particularly rich in nutrients, and many traditional cultures made a particular point of including it in their broths.
Stock, of course is a mainstay of traditional cooking with many health benefits. It has always been the magic ingredient of classic gourmet cuisine, and the basis of fine soups, sauces, and gravies. In the words of famous French chef Escoffier: “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.”
Sadly, stock has largely disappeared from the kitchens of most American households, partly because fewer people cook, but also partly because of the demonisation of fat and cholesterol by health authorities.
However there has been a resurgence in interest because of the nutritional benefits, and both stock and bone broth can also be readily purchased online, as well as at health food stores and supermarkets.
Stocks and broths are generally made from the bones of chicken, fish or beef and contain minerals in a form easily absorbed by the body - including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals, and large bones containing bone marrow are particularly good.
You can buy bone broth, but it’s really easy to make yourself …here’s how:
Keep a zip-lock bag or sealable container of some kind in the freezer, and toss in whatever leftover bones and veggie off-cuts you have whenever you cook. You can also use chicken carcasses with the meat removed (choose organic free-range), meat scraps, or any other cooked or raw bones from pasture-raised animals. Joints of meat high in collagen, like marrow, knuckles, and feet are particularly good.
When you have enough, place all the bones in a large pot, add 1 onion cut in half, 2 celery stalks, 1 carrot, and a large sprig of parsley, a couple of bay leaves or any other herbs. Cover completely with water and bring to a boil, then let it simmer for at least 2 to 3 hours adding water as necessary.
Bone broth (or stock) is incredibly versatile …use it as the basis of soups, sources and gravies, add it to casseroles and stews, or simply sip it!
An important feature of all healthy diets (including traditional/ancestral diets) is plenty of foods containing high levels of omega-3s, particularly fish. For example, the people of Okinawa, Japan, who are known for their health and longevity, eat a lot of seafood, and typically consume about eight times the amount of omega-3s that you find in the standard American diet.
Wild Salmon is not only delicious and easy to prepare; it is also one of the healthiest fish you can eat with one of the highest levels of omega-3s of all fish, along with low levels of mercury, so eating it regularly is an excellent strategy for keeping your Omega-3 and Omega-6 levels in balance.
There are three different types of Omega-3s - ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Our bodies are able to turn ALA into usable DHA and EPA to a certain extent, but this isn’t as efficient as getting DHA and EPA directly from food sources that provide it. That’s why fatty fish such as salmon or sardines are highly recommended, as they are one of the few direct sources with high levels of DHA and EPA.
Avoid farmed fish of all types! Not only do many operations pose environmental risks, the levels of Omega-3s are often extremely low due to the feed they are given; they often contain very high levels of dioxins and PCBs, and the pesticides used to keep parasites like sea lice under control build up in the fat of the fish and also cause genetic mutations.
Unlike most farmed salmon, as well as being healthy and delicious, wild salmon is also generally sustainable. To find out more information about sustainability and what you should look out for when choosing salmon and other kinds of fish, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch app provides the latest guidelines on which species - both wild and farmed - to look out for, and which you should avoid. It is also a handy way to get the latest recommendations for other seafoods and sushi, learn more about the seafood you eat, and find or share businesses that serve sustainable seafood. You can download it HERE.
Other fish with high levels of Omega-3s that you can substitute for salmon are mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna, along with anchovies, whitebait, and fish roe.
Avocados have ancient origins, with evidence suggesting they were eaten in central Mexico almost 10,000 years ago, and archeologists believe that cultivation of avocado trees probably began about 5,000 years ago. They were highly prized by the Aztec and Mayan people for both food and medicine, being used to stimulate hair growth, repel worms, and treat diarrhoea.
The plant was introduced to Spain in 1601, and they are now widely cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have been used in folk medicine for treating everything from cardiovascular problems to psoriasis, periodontal conditions, obesity, diabetes, wrinkles, halitosis, and numerous other medical conditions.
They are also used in Ayurvedic healing for reducing bad cholesterol, treating chronic constipation, boosting the libido, regulating insulin production, fighting against free radicals, and treating insomnia and joint pain.
Avocados have a unique nutrition profile, and pound for pound they provide more heart healthy monounsaturated fat, fibre, vitamin E, folic acid and potassium than any other fruit, as well as being the number one fruit source of beta-sitosterol, a substance that has been shown to reduce total cholesterol.
Natural fatty acids such as those found in avocados are vitally important for optimal utilization of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and fats made up 30% to 80% of calories in healthy traditional or ancestral diets, such as those studied by Dr. Weston Price. This perhaps helps to explain why they have been so highly sought after and revered as a food source since Aztec times!
Avocados are also higher than other fruits in the antioxidant lutein, which has been shown to protect people from cataracts, as well as containing a wide range of carotenoid antioxidants which aid in reducing free-radical damage, possess anti-inflammatory properties, and help to regulate blood sugar - due partly to their low carbohydrate load and high fibre content.
Along with the fat-soluble vitamins, these antioxidants are also particularly well absorbed due to the synergistic interaction with the high levels of fatty acids, and a 2005 study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to a meal can increase absorption of other antioxidants in the meal by as much as 15x.
This list shows the approximate amounts of the most abundant essential vitamins and minerals in a 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of avocado:
Folate (B9): 20% of the RDA. Essential for normal cell function and tissue growth, making it an important nutrient for pregnant women.
Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA. Important for blood clotting and beneficial for bone health.
Potassium: 14% of the RDA. An essential mineral for blood pressure support and heart health, and one avocado contains as much potassium as two or three bananas!
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA. An important fat-soluble vitamin that’s required for the proper function of many organs, enzymatic activities and neurological processes and a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from damaging free radicals.
Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA. B vitamins, including vitamins B5 and B6 play an important role in supporting healthy metabolism, nerve function, liver function, skin health, eye health, and are responsible for converting food into energy.
Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA. This is an important antioxidant for immune function and skin health.
Avocado also contains small amounts of copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, vitamin-A, vitamin-B1, vitamin-B2, and vitamin-B3.
Avocados are incredibly versatile, and although the price has risen in recent years due to their growing popularity, they are still generally inexpensive when their nutritional benefits are considered. They are delicious on toast seasoned with salt and pepper, can be used in smoothies, or can be eaten cut in half with the stone removed - just with an olive oil and vinegar dressing and a crush of garlic.
TIP: Ripe avocados bruise very easily. To avoid the inevitable bruises caused by other shoppers squeezing them to see if they’re ripe, buy them when they are green, and let them ripen in your fruit bowel for a few days. Putting them in with a few bananas will hasten the ripening process.
Apple cider vinegar (sometimes referred to as ACV) is a probiotic, however it deserves a place in it’s own right on this list of top ten supplements. It is one of the oldest and most useful remedies on earth, with many proven health benefits.
The long slow two-step fermentation process it undergoes converts much of the sugar in the apple juice, leaving it rich in raw enzymes and beneficial bacteria, which give it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and many other beneficial properties.
One of the most promising benefits of apple cider vinegar is that it appears to help regulate blood sugar - particularly particularly in those at risk for type 2 diabetes. A study involving men and women with type 2 diabetes published in Diabetes Care found that when the participants took two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed with a snack consisting of one ounce of cheese, they had lower blood sugar levels the next morning compared to when they ate the same bedtime snack with two tablespoons of water.
Apple cider vinegar is now known to be ‘thermogenic’, or a ‘fat-burner’, and recent research suggests that it may support nutritional ketosis by increasing the number of energy-producing mitochondria in your cells.
Here are some of the other benefits of apple cider vinegar:
Not all vinegars are equal, and raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is widely regarded in the natural health community as being much more beneficial for health than other vinegars. Don’t buy pasteurised and filtered vinegar - the cloudier the better, because that means it contains all the beneficial enzymes and probiotics which support gut health and give it it’s other potent biological benefits.
It’s easy and inexpensive to add apple cider vinegar to your daily routine. As well as using it as a main vinegar in salad dressing, a delicious way to take it is to stir two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of organic honey into a cup of warm water once a day.
A good test of whether a supposed superfood really does live up to it's name is that it has been used and empirically evaluated over thousands of years. Green tea certainly meets that benchmark, having been consumed in China for at least 5,000 years, and apart from water, green tea is the most consumed drink on the planet.
While green tea has many proven benefits for health, in much the same way as Deer antler Velvet can be thought of as bone broth on steroids, Matcha green tea has all the benefits of normal green tea in a much more concentrated form.
Matcha is very high in polyphenol compounds called catechins, which are a type of antioxidant also found in normal green tea, cacao and apples. Being a powdered (as well as concentrated) form of green tea, Matcha can be used either as a tea, or added to other foods, and it provides a wide range of health benefits for people who regularly consume it.
Sixty percent of the catechin content in Matcha Green Tea is made up of one particular catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg). Of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its potent cancer fighting properties, and Matcha Green Tea contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market. It also contains L-theanine, a natural amino acid that has been associated with feeling mentally alert while also relaxed. Japanese Zen Buddhist monks drank Matcha and it is reputed to assist them to relax and meditate, while remaining alert at the same time.
Here are just some of the benefits of Matcha tea:
Matcha green tea powder comes from the tencha leaves, and undergoes a unique and very strict growing process. When the newest leaves start to bud, they are shaded from direct sunlight, giving them a very different taste than sencha leaves growing normally, along with increased nutrients and more potent antioxidant properties.
If you use matcha primarily for its health benefits mixed with other foods (for example smoothies), or you are not a matcha green tea connoisseur, I suggest a middle or low grade matcha powder. It is much more affordable and you can drink it straight or use it as a supplement.