“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.” —Hippocrates
About The Above Photo
This simple sandwich includes: broccoli sprouts, lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion on top of raw cashew mayonnaise and a slice of raw bread.
The raw bread was purchased from Whole Foods, and it’s called "Sunflower Seed Bread" by Lydia’s Organics.
The raw cashew mayonnaise recipe was from Amie’s Amiable Cuisine blog.
Also in the photo: a shot of cashew milk, some tangerine slices, flax crackers and grapes.
First off… don’t care for superfoods? Then read, “10 Ways to Ruin Your Health and Die Young”, then come back and read this article.
A while back I wrote a post entitled, The Best Superfoods, with the intention of creating a list of foods considered healthy enough (by many nutritionists) to be classified as “superfoods”.
In this post I’ll be concentrating on superfoods that can be eaten raw, or usually come in dried or powder form. In other words, my focus will be on superfoods that are suitable for raw foodists, foods packed with an amazing array of nutrients, amino acids and other beneficial ingredients.
What is a superfood?
Here are a few definitions worth noting:
- A superfood is a natural food source that is highly concentrated with a complex supply of quality nutrients… —TheNibble.com
- A superfood is a type of food believed to have health benefits beyond those of more common foods due to specific phytonutrient content. —Wikipedia.org
- A superfood is a food rich in phytochemicals, which are special chemicals that have been noted to have disease-fighting properties. Phytochemicals can reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, or in some other way contribute to a person being healthier. —WiseGeek.com
Why eat superfoods?
The simple answer? Because superfoods are healthier for you than say, a Big Mac or a bag of potato chips.
People interested in improving their health, boosting peak performance in sports, etc… (or simply wanting to improve their overall sense of well-being), can benefit substantially by eating foods that provide the most nutrients and life-enhancing properties. And this is where the whole concept of eating superfoods makes sense.
Incidentally, most (if not all) superfoods CAN be eaten in their raw, natural state. In fact, it makes perfect sense to eat superfoods raw for a couple of really good reasons:
- Important enzymes necessary for proper digestion and cellular functions can be destroyed during the cooking process. Thus, eating these superfoods in their raw state can be more beneficial.
- Research has shown that eating foods raw is so much easier on the entire digestive process.
That said, let’s take a look at our list of 9 essential raw superfoods.
9 Essential Raw Superfoods For Optimum Health
- 1 – Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has long been used as a healing agent, for cuts, burns and eczema. It also has softening qualities that make it useful in keeping the skin and facial complexion soft and youthful. Taken as a juice or extract mixed with water, Aloe Vera is good for cleansing the digestive tract and as an over-all tonic.
Aloe will purify the blood and liver as well as soothe the colon and help heal ulcers, colitis, and hemorrhoids. Due to its strong effects in cleansing the liver, pregnant women and young children should not take aloe vera internally.
- 2 – Goji Berries
Goji Berries have a long history in Chinese Medicine as a wonder food. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of Goji Berries: Contains the 8 essential amino acids (a total of 18 amino acids), 21 trace minerals (the main ones being zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus), also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, and vitamin E, and Goji Berries contain about 11 mg of iron per 100 grams, beta-sisterol (an anti-inflammatory agent), linoleic acid (a fatty acid), sesquiterpenoids (cyperone, solavetivone), tetraterpenoids (zeaxanthin, physalin), and betaine (0.1%). It’s no wonder that this superfood has garnered so much attention among Raw Foodists. Goji Berries are probably the most essential on this list!
- 3 – Cacao Beans (Raw Cacao Powder)
Chocoholics like myself can rejoice at the fact that we can be raw vegan and still have our chocolate! The combination of raw cacao powder (with a natural sweetener like raw agave nectar) can be made into a delicious smoothie of pure heaven. Not only that, cacao beans are a rich source of Magnesium, a mineral chronically lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD).
A neurotransmitter called anandamide, has been isolated in cacao. Anandamide is also produced naturally in the brain. Anandamide is known as “The Bliss Chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great.
- 4 – Seaweed (Kelp)
Seaweed is a superfood that has been a large part of Japanese Cuisine for centuries, whether in miso soup, salads or as sushi nori. The dried or granularized form is available to Raw Foodists. Seaweed is an “especially rich source of potassium, iron, iodine, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and dietary fiber, and also contain a natural substance, glutamic acid, that enhances flavor and tenderizes fibrous foods.”
- 5 – Spirulina (Blue-Green Algae)
Spirulina is a form of Blue-Green Algae that is composed of mostly protein (65% and more). It usually comes as a supplement in tablet form.
Spirulina is the world’s highest known plant-source of vitamin B-12 and also includes vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-6, E, K, chlorophyll, cell salts, phytonutrients, and enzymes. The ancient Aztecs thrived on Spirulina from Lake Texcoco in Mexico.
- 6 – Broccoli
If you’re only going to eat one vegetable, make sure it’s broccoli. Some experts say it is the one vegetable that contains the most nutrients and is a rich source of soluble fiber.
It is high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contains the multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties including diindolylmethane and selenium
- 7 – Blueberries
Blueberries “contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments and other phytochemicals which may have a role in reducing the risks of some diseases, including cancers.” In addition to an abundance of anitoxidants, blueberries help to lower cholesterol levels, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Blueberries are also rich in Manganese and Vitamin K.
- 8 – Maca
Originating from Peru and Incan cultures, Maca “is a superfood-food-herb with an outstanding ability to increase energy, endurance and strength. Maca is a favorite of raw-foodists, vegetarians, adventurers, extreme athletes, dessert chefs and food alchemists.”
- 9 – Avocado
Avocados have recently been getting attention as a “new” superfood. Once criticized for its high fat content, avocados are now being recommended for its healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. And avocados are also high in fiber (40%), has a high percentage of potassium, magnesium, folate, antioxidants, and also contains vitamins C, B, E and K. Recent studies have shown that avocados help the body absorb more nutrients from other foods. And like olives, avocados are being regarded as a “beautifying”, “anti-aging” food.
The Need for Superfoods
As mentioned before, the above superfoods are best eaten in their raw, natural state to get the most benefits from their enzymes and nutrients. Having a larger percentage of these superfoods in your diet can make the difference between feeling okay and feeling wonderful.
And this wraps up my list of 9 Essential Raw Superfoods.
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