Why Superfoods For Breakfast
|22 August 2012||Posted by Daniel under Daniel Ebaugh, TSP|
You are back from vacation and looking ahead to starting a new school year on a healthy note. What small thing could you do for yourself and your family that could boost your immune system (remember the colds and flu last year!) and improve your general health?
In Chinese medicine, each organ has a two hour period of time during a 24-hour cycle where it is at its peak performance. The organ that is at its peak during the time most people eat breakfast, between 7 and 9 AM, is the stomach. This is the time when the most important organ of the body for absorbing nourishment is able to best do its job. For this reason, some suggest that breakfast ought to be made up of concentrated super foods, which are loaded with nutrients for optimal health/immunity.
What are superfoods?
Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature, which are by definition, calorie sparse and nutrient dense. It is the kind of food that really promotes health no matter what your health goal is (whether it be eating right, boosting your immune system, losing weight, preparing your body to carry a baby, etc.).
Green superfoods such as wheat grass, barley grass, wild blue green alga, spirulina and chlorella have the highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins and minerals to protect and heal the body. They are all rich in chlorophyll – the pigment that gives plants their green color. The molecular structure of chlorophyll is very similar to that of human blood and studies show that when this is consumed, the production of hemoglobin in blood is increased. Higher amounts of hemoglobin in the bloodstream means more oxygen-rich blood, the first and most important element that cells need to thrive and be healthy. In today’s health food stores, it is very easy to find these superfoods mixed in a powder, which can be the main ingredient of a smoothie.
Fruit and nut superfoods include chia seeds, coconut water, coconut oil, Goji berries, acai berries, and raw cacao. Theses superfoods offer a calorie sparse and nutrient dense food that is also high in antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
Coconut water, a relatively new product in health food stores, is one of the highest sources of electrolytes in nature (finally, a natural replacement for Gatorade!) and its molecular structure, like chlorophyll, is identical to human blood plasma. So when you drink coconut water, it is like getting a blood transfusion.
When you eat coconut oil, it is sent directly to the liver where it is immediately converted into energy. Coconut oil speeds up metabolic function and is a very effective anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent. Pacific islanders deem coconut oil to be the cure-all gift from nature for all illness.
Chia seed is a superfood used historically by Native Americans of the southwest and also by the Inca, Aztec, and Mayan cultures. Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength and it was considered a mega-energy food especially for Mayan running messengers. They are high in protein, minerals and enzymes and the outer hull of this seed is an excellent source of fiber.
Here is why chia seeds are so nutritious. They are said to have:
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
- 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Chia seeds are typically soaked in water or another liquid like almond milk for at least 10 minutes. Since the hull absorbs over seven times its weight in water, a gelatin-like substance is produced as the seeds soak. You put this gelatin-like substance in a smoothie, eat it as a snack or add it to sauces or other recipes to make them more nutritious.
By a factor of 10 or more, raw cocoa contains more antioxidants than any other food in the world including red wine, green tea and blueberries. In fact, a phytochemical analysis of raw cacao beans indicates that they are perhaps the most chemically complex food on Earth. You can buy raw cocoa powder or nibs in most any health food store. Either one adds a nice chocolate flavor and goes great in a smoothie with all the other goodies mentioned above.
Goji berries and acai berries are also an excellent source of antioxidants. Additionally, these berries contain many naturally occurring minerals (like zinc, germanium, selenium, iron, copper and phosphorus) and certain amino acids needed to digest foods. While these berries are a little pricy in health food stores, you get a lot for your money and they are easily included in a smoothie, salad or even soups.
I recommend you try all of these superfoods for breakfast. Notice which ones you like and which ones impact your system the most. Combine them until you find the perfect combination for you. When eaten for breakfast, you can expect your body to really absorb these nutrient dense superfoods and put you on track to meet your health goals.