Walking through your local health food store you can come across some pretty unfamiliar and strange named items. You may think these are just another fad or quick-to-do-something supplement, but really these little gems can transform you. They specialize in boosting your energy, giving your life a kick-start into health and tasting yummy! So what is all this fuss about? Good food blogger Michaele Johnstone explains.
Cacao beans are the purist form of cacao, picked from a tropical tree before processing occurs. Sugars, fats and flavours are added to change it into that naughty treat we love. Grown in Mexico and South America cacao trees thrive in hot climates and only begin to produce seeds after four years. Once picked the seeds are left to ferment under banana leaves, this brings out there super food benefits. Rich in antioxidants, essential minerals (magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese) and vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and Pantothenic acid) this bitter dark chocolate tasting treat packs a punch. The beans are then dried and sent on to produce cacao powder, nibs, butter and paste.
Acai berries are small and dark purple, found on large palm trees in Central and South America. Known for their antioxidant load that helps to fight free radicals causing skin to age. It is often forgotten that they also contain omega fatty acids, which nourish hair and power our brains. A rich source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, with 8 grams of protein per 100g of freeze dried acai it seems reasonable to stick a scoop in your protein shaker gym goers. Another plus is it tastes like a mix between chocolate and blueberries, score!
A not so good tasting super food made by fermenting coconut water. Alas, don’t be put off by it’s strange taste or you may miss out on these amazing health properties. If you have digestive issues with dairy products this is a great alternative to get your probiotic hit. A swig of this before breakfast every morning will help to adjust gut bacteria levels, ultimately soothing the digestion process. It also helps to lessen sugar cravings and promote good immunity in these cold winter months.
One of my favourites due to it’s sweet caramel taste, maca is a very special plant that grows in the high altitudes of Bolivia and Peru. The plant root is dried then milled to produce a powder, which can be an alternative for your morning coffee when added to a smoothie. This is due to its energizing properties whilst avoiding the crash after caffeine. Maca is high in plant sterols that help to reduce cholesterol levels by preventing it’s absorption. It has been found to nourish and support the endocrine system, which acts by sending chemical messages from glands to the blood stream, to vital organs.
So, next time you screw up your nose because you can’t pronounce one of these super powered foods just think of all the benefits you could be gaining by just adding a teaspoon to your daily routine. These are only a few of my favourites but there are many more, which can aid in everyday life and even disease.