We have all heard about the newest and latest “superfoods,” and how they are the remedy for aging, energy, heart disease and cancer (just to name a few!). But are they really all they are cracked up to be? Nutrition Gal gives you the lowdown some popular “superfoods” so you can figure out what is right for you.
Goji Berries. Goji berries have been popular in the states for a few years, but have been a staple Chinese medicine for thousands. Native to remote regions of China, Tibet, and Mongolia, this orange-red berry has a sweet and sour, almost tangy taste, particularly when dried. Goji berries tout high antioxidants, higher than your average blueberries or blackberries, but still not even close to spices like cloves, cinnamon, oregano and turmeric. Goji berries are also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and iron.
VERDICT: Though Goji berries are fairly nutrient dense, you can still get a much higher antioxidant punch by adding a some spices to your daily diet!
Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are the edible seeds from a Mexican desert plant that dates all the way back to the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. These seeds were known for “energy” as they are packed full with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The media also says that they are great for weight loss (because it absorbs a lot of water and expands in the stomach), but studies have not been able to support this claim. Should chia seeds be your new flaxseed? Well, there is one benefit to chia seeds; they don’t have to be ground before eating to get the full benefits. Flaxseeds, on the other hand, should be ground fresh from the whole seed before each use to ensure maximum benefits, as pre-ground flaxseeds spoil quickly.
VERDICT: Split on this one! If you are using flaxseeds correctly, they are very beneficial, just like chia seeds. Base this decision on your tastes and your budget.
Chlorella. Chlorella is natural green algae that grows in the sea. In the 1940s and 50s, chlorella looked like a promising food source for a growing post-war population because of its high and balanced levels of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals. Chlorella, which is very high in chlorophyll, claims to have a plethora of benefits including bowel, liver, and blood purification; mold elimination in the body; heavy metal binding; promotion of tissue growth and repair; boosting immunity; aiding in digestion; antioxidant properties… and it even freshens your breath! How does it compare to spirulina, another algae that has many health benefits that has been on the market for quite some time? Both are very high in nutrients and chlorophyll so both are excellent for maintaining optimum health but…
VERDICT: Chlorella is the winner due to its additional detoxification properties. Just be sure to use a trusted brand with a “broken cell wall” to reap the full benefits of this green superfood (chlorella is highly indigestible otherwise). Try Sun Chlorella, available at www.sunchlorellausa.com.
photo credit:Simon Howden/FDP.net