Why Should you Care?

You want to be healthy, vibrant and energetic, right? That includes reaching and maintaining optimal health and looking great too -correct also? I’ve compiled an easy-to-use list of truly amazing superfoods to boost your health, energy and sex-appeal. The moniker of a top superfood can be given to a food that gives you a lot of bang for the calorie-buck with vitamins, minerals and other healthy substances such as flavonoids and polyphenols. You can find these foods on an all three diet plans I recommend and endorse as healthy diets; the anti-inflammatory diet, nutritional ketotic diet and Paleo diet plan. They are truly the best superfoods for your health and as such; belong as staples in your diet.

Let’s start with a superstar- raw or steamed-it’s a must-have low-carb vegetable. I shouldn’t have to say this but I guess I should remind you that all fruits and vegetables on this list with the exception of avocados (due to the protective shell) must be purchased as organic produce.

All of the Best Superfoods for your Health that should be in your Pantry

Spinach

When it comes to selecting superfoods, it is smart to reach for the ones that are readily available and easy to prepare. This list will feature foods that you can easily work into your diet. A great example of a superfood that is easy to find and eat is spinach. Fresh-perfect salad. Frozen-thaw, cook, spice it up. Steamed-throw it in a colander with a lid for 15 minutes for a delicious veggie or veggie topping.

one of most amazing superfoods to boost your healthBroccoli

Broccoli is a truly amazing food and one that everyone should eat several times a week. Many people say that they don’t like broccoli, but broccoli is so good for everyone that they should find a way to work it into their diets. It helps with hormonal balance; not just nutrition.

 Kale

Kale is an inexpensive cruciferous vegetable that is the “in-vogue” vegetable. It is potentially beneficial for your stomach, liver, and immune system. It’s an excellent source of multiple vitamins and other nutrients. Important vitamins include Vitamin A, B, C and the carotenoids (great for eyes), lutein and xeazanthin. DIM or diindoylmethane may be cancer protective.

Some people have to “doctor it up” to get used to the slightly bitter taste. I have found that making it spicy works for me. Some people use this to make “green smoothies.” I’m not quite that adventurous but go for it! 

Avocados

These are a superb source of healthful raw fat, which most Americans are seriously deficient in. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including: fiber, B-vitamins including folate, potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana) and Vitamin E.

In addition, avocados enable your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients when combined with foods high in other nutrients. An example is certain carotenoids :alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein- all of which are associated with cancer prevention. I love these and eat one every day. I actually make a little salad with avocado, berries, walnuts and cucumbers with extra virgin olive oil and a the juice of a whole lemon– regularly. It actually can satisfy a sweet tooth-try it!

Blueberries

Blueberries  have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity because of their high concentration of anthocyanins, a  very healthy “flavonoid.” Moderate blueberry consumption could offer brain health benefits such as increased neural signaling in the brain centers. All berries are great for your brain but organic non GMO blueberries are the superior health berry.

Raw organic almonds

Almonds are an excellent healthy whole food source as long as they’re raw- not roasted in oil that must be heated to toxic temperatures. Raw nuts contain mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are good fats that promote healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They are  rich in phytochemicals, which are plant components that promote heart and vascular health. They’re a great source of protein, minerals and natural vitamin E. They have no toxic trans fats, as long as they’re processed properly. Properly means methods such as dehydration, not pasteurization.

Let me explain why. Pasteurized almonds are neither raw nor healthy. Even the use of the term “pasteurized” is used in a misleading way. According to the Almond Board of California , no heating is used during the pasteurization process, but rather a process referred to by the FDA as “terminal gas sterilization” using propylene oxide. Propylene oxide is a toxic flammable chemical compound, once used as a racing fuel before it became prohibited!

So, make sure your almonds are truly raw, and have not been sterilized/pasteurized. Proplyene oxide is considered “not safe for human consumption” as you might predict. If you purchase correctly you are indeed getting one of the very best superfoods for your health.

Walnuts

The healthy fats in most nuts are primarily monounsaturated fatty acids. But walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids—including omega-3  fatty acids—in addition to oleic acid, the powerful monounsaturated fatty acid we love in our  extra virgin olive oil.

In fact, the walnut  contains a significant amount of the lesser known omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—containing the highest ALA content of all edible plants. Walnuts also provide several rare and potent phytonutrients that are found in few commonly eaten foods. These unique compounds are thought to be inhibitors of cancer call growth. I don’t think I need to remind you to “buy organic nuts” do I?

Like other nuts, walnuts contain vitamin E but the unique benefit to eating walnuts is the very high level of the gamma-tocopheral form of Vitamin E—not just the  alpha-tocopherol form. Walnuts contain a variety of necessary vitamins and minerals: folate, selenium, copper, biotin, manganese, molybdenum and magnesium.

Compounds in walnuts—gamma-tocopherol, folate, alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidant polyphenols—are essential nutrients for the brain as we age. Animal research has indicated that consumption of foods such as blueberries and walnuts can decrease vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging and may increase cognitive function as we age. I’m all in on this one. My breakfast often consists of raw, grass-fed organic greek yogurt with blueberries, topped with crushed organic walnuts. Try it!

Sardines

Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods are great for heart and brain health and, when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, some fish are richer in omega-3 than others. At the top of the omega-3 fatty acids list sits the humble but very powerful sardines. Omega-3 fatty acids help fight inflammation throughout the body. If you don’t think you like sardines it’s because you’ve purchased “fishy ones” in the tin with so-called extra virgin olive oil. First of all, I haven’t seen one brand of sardines packed in real EVOO that is sold in grocery stores. (Just because it says it doesn’t mean it ‘s certified  to be EVOO). Second of all, if you find sardines packed in water in a specialty store or online, they actually taste a lot like canned tuna!

The benefit to sardines over tuna is that they don’t have time to accumulate mercury. Mercury is a  toxin associated with cancer and heart disease. I used to have wild caught Alaskan salmon on my  superfoods list, but at the moment, there have been too many reports of farmed fish-sometimes not even salmon- being passed off as wild caught salmon. When this problem is under control it will again make my superfoods list. Let me mention that sockeye salmon cannot be farmed – so if you are absolutely sure that what you are getting is wild caught sockeye salmon- you’re good to go.

one of the best superfoods for your healthCoconut oil-a trend or truly a superfood?

No- coconut oil is not a trend. If you are familiar with my dietary recommendations you are aware that (other than avocado oil), it is the only oil you should cook with due to it’s lower flash point. In contrast, even the best (extra virgin) olive oil should not be used for cooking-just on salads, etc.

Coconut oil has been maligned for decades for possibly political – economic reasons.

There was a lot of money in soybean and other “monounsaturated” oils which we now have been causing (along with high-carb eating) an epidemic of health problems. And yes, this includes margarine also. Coconut oil is re-emerging as a miracle fat that is a food that boosts energy, decreases body fat, is antibiotic, and helps with thyroid problems. In the past, poorly done, misleading studies were used to discredit the saturated fats in coconut oil in order to displace it in our diet with soybean and other similar oils.

Coconut oil is also anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. But you must purchase the “right” type: So a truly raw, unrefined, virgin organic coconut oil will have a very mild coconut flavor and scent with optimal health benefits. Coconut oil has been safely used for thousands of years. Natives in tropical climates who consume lots of coconut oil don’t suffer from the heart disease, cancer, colon problems, and other health challenges that we do.

Because it is highly saturated, coconut oil is very stable, stores well, and is suitable for cooking. The word “saturated” used to be scary. We now know that saturated fats have taken the hit for the problems caused by other fats plus carbs. And the fats in coconut oil (meaning also in raw, shredded coconut) are special. These saturated fats are different. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are easy to absorb, digest, transport, and metabolize in the body.

Unlike other saturated fats, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil slightly speed up the body’s metabolism. Seriously. This fat is used by the body to produce energy rather than being stored as fat. As a bonus, the MCT’s are also good for your brain. For those of you who like “to make stuff” here is a great list for you!

Now for some fun with this!

Coconut Oil and Health Care
  • Moisturizer (and it does not promote pore clogging and acne as you would think it might).
  • Hair intense moisturizing pre-treatment prior to showering and washing hair.
  • Treatment for dry cuticles.
  • Chapped lips. Instant moisture. Hey as long as you have your “personal container out”, why not?  (Yes I do these and the two pet care things below but can’t figure out how to stop the licking of the paws!)
  • Other anecdotal uses I’ll give you a link for but I cannot vouch for them medically.
Pet Care

Comb a little coconut  oil lightly through any pet’s coat for a tamer and more glossy coat. It is good for dry/cracked paws if you can keep the doggie tongues away! As a little “aside”, as long as we’re talking pets, try a little eucalyptus oil rub-down to kill any dust mites your pet might be harboring.

Whey Protein

Whey protein has undergone extensive study, revealing an  array of benefits. It’s a  high-quality, easily digestible protein so  it’s an ideal complement to strength training  promoting both muscle growth=more lean body mass and human growth hormone production.

It is high in branched chain aminos which are great for weight loss and muscle building. Studies show using the best type of whey protein in our diets combined with BCAA and glutamine supplementation also:

  • Supports normal blood sugar levels and boost insulin sensitivity in those with Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Helps to lower blood pressure if you’re overweight and/or hypertensive.
  • Is a natural appetite suppressant.
  • Boosts your immune system and also boosts precious glutathione levels.
  • Reduces inflammation in the body.
  • Reduces inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Helps to normalize your weight. Not only is whey protein very filling, thereby reducing hunger pangs, it also boosts metabolism a bit, allowing you to burn more calories.
  • Of all protein sources it’s the best for bodybuilding. It  helps maintain muscle mass while you get rid of excess fat stores.
 Whey Products to Avoid

Whey proteins derived from ultrapasteurized milk and/or processed using acid are unhealthy. Heat and acid damages the protein and makes it insoluble in water. This is one of the main ways to differentiate high quality whey protein from inferior quality powders.

Whey protein isolates should also be avoided. The isolates are absent of important nutritional co-factors. These include naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and fats, which are lost in the processing. More importantly, once the fat is removed from whey protein isolate, you lose  the most important components of its immune system (and brain health) protective properties. Check your whey protein from, say GNC- it’s likely to be an “isolate”. Throw it out and get exactly what you need.

Products containing genetically modified soy lecithin, polysorbate 80, hydrolyzed proteins (which are often-MSG in disguise) should clearly be avoided. Ingredients such as  maltodextrin, propylene glycol, ethoxylated mono-diglycerides and caseinates should not be on your whey protein labels. Finally, ingredients such as sugar, and/or artificial sweeteners (e.g.: sucralose and aspartame) are also “chemical” and toxic.

So What’s a Good Whey?

You always want to fine a whey protein concentrate. High quality whey protein concentrates contains glutamylcysteine, the major precursor to glutathione which  is the most important intra-cellular antioxidant. You want to fine cold pressed or really minimally processed whey. You want it to be made from unpasteurized (raw) milk from grass fed cows.

This means it is  water soluble, and highly digestible. Look for medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), not long chain fatty acids. You also want it to be certified organic and naturally sweetened, with a creamy texture. You don’t want to see evidence of  hormones, chemicals, sugar or sugar substitutes. Pure stevia leaf extract is totally fine.

Using your Whey Protein Concentrate

You’re in a hurry: Almond or cashew milk, fresh/frozen with no additives (specifically no guar gum and no cargeenan), organic berries, ice and a packet of pure stevia. This is a great blender drink.

You’re in a hurry: Your cashew milk, whey protein concentrate, a TBSP of cacao powder +pure stevia powder in a shaker cup with some ice cubes.

Cocoa Flavanols

Cocoa flavanols have been linked to improved circulation and heart health. Preliminary research shows a possible connection to memory improvement also. A study showed cocoa flavanols may improve the function of a specific part of the brain called the dentate gyrus, which is associated with age-related memory loss/retention. The easiest way to get your cocoa flavanols is  to have a daily 85% dark chocolate square. Note that you can be on a weight loss plan and still get your daily fix of dark chocolate!

 Two Truly Amazing Superfoods to Boost your Health when you just don’t have time

Yes- this last section is going to sound “promotional” but there are other products “out there” and I’m trying to introduce you to the concept of either “juicing” or using a healthy powdered vegetable/fruit drink for superfood insurance.

In a perfect world you would eat a healthy diet every day. You would make sure it was a diet that didn’t cause inflammation. You would eat 12-15 servings of fruits and veggies with many from this list every single day. But guess what? Life just isn’t perfect and almost no one can consume every nutrient they need. That’s why the antioxidant rich AWS Superfood powders make my personal  list of the very top superfoods. Imagine if you could indeed eat everything on this list daily plus have a superfood drink each day. Wow!

If you are not eating 12-15 servings of vegetables and fruits daily and/or are exposed to toxins or pollution you are going to have some oxidative stress. If you don’t know it already- just know that OS is associated with heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more. You can rest easy if you have a healthy drink each morning.  I’m going to tell you about the products I use for myself and my family but go ahead and look at labels to see if you can find anything comparable- I can’t.

These powders are simply dried and pulverized fruits, vegetables and herbs. They are of course all non- GMO, organic, with no added sugar (there is some pure stevia) and is just like getting a huge serving of the phytonutrients (not just vitamins like you find in pills) and more that you find in fresh, whole fruits and veggies. Again- I’m just pointing out that either juicing or using dried fruits/veggies is a great fall-back position for oxidative stress on a daily basis, so look for these ingredients if you are shopping around.

AWS Red SuperFood™ Fruit & Vegetable Resveratrol Supplement

AWS Red SuperFood™ has you covered when it comes to fruits; and then some. AWS Red SuperFood™ is packed with super fruits and vegetables, with a very high concentration of antioxidant berries. We didn’t stop there; we added some resveratrol  and a highly bioavailable vitamin C. In each serving of AWS Red Superfood™ you get the antioxidant power of ten servings of the following ingredients:

•Wellberry™a combination of Amla fruit (Indian gooseberry) and a patented form of vitamin C that you can actually absorb

•Pomegranate •Lemon •Cranberry •Chokeberry •Pumpkin •Blueberry •Elderberry •Cherry •Black currents •Hibiscus
•Apple •Carrot •Tomato •Spinach •Broccoli

AWS Green SuperFood™ Green Powder Supplement

Everyone knows we all need dark, leafy greens to stay healthy, but most of us don’t have the time, budget or the taste buds to get the full spectrum every day. Did you know we need 5 times as many vegetables today to make up for the nutrients lacking in our soil? No matter if you are good at getting whole foods into your diet or not, we all could use the extra nutrients from a vegetable supplement.

In just one serving of “greens”, you get the antioxidant power of 10 servings from 55 different ingredients. This green powder supplement is truly a powerhouse of nutrition and wellness, made easy. Plus it’s a natural detox duet to some of the ingredients. The cool thing is, we take it a few steps farther than any other  “greens powders” and we make sure your body actually absorbs it.

The take-away

You’re health-conscious if you took the time to read this article and have arrived to this point. I have found that the secret to consuming the foods on this list is to see what you can combine. For instances, walnuts and blueberries are a “match.” Spinach, broccoli and kale can be steamed together–you just need to put the broccoli on the bottom and see how much longer it takes.

For dessert- a square of chocolate sandwiched between two walnuts is delicious. Finally-call me crazy, but I take sardines, chop them up, add chopped almonds, EV coconut and olive oil, lemon juice and a mashed avocado as my “sardine salad.” If you are brave enough to try that one, please let me know!

References:

American Journal of Medicine Sep 2006, 119(9):751-9

 Lipids Jul 2009, 44(7):593-601

Ros E. Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients. 2010 Jul;2(7):652-82.

Vinson JA, Cai Y. Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits. Food Funct. 2012 Feb;3(2):134-40.

Scalbert A, Johnson IT, Saltmarsh M. Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1 Suppl):215S-7S.

Banel DK, Hu FB. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):56-63.

Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Willis LM. Grape juice, berries, and walnuts affect brain aging and behavior. J Nutr. 2009 Sep;139(9):1813S-7S.

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