“Superfoods” is a buzz word in the Raw vegan world, but it’s usually referring to some exotic ingredient such as maca or goji berries. But, what earns the right to be classified as a “superfood?” Does it have to be hard to get? Not at the common store? Full of mystical powers – or at least it makes you feel as such? Or, does it just mean that it’s chock full of awesome compounds including precious antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals?
I came across an article, Top 10 Superfoods for Winter and I wanted to share some of it here. The following list includes some foods you might not have considered “superfoods” in the past if you got caught up in the typical sexy superfood whirlwind we frequently hear about in Raw circles. However, these foods deserve some cheers and should be included.
I was excited upon reading the article that eight of the ten foods listed can easily be consumed Raw. Sa-weet! Here are some bits from the article, along with my own spin on things, including links to recipes of mine featuring some of the superfoods. Enjoy!
Cinnamon has always been one of my mom’s favorite spices so she has been adding it to her recipes for most of my life. So much so that my brother and I started teasing her about it when we were growing up. Well, well, well… what do ya know? It turns out that mom knows best (sorry, Mom, it took me twenty-some years to come to this realization!). It’s been said that the compounds in cinnamon can help moderate blood sugar, improve capillary function, fight candida and inflammation, improve digestion, and may help reduce blood pressure. Cinnamon rocks the house!
Here is a recipe to get you started adding more cinnamon to your life: Blissed Out Chocolate Runner’s Smoothie.
According to the article, “Pecans have shown to significantly lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL. Frequent consumption of nuts is associated with a lowered risk of sudden cardiac death and other coronary heart disease, as well as a lower risk of Type II diabetes in women.”
Here is an easy and delicious cookie recipe that people love love love! Pecan Spice Delight Cookies.
The article also stated that “a Penn State-led review of the available evidence from 66 published studies, supports the view that consuming flavonoid-rich chocolate, in moderation, can be associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Chocolate that is minimally processed and has the highest cocoa content (which means the darkest chocolate) has the highest level of flavonoids. With dark chocolate, even eating as little as 30 calories per day can have a moderate effect. (But more can make you really happy.)”
I totally agree with the author there! For a truly decadent experience with plenty of Raw vegan chocolate, you gotta make this recipe: Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.
The article mentions consuming pomegranates in the form of juice, but in my opinion, the pomegranate is best experienced in the whole form, i.e. the seeds. I want to feel spoonful after spoonful of juicy seeds burst in my mouth. My ritual of many years is donning a t-shirt that I’m happy to stain with pomegranate juice, as I seed 2-3 pomegranates at a time. I carry my bowl of precious seeds upstairs and I take pleasure in them as I enjoy a long, warm bath. That being said, I do realize the juice is much easier to come by year round.
In the Greek myth of Persephone, the pomegranate is called the fruit of the underworld. This legend tells the story that Persephone was bound to hell because she ate a pomegranate seed(s) from Hades. I don’t know about you, but a pomegranate might just be worth it… to me they’re glamorous and sensuous. Cutting into a pomegranate is like opening a treasure chest…inside you find brilliantly sparkling, sweet-tart flavored ruby-like seeds.
The joy doesn’t stop there though. The pomegranate has anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of anti-oxidants. It offers you potassium, vitamin C and niacin, making this labor intensive fruit worth the effort.
Apples are awesome. I mean, hello, an apple graces the cover of Twilight! But seriously, apples are filled with antioxidants for helping fight cancer and improve cardiovascular health. But, that’s not all. Apples also contain pectin (a great source of soluble fiber), bone-building boron, and Vitamin C. If you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to selecting which variety of apple you enjoy, consider this – Red Delicious apples are reputed for having the highest levels of anti-oxidants.
Here is a great green smoothie recipe that includes both apples and cinnamon!
Fluffy Green Smoothie
Yield 1 serving
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 handfuls spinach
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend it up and enjoy!
Blueberries are crazy awesome for you. They’re rich in phytonutrients and shown to be some major brain food from an anti-aging perspective. In fact, they may help keep your memory sharp. The next time you forget where you park your car, eat some extra blueberries. However, there’s more to blueberries than just some brain power… Wild blueberries, in particular, are shown to help improve eyesight by reducing eye strain and improving night vision. Total score – Night Vision! Next time you want your kids (or husband – haha) to eat healthier, give them a bowl of blueberries and tell them it’ll help their night vision. :) I’ll bet they gobble them up without a second thought.
All in all, blueberries rock. They are so good for you. And, I’ve read that you can get these benefits by eating fresh or frozen blueberries (get the “wild” ones if you can). This makes eating blueberries year round much easier.
No recipe here… I just eat them straight up by the bowl!
Prunes (dried plums) are not just for shuffle board players. They’re a force to be reckoned with and should be enjoyed by people of all ages. Prunes are loaded with antioxidants (LOTS!), fiber, vitamins A & C, potassium, iron and more.
Updated 2/8: And, check this out… Plums Poised To Give Blueberries Run For The Money.
Although, I typically eat prunes by themselves, here is a delicious dressing recipe with prunes: Creamy Kickin’ Dressing.
According to the article, “A New York Times article in December suggests that cabbage is the most important [vegetable] in the world from the point of view of nutritional benefits and cancer-fighting ability. Cabbage possesses phytochemicals including sulforaphane, which studies suggest protects the body against cancer-causing free radicals, and indoles, which help metabolize estrogens. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins K and C, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, manganese and Omega 3 fatty acids.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself! Now, most people associate cabbage recipes with cole slaw. And, it’s definitely a good source for it. However, to concentrate lots of those valuable nutrients in one serving, I also get my cabbage in the form of fresh organic Plant Blood. When I juice it, I include lots of purple cabbage, an apple or two, a carrot or two, and fresh ginger.
So, there you have it. 8 great superfoods for winter (and year round if you ask me!).