With all of those headlines on the web trying to spread some wealth about health, the term “superfood” has become something of a buzzword. In essence, it encompasses a food that is just so unbelievably good for you that it will negate all of the donuts you ate the day before. People will begin to tell you that you look like you’re “glowing,” which you can then attribute to all those wheatgrass shots. That $50 bag of magic powder will cure all that ails you. You’ll be brimming with antioxidants… because that’s probably a thing, right?
Well, no. “Superfood” is a vague term, and it should be taken with a grain of salt. Really, all fruits and vegetables are superfoods! They’re all colorful, nutrient-dense foods full of necessary vitamins and minerals which should constitute them as “super.” Let’s consider this common knowledge, though, and move through a few lesser known superfoods that are worthy of their title.
- Consider this the most natural protein powder on the market. If you’re looking for a way to sneak more protein into the diet, a tablespoon of gelatin packs in an easily absorbed 11 grams! That’s impressive. The amino acids will help to build and repair muscle.
- Hair and nails! Gelatin is great for beauty. It supports hair and nail growth and makes it all stronger. It’s also great for glowing skin. You can improve your (already) good looks by consuming it as a food or using recipes for beauty treatments.
- You can make SO MANY THINGS! Gelatin turns things into jello, naturally. This means healthy, nourishing candies, marshmallows, and puddings for days. We all want a superfood that turns junk food into something we can feel good about eating!
2. Bone Broth
- Bone broth heals! Repeat this one over and over ’til it sticks. You know how they say to eat chicken soup when you’re sick? The answer is in the broth. A good base will be packed with all the good things your body needs to get better and recover.
- MINERALS! Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium are abundant in slow-simmered, homemade bone broth. As with any superfood, these minerals are very easily absorbed by the body from this source. What’s the point in eating a “superfood” if your body can’t access all the goodness?
- Bones are packed with protein. By volume, bones are 50% protein or more. This is nature’s natural supplement.
- Broth is great for digestion. This is especially helpful if you’re suffering from common yet inconvenient conditions such as IBS, acid reflux, or FODMAP intolerance.
- Probiotics! You can take a pill or you can have a glass of ‘buch everyday instead. Probiotics will aid healthy digestion, improve mental clarity, prevent yeast overgrowth, and even make you HAPPIER. Awesome stuff, right?
- All that good bacteria in kombucha will help to heal the gut. Our guts are sensitive! The gut is the main connector between the inside of the body and the outside world which means it’s quite vulnerable to things that are less-than-ideal. We can make up for the bad bacteria by feeding it the good stuff.
- If you can get your hands on a SCOBY, this stuff is easy and cheap to make at home! It’s simply brewed tea that you leave sit out on a counter for awhile to get all that good stuff going on inside. The best part? You can make it whatever flavor you want. There’s no excuse not to be sippin’ on this superfood.
- Liver is the most concentrated food source of vitamin-A. Vitamin-A is good for the immune system, the skin, and bone health.
- Your body can REALLY use this source of iron. When you consume iron from an animal source, your body will absorb 15 to 35 percent of it which is a far stretch from plant sources! Just be careful – goose liver, for example, contains a LOT more iron than beef liver. It can be dangerous to eat every day.
- 100 grams of beef liver contains over 100 mcg. of vitamin-B12! In comparison to red meat which contains a mere 1.84 mcg for the same serving, this is HUGE. B-12 is great for metabolism and energy.
- Offal encompasses all organ meats. The most commonly eaten organ meat is liver, often fried with onions or pureed into a pate to spread on crudites or bread. Don’t limit yourself, though; you can eat heart, kidney, and even testicles, all of which are nutrient-dense foods. It’s probably best to begin your introduction with liver. Here’s a great recipe for a first-timer: The Paleo Mom’s Hidden Liver Meatloaf.
- Worried about not getting enough calcium? It’s a legitimate concern, especially for those of us who choose not to consume dairy. Seaweed actually contains 10x as much calcium as milk serving for serving. That’s enough to get your intake for the day!
- Chlorophyll, which is found in all green plant foods, is super concentrated in seaweed. It’s good for controlling hunger and cravings, detoxing the body, and encouraging healing.
- It’s a rich source of iodine which is lacking in many other foods besides salt. Iodine is especially critical for thyroid function which can be the root of many hormone problems and seemingly unrelated symptoms.
- Seaweed can be eaten dried or fresh. You can often find seaweed snacks in the ethnic foods aisle at the grocery store or at health food stores. Kelp noodles and nori wraps (like in sushi) are just a few delicious ways to get more seaweed into the diet!