You don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right. – Unknown
We have all heard the phrase “superfood.” This catchy phrase seems to be at the heart of every health talk. Examples of these foods include chia and flax seed, bone broth, acai, turmeric and sauerkraut. Of course when fancy health vocabulary starts getting tossed around like “keto” or “vegan,” it’s only natural to question its relevance and authenticity. So, is the term “superfood” just a catchy marketing phrase to lure the health conscious…those hopeful to smooth the weathering of age and add additional years to their lives? Or can superfoods actually help us become healthier? In this post, I will explain what superfoods are (a.k.a booster foods), the benefits of a superfood and why one should one eat superfoods everyday for optimal health.
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What are Superfoods?
Let’s start by calling superfoods–Booster Foods–because that is exactly what superfoods do–they give the body a boost. The phrase “booster food” was actually coined by Dr. Ed Bauman (M.Ed, Ph.D), who founded Bauman College, where I trained as a holistic nutritionist.
Booster foods have a much higher nutrient and mineral content (i.e. vitamins and minerals) that can boost your body in times of greater demand, such as stress or illness, and provide nutrients for storage when your body doesn’t need as much. – Dr. Ed Bauman
Superfoods [Booster Foods] are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life, and people who eat more of then are healthier and thinner than those who don’t. – Health Magazine
So these foods actually act as promoters of additional vitamin and mineral support. When I first learned about booster foods as promoters of optimal nutrients, I thought, boy oh boy, these foods are like vitamins without having to take a pill. What can be better than this when the Standard American Diet leaves us nutrient deficient + obese and allopathic doctors hand out pills as band-aids. Both “Natural” and “Allopathic” medicine practices encourage pills and supplements, which can get confusing, costly and take up a lot of space. But, if we’re simply lacking vitamins and minerals, lets empower ourselves first, to start at the root of which vitamins and minerals come from–REAL FOOD! And let’s maximize our supply of nutrients with the addition of booster foods! (Bauman, 2015)
How Often Should I Consume Booster Foods?
We have established that superfoods or booster foods can actually provide an increase in nutrient support to the body, which aides in supporting all systems. Now, for the next important question: how often and how many booster foods do I need to eat everyday? OOOOhhh fun! Did she say, “eat everyday”…love this so much better than a pill! Yep, booster foods can be incorporated into the diet on a daily basis and can actually provide an extra boost of energy in the morning upon rising or most importantly at that 3 o’clock hour when the “sails are losing wind,” so to say.
Instead of reaching for that extra cup of coffee (caffeine) or piece of chocolate or bread (sugar) it’s much more beneficial to reach for foods such as lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, sea vegetables (spirulina, chlorella and seaweed), nuts and seeds (chia, flax, hemp and walnuts), broths and herbal or green teas. Just to highlight lacto-fermented foods, these are foods that actually help our body to extract the vitamins and minerals from our food more efficiently. Think supercharge power!
Examples of Booster Foods
- Lacto-fermented vegetables (sauerkraut)
- Organic Fruits & Vegetables
- Herbs & Spices (fresh or dried)
- Sea Vegetables (spirulina, chlorella & seaweeds)
- Nuts & Seeds (chia, flax, hemp & walnuts)
- Meat, Fish & Vegetable Broths (organic, pastured)
- Herbal, Black and Green Teas (organic varieties)
Supercharged Booster Foods
- Manuka Honey (immune support)
- Acai & Noni (antioxidant support)
- Moringa Powder (anti-cancer)
- Maca Powder (hormone support)
- Camu Camu (high vitamin C)
- Amla Powder (high vitamin C)
- Barley Grass Juice Powder
- Matcha Tea (antioxidant support)
- *Chaga Mushroom (immune support)
- Goji Berries (antioxidant support)
- Mulberries (high vitamin C)
- Cacao Powder (antioxidant support)
- **Bees Pollen & Royal Jelly (immune support)
*Tastes like coffee, without the caffeine! My personal favorite.
**It’s best to purchase bees pollen locally from a trusted source to attain the best allergy and immune system support. Allergens and pollen are localized and therefore depend on what is in your immediate environment.
I like to put 2-3 of the above foods in my morning smoothie (at 1 tsp increments) to ensure I am getting an extra kick of immune and antioxidant support. If you are the type of person who must have a cup of caffeine in the morning to wake up, I would highly suggest trying out chaga or matcha tea, as they are much more beneficial for health and will also give you the coffee effect. Read more about the health benefits of manuka honey here.
Examples of Everyday Booster Foods
So now that we know how beneficial booster foods are and how they can provide the missing nutrients from our sub-par Standard American diets (a.k.a the SAD diet), let’s talk about ways you can easily incorporate them into your daily routines and the optimal serving size. A little bit goes a long way, so no need to over do it.
- Breakfast Boosters: Add 2-3 tbs of chia for extra magnesium or hemp seeds for a boost of protein and/or 1-2 tsp of ground flax (boost of omega 3’s) to your smoothie, yogurt, porridge or oatmeal. Other smoothie boosters: 1 tsp of chlorella, maca, barley grass juice powder or spirulina. Add 1/8 tsp of granulated seaweed flakes like kelp, nori or dulse (boost of minerals + iodine) to your omelette or fried eggs. Sprinkle 1-2 tbs of nutritional yeast for an extra boost of B vitamins on frittatas or scrambles.
- Lunch Boosters: Sprinkle 1/8 tsp of seaweed on top of wild salmon. Add 1-2 tbs of hemp seeds on top of a sardine or fresh vegetable salad. Soups with delicious spices like turmeric and cayenne (I love lentil soup with these two herbs). A variety of colorful fresh sautéed veggies with your favorite dried or fresh herbs with a dash of seaweed or sea salt (extra minerals and iodine).
- Snack Boosters: Handful or 1/4 cup of mixed nuts and seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, almonds, Brazil nuts (my favorite) or pistachios. For a sweeter compliment, include 1-2 tbs of goji berries (high in antioxidants), dried blueberries or mulberries. Also a piece of fruit, such as a banana or apple paired with a nut butter like almond or sunflower (boost of protein and fat). Even Brazil nuts paired with 1-2 ounces of raw cacao chocolate is a healthy snack rich in magnesium, healthy fat and protein. Don’t forget herbal teas, which are amazing for additional vitamin, minerals and antioxidant support.
- Dinner Boosters: Cover your fried chicken (of course fried in a healthy coconut or red palm oil) with dried granulated kelp–you’ve got healthy fried chicken! Risotto and veggies with the addition of 1-2 tbs of nutritional yeast (boost of B vitamins) and lots of dried herbs, like rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage. Cucumber and tomato salad with fresh herbs of dill and thyme. A wild Atlantic fish or organic grass-fed pastured meat with 1-2 tbs of sauerkraut and 2 cups of cooked or 1 cup of raw leafy greens!
You just can’t go wrong with incorporating booster foods into your diet on a daily basis. Booster foods provide the missing vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols that an outdated Westernized diet simply lacks, due to soil depletion and industrialized conventional farming practices. What’s even better is you’ll find you don’t go through booster foods as fast as other foods because a little does go a long way. So stock your cupboards and pantries with all the aforementioned booster foods, along with the foods I mention below. Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have questions.
In divine health,
Bauman, Ed. & Friedlander, J. (2015) “Foundations of Nutrition.” Bauman College: Penngrove , CA.