The following fact sheets contain information about some of Nature’s food heros. i.e. Marine Phytoplankton, mangosteen etc. These are what I call easy wins when it comes to eating a nutrient rich diet and can turn a so-so meal into a powerhouse.
Some are exotic and some are everyday – and some you might not have heard of be aware of the many different ways they benefit our health. Reading about these foods is an education in itself, and will get you wanting to try them for yourself! Read on…..
Acai Berry Also called ‘The Tree of Life’ acai berries are indigenous the Amazon and are packed full of amazing nutrition.
Acerola Cherry The acerola cherry is from a different species to traditional cherries and is also called the West Indian cherry or myrtle, or the Barbados Cherry…
Alfalfa Alfalfa has been known for centuries as a nutrient-rich wonder food and has been called ‘the king of all foods’ – and yet is best known as cattle fodder!!!
Aloe Vera The distinctive aloe vera plant is an East African native which is now found around the world, equally at home in the garden as it is in a pot on the kitchen window sill. Considered the ‘plant of immortality’ by many native cultures it has a lot to offer us.
Apple It is thought that the modern domesticated apple came from wild ancestors from Central Asia originally, and is probably the earliest tree to be cultivated. It is a fruit we are so familiar with we under estimate its potential for health.
Banana Some biblical scholars argue that the fruit Eve tasted in the Garden of Eden was not an apple, but the much more suggestively shaped banana! Whatever the truth is, bananas are highly nutritious and healthy.
Barley Grass Barley is one of the most nutritious grasses on the planet, and is a powerhouse of nutrition that has been used by the human race for thousands of years, offering the perfect mixture of protein and nutrients.
Bee Pollen Bee pollen is considered to be one of nature’s most nourishing foods, and is made by honeybees as the food for young bees. It contains almost all the nutrients needed by a human being and is one of the most complete superfoods in nature.
Beetroot A tuberous root vegetable, which originally evolved from wild sea beet. It may look tough, but beetroot is a delicate vegetable with a unique group of antioxidant known as betacyanins.
Bilberry The antioxidant properties of bilberries is one of the strongest of all the berries, and bilberries are recognised as being more potent than their better known cousins, the blueberry.
Blackberry Packed with numerous plant nutrients essential for optimum health, blackberries have been used as both food and medicine in Europe for over 2,000 years.
Blueberry Native to North America, these little berries are Nature’s survivors, the bushes able to come back even after a fire, and are potent antioxidants, valued both for their nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Broccoli A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is grown for its nutritious flower heads. It is an all-purpose multi-vitamin for the body, with lots of bioavailable trace minerals and nutrients in a balance it is hard to match.
Buckwheat Growing well in inhospitable terrains buckwheat is not a grain, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb.
Burdock Root This tenacious plant is considered a weed by farmers, and many gardeners, but it is an absolute boon to those in the natural health field. It is safe, tasty and a very effective detoxifying and cleansing herb, treasured in both Western and Traditional Chinese medicine alike.
Cacao Cacao makes chocolate – in fact cacao IS chocolate, and it is packed full of wonderful health-giving qualities than make it a true superfood.
Carrots Sometimes called ‘The King of Vegetables, the properties of carrots are such that studies have suggested that eating as little as one carrot a day could cut the levels of lung cancer in half, but that is only the tip of how they can help.
Chaga Mushrooms Called the ‘King of the Medicinal Mushrooms’ chaga is a parasitic/symbiotic fungus which grows on birch trees throughout North America, Eastern Europe and Asia, and is much prized for it’s powerful healing properties – indeed it is said to be the most powerful healing fungus on earth.
Cherries There are many different sub-species of cherries, producing both tart and sweet fruits, and the colour varies from dark red, through bright red to yellow and red varieties. Studies have shown that the darker the colour the more beneficial compounds the cherry contains, but the real value of this fruit is in the various anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, anti-cancer compounds that it contains.
Coconut A coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm, which has been called one of Nature’s wonders, and it has provided nourishment and health as well a beauty benefits. It is said to have over 1,000 uses.
Cranberries Best known for their infection-fighting power and their antioxidant boost cranberries have a wide range of benefits to offer.
Flaxseed Almost every part of the flax plant is useful, with the seeds being found in small pods containing several brown or golden seeds each. Also known as linseeds they are the richest source of the cancer-fighting phytochemicals called lignans., as well as being an excellent fibre and omega 3 source.
Goji Berry Also called wolfberry, and gou qi zi goji berries are delicious little berries that don’t store well so are usually eaten dried. They grow in temperate and subtropical regions of China, Mongolia and Tibet, and are a member of the nightshade family.
Grapeseed Extract Grape seed extract is a derivative, as its name suggests, of whole grape seeds and has a powerful antioxidant effect within the body, as well as anti-allergenic, anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.
Maca Maca is grown in the high Andes, is a native of Peru and has been cultivated for thousands of years for its life-enhancing properties that are only just beginning to be explored in the West.
Mango Known as the ‘King of Fruit’, if you’ve ever had a mango it is easy to see why. They are also a ‘high volume’ food, containing a high percentage of water so the ratio of calories to weight is relatively low – 135 calories on average per mango.
Mangosteen Used both as a food and a traditional medicine, mangosteen is a tropical fruit originating from southeast Asia. The mangosteen fruit consists of 3 major parts: The pericarp or rind, the pulp which is known for being one of the tastiest fruits in the world and the seeds.
Marine Phytoplankton Marine phytoplankton is considered to be one of the most powerful foods on the Earth. Why? Because it is loaded with high-energy super antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and proteins as well as all sorts of other goodies.
Millet An ancient grain, which is an interesting alternative to the more common grains, and is technically a seed.
Papaya Known also as Paw Paw or Melon Tree, Papaya is native to the American tropics and the plant is more truly a herb than a tree. Almost every part of the plant can be used although, in the West, we tend to only focus on the brightly coloured orange flesh, which tastes delicious!
Peach Native to China, technically peaches are a ‘drupe’ and from the same family as plums, nectarines, almonds and damsons. Whilst they may not be the brightest star in the superfoods category, they are a good all round healthy food choice, ticking all the necessary boxes – and tasting delicious!
Pineapple The only edible member of the bromeliad family, made up of individual flowerets that grow together to form the entire fruit, it is both unique in its looks and a rich source of the enzyme bromelain.
Pomegranate One of the oldest cultivated fruits, pomegranate first grew in ancient Persia, and has spread around the Mediterranean region, being used as a folk medicine for thousands of years. We now know they are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world and rightly deserve their name ‘nature’s power fruit’.
Propolis Propolis is a kind of resin which bees gather from tree buds and bark. It is highly antiseptic and antibacterial, as well as being antifungal, and enable bees to keep the hive free from disease. They also use it to line the cells of the honeycomb, and to seal it up.
Prunes Prunes are actually the dried version of European plums, and are increasingly being called dried plums. They are a good way to reap the benefit of plums all year round, and are renowned for helping to promote healthy bowel function!
Quinoa Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is native to South America that is being shown to have amazing nutritional benefits. Often classified as a grain, it is technically a seed, and is unusual in that it is considered a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids.
Raspberry One of the most popular berry fruits, raspberries are grown all over the world, and are bursting with goodness and a high fibre powerhouse. As well as the well-known red raspberry, the black raspberry is also being shown to have potent properties.
Red Grapes Regarded by many cultures as ‘the queen of fruits’, grapes are native to European and Mediterranean regions. Red grapes are particularly high in the potent antioxidant resveratrol, reputed to be one of the best anti-ageing substances around, as well as heart healthy and cancer preventive.
Royal Jelly Royal jelly is a special creamy substance synthesized from a combination of pollen and honey within the bodies of a special group of nurse worker bees that stimulates the growth and development of the Queen Bee.
Spirulina Spirulina is one of the single-celled, blue-green microalgae family, and grows in fresh water. Amongst the first simple life forms on the plant, algae are packed with goodness. The green colour of spirulina is derived from chlorophyll, whilst the blue colour comes from the pigment phycocyanin.
Strawberry Although wild varieties are sometimes available, most strawberries are produced using the ‘plasticulture’ system in raised beds, and are cultivated worldwide for its fruit, which offer a real health bonanza, and are the only fruit to have seeds on their exterior.
Super Blue Green Algae AFA Super Blue-Green Algae is a form of microalgae which is harvested from Upper Lake Klamath in Oregon. This is a wild harvested super algae from a 125 square mile lake which sits at 4,100 feet above sea level and is one of the most nutrient-rich lakes in the world.
Tomatoes Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade or Solanaceae family of vegetables and although considered a vegetable by many, are technically a fruit, which doesn’t just come in the standard red colour but also yellow, orange and purple.
Turmeric Turmeric is great for just about any aspect of our well-being. It comes as a root, or rhizome, much like ginger, and can be used in the same way – peeled, then grated, chopped, sliced or ground. The dried turmeric most of us are familiar with for cooking is made by boiling the roots for several hours and then drying them and grinding them to the familiar golden-yellow powder.