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10 Superfoods for Better Health, Fast Weight Loss, and Increased Energy

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“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ~La Rochefoucauld

My friends, we live in exceptional times. For the first time in human history, we have access to the greatest foods from every region in the world.

Think about it. Through globalisation, “superfoods”, which have been revered in their home country for thousands of years, have recently appeared on the shelves of stores around us.  Now more than ever, it’s within our power to create the best diet of all-time. What an incredible opportunity!

As David Wolfe writes in Superfoods, “Extremely tasty and satisfying, superfoods have the ability to tremendously increase the vital force and energy of one’s body, and are the optimum choice for improving overall health, boosting the immune system, elevating serotonin production, enhancing sexuality, and cleansing and alkalising the body”. 

While I was living in Australia, I had the chance to work alongside two foremost Superfoods expert, Catherine Narbett & Willow Francis. I learned a lot from them, and I spent a lot of time researching & experimenting on my own. Along the way, I made some great discoveries and totally revamped my diet.

Today, I want to  present to you what I believe to be the Top 10 Superfoods in the world, based on 3 criteria:

1) Nutritional Value

2) Taste

3)  Convenience

In my world, the foods we eat should not only be great for us, but they should also taste good and be easy to prepare. The following 10 foods all fit this bill.

Sounds good? Let’s jump in!

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10. Sweet Potatoes/Yams 

Sweet potatoes are the dream vegetable: they’re healthy, they look cool and they’re SWEET! How I was not introduced to them as a kid is beyond me, but as a grown-up I’m more than making up for it. I’ve been having at least 2 big sweet potatoes every week for the last year.

As displayed by their bright orange coloured, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene & other nutrients (as a general rule, the more colourful a vegetable, the higher it’s nutritional value). Despite their sweet taste, they’re a long-lasting source of energy (Glycemic Index = 50) and they combine very well with cinnamon, which is known to regulate insulin levels and reduce energy fluctuations.

If you’ve had sweet potato fries, you know that they’re to die for. Making a low-fat version at home is very easy. Sweet potatoes can also be baked whole or used just like any other potato. Since I’ve discovered them, I’ve replaced “normal” potatoes with the sweet version at every occasion and I encourage you to do the same.



 

9. Matcha Green Tea

While tea isn’t technically a food, Matcha green tea is so nutrient-rich & health-enhancing that I consider it as such (it’s also one of my great allies in my regular bouts of Intermittent Fasting). Made from high-quality Gyokuro green tea leaves that are crushed and pulverized, Matcha Green Tea was first used in Japan over 800 years ago. The Zen monks who consumed it noticed they had better concentration and felt particularly alert after drinking a cup.

Nowadays, Matcha is still used in traditional tea ceremonies in Japan, but the Western world is catching on.  We’ve discovered that one cup of Matcha is roughly equivalent to 10 cups of normal green tea in terms of phytonutrients & antioxidants. It’s really like green tea on steroids.

To prepare it, simply add the Matcha powder to ~80 degree Celcius water. It results in a beautiful bright green liquid that can be enjoyed on its own or with a fresh squeeze of lemon and a drop of honey. The “zen” energy it provides last 6 hours and makes it the perfect drink to start the day.

Note: If you drink “normal” green tea, please do yourself a favour and go for the loose leaf tea. It tastes infinitely better & has much more health-enhancing properties than tea bags. 


8. Quinoa

Regarded as a sacred food by the Incas, quinoa makes a strong case as the best grain available today (Ok, technically it’s a seed but it’s used as a grain). Not only is it gluten-free, it’s also a complete protein, it’s high in several nutrients, it’s a great source of long-lasting energy (GI = 53).

Quinoa serves as a great replacement for rice, risotto, oats and pasta, and preparing quinoa is child’s play: simply boil it for about 15 minutes. I personally like to boil mine in chicken stock & mix it with lentils. If you want more elaborate quinoa recipes, check these out!


7. Avocados 

Oooh avocados. One of the joys of my life. From salads to sandwiches, their creamy texture just melts in your mouth & makes everything better. I used to shy away from them because of their high-fat content, but I’ve since realised that they contain “good fat” and they’re actually beneficial to our health.

Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that helps lower cholesterol. In one study of people with moderately high cholesterol levels, individuals who ate a diet high in avocados showed clear health improvements. After seven days on the diet that included avocados, they had significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, along with an 11% increase in health promoting HDL cholesterol. Avocados also have the cool property of increasing the absorption of nutrients in vegetable they’re consumed with.

Avocados will greatly enhance the taste of any salad and they serve as a great replacement for mayo in a sandwich. The best time to eat them is when they’re “semi-soft”, and a good trick is to let them ripen on the counter and then put them in the fridge once they’re ready.

6. Spinach

Spinach is not sexy. It’s not glamourous. But it’s a hell of a food. It’s absolutely packed with nutrients & fibers, and it’s a great ally in any weight-loss program because it’s filling despite having almost no calories.

Over the last year, I’ve been having a spinach salad with almost every meal, and over time I’ve developed what I think is a great recipe.

As a fairly Alpha-Male, I never thought I’d be on the internet teaching people how to make salads but here we go, here it is:

Phil’s Kick Ass Salad

1. Put Desired Quantity of  Spinach in a bowl

2. Chop & Add:

Half an avocado
Green Onion/Shallots
4-5 strawberries
Handful of walnuts

 3. Make Homemade dressing

Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Dijon Mustard
Soy Sauce

4. Add Dressing

 5. ENJOY! 

Oh babyyyyy I’m excited for you guys to try this. They say you don’t make friends with salad but… I think the old adage might be proven wrong! :)

Having a fresh salad with every meal is a great habit to get into because not only does it ensure you eat your veggies, but it also provides you with plenty of digestive enzymes. This is important because when we cook foods, we de-activates the enzymes they contain, which makes it harder for our body to digest them. Raw veggies mitigate that and help us avoid the “post-meal energy crash”.

5. Maca Powder

Archelogical evidence shows that maca has been grown in the Peruvian Andes for approximately 2600 years. Legend has it that Incan warriors used to consume it before battle to increase their strength & stamina, but after conquering a city Maca was prohited to protect women from the warriors’ excessive sexual desires.

As you can see, Maca powder’s got quite a bit of gusto to it. Made from root that’s the highest cultivated crop in the world (3000-4000m altitude), Maca is a natural adaptogen (substance with a combination of therapeutic actions of the human body) and according to Dr. Gloria Chacon de Popovici, from the University of San Marcos in Peru, maca ” has a nigh nutritional value providing macro and micro nutrients, including 31 different minerals, to support the cellular structures and functioning in the body.”

Maca has a fairly good taste (hard to describe but i’d say it’s vaguely similar to rice pudding) and can easily be added to a smoothie, a bowl of cereal, some yogurt and even in stews.

4. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are finally gaining in popularity and this is great news for everyone. They’re one of nature’s most balanced food and will certainly improve the health of anyone who consumes them.

I’ve been eating Chia seeds for a while now, but  when I recently read the book Born to Run, my motivation to consume them greatly increased. In this book, we discover that the best super-long distance runners in the world (the Tarahumaras, a remote tribe from Mexico) use chia seeds as their secret weapon.

The reason they’re so good is because they offer a perfect blend of protein, fiber, and omega 3′s. The best thing about chia seeds is how easy they are to use. You can throw them in a smoothie, or add them to your cereals, oatmeal, salads or just about any meal. They are tasteless and so small you don’t even notice them.

Pick up a pack for 5$ and start using them, your body will thank you!

3. Coconut Oil

Coconuts are not only delicious, they’re also a phenomenal food and a central part of many people’s diet around the world. While their water is filled with electrolytes and can even be used as replacement for human plasma in case of emergencies, it’s the coconut’s oil that I find most interesting.

Much fanfare has been made about the virtues of olive oil in the past few years, but olive oil is not the best oil in the world. That title belongs to coconut oil. Not only does it have less calories per weight, it’s also fully heat-stable (olive oil gets broken down by heat), it contains lauric acid (a wonderful immune system booster), it’s easily converted into energy by the human body, it increases the absorption of omega 3′s, and it’s also a precursor to an anti-aging hormone called pregnenolone.

But the best part about Coconut oil? It’s been shown to stimulate the thyroid gland and increase our metabolism, which actually makes it a great weight-loss oil. That’s right, eating coconut oil will help you burn more calories and thus lose fat faster.

Coconut oil adds a mild tropical taste to any food you cook it with and it’s a great replacement to butter/margarine as a spread. All in all, coconut oil is awesome and will be a great addition to your diet.

2. Goji Berries

Goji Berries have been a food of choice in China, Mongolia, and Tibet for the last 5000 years. For the last 2500 years, it has even been given the appellation of “superfood” by the Tibeban School of Medicine in Lhassa. In the Chinese province of Niangxi, where most Goji berries are produced, there are more centenarians than anywhere else in China.

Clearly, there something special about these little red berries.

Goji berries, which are also an adaptogen, constitute a complete protein and contain no less than 21 trace minerals, including a hefty dose of brain-nourishing Vitamin B. It’s one of the highest sources of antioxidants in the world and its high content of polysaccharides does wonders for the immune system.

To make things better, goji berries are high in sesquiterpiniods, which have anti-inflammatory effects and have been shown to stimulate our pituitary & pineal glands for greater hormonal response.  

Goji Berries can be fairly pricy in some parts of the world, but here’s the secret: you only need to eat a handful of them a day to get their full benefits. You can add them in a trail mix (I do mine with almonds & dried cranberries), add them in a smoothie or a bowl of cereal.

To be honest, I was mildly unimpressed with their taste at first, but they have really grown on me and are now one of my favourite snacks.

1. Raw Cacao 

Raw Cacao, the unprocessed chocolate bean, is considered by David Wolfe and many other healthy food experts as the healthiest food in the world. 

Its resume is absolutely stunning:

It has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food known to man. As basis for comparison, it has 20 times more  antioxydants than dark chocolate, and about 15 times more than green tea and red wineIt also has the highest concentration of several key nutrients, including iron and magnesium. It possesses strong appetite-suppressant properties which means it a great part of a weight-loss program.

But the best thing about Raw Cacao is that it’s pretty much a super-healthy legal drug. Some of its compounds help our brain produce more “feel-good hormones” because it contains PEA (increases dopamine production), Tryptophan (increases serotonin production), and Anandamide (known as the “Bliss Chemical”-  it’s usually released when we are in love).

No wonder Cacao literally means “The Food of Gods” in the Aztec language and used to be more valuable than gold in parts of South America! The Cacao bean is one of the earth’s greatest gifts to us, and it’s greatly unfortunate that 99.9% of the world’s chocolate is produced using high-heat methods that destroy most of its exceptional properties.

In the next 10 years, I predict we will witness the great resurgence  of Raw Cacao. Get yours now, you’ll understand why it’s the Food of Gods, and soon you’ll be feeling goooood! :)

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Here you have it folks, my list of the top 10 Superfoods in the World. As a quick recap, here it is again:

10. Sweet Potatoes/Yams

9. Matcha Green Tea

8. Quinoa

7. Avocadoes

6. Spinach

5. Maca Powder

4. Chia Seeds

3. Coconut Oil

2. Goji Berries

1. Raw Cacao

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Combine these Superfoods with other fresh + unprocessed foods to create your own Feel Good Diet and before long you’ll be feeling great and setting yourself up an energy-filled life.

Good luck and… bon appétit! :)

Phil

PS I order all my Superfoods from Vitacost.com, as they have the best prices I’ve found anywhere online and they offer free shipping on order of more than $25. You can get $10 off your first order by using this link: http://www.vitacost.com/Referee?wlsrc=rsReferral&ReferralCode=3359625 .

Please share this post because that’s how more people can discover these amazing foods!

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Posted on : 26, Jan 2012

25 Comments

  • Sweet article. I linked it out and emailed it around. Definitely been digging on the super foods lately. Been working yams into my diet, I have 2tbs of chia seeds almost every morning, I eat atleast half an avocado a day and i usually eat a good amount of spinach. I’ll be switching out rice for quinoa for sure and i’ll definitely be picking up some raw cocoa to incorporate into my diet.
    Would have loved some links to products at the end of the descriptions.
    Again, great article, thank you!

    • Thanks Chris!

      Definitely sounds like you’re on the right path and with quinoa & raw cacao you’ll be balling! Didn’t include links to products because honestly I don’t know what the good companies are in the USA yet… only the Australian.. and I doubt most ppl in the States would want to pay extra shipping.

      Moving to San Fran in 4 days though so I’m sure I’ll get immersed in the whole US superfoods scene very quickly :)

      Good luck, take care!

      • Ha, totally forgot about that! D’uh! That makes a ton of sense.
        I went through Tony Robbins ‘Unleash The Power Within’ event in November and the last day is dedicated to vital living. I’ve been primarily vegan since then and my energy level has been wayyy up due to the lifestyle change. I’m now searching out and acquiring anything that will give an energy benefit. I’m wanting to see how healthy I can get myself and how much energy I can enjoy. As is, I snowboard everyday and my energy level hardly goes down, I LOVE IT!

        Again, thanks for being rad and you’ll dig San Francisco!

  • Incredible list Phil! Yes, we now have tremendous convenience for all of these foods HOWEVER you can’t overestimate the importance of local organic foods. It could be argued that the only real SUPER food is the one you pull out of your own garden, grown in organic soil and popped right into the mouth. It’s a race against time when you pick a superfood and then it is shipped thousands of miles away.

    Side note: Goji berries are totally my favorite. I could eat a whole bag of them!

    Super post!

    Todd

    • Thanks Todd! That’s a really good point actually.. I guess try & get a few “unique” international items, and for everything else go local. Had a little garden in Aus but it’s definitely something I want to do more of in the future. Do you grow your own stuff?

      Going to farmer’s market is a great fun too, and a good want o get some fresh local stuff!

      • Totally! Allison and I will be starting up our first garden in the spring time. We have an indoor compost piling going. It’s been fun trying to get the right ratios down.

        • Nice!! That’s a sweet project!

  • That’s awesome Phil! Thanks a lot. I’ve been struggling lately (lately = the last years…) to find good efficient food. I’ll definitely try everything on that list…. i have never tasted any of it actually. Except avocado in guacamole. Anyway : stuff to discover, that’s great! Now I need to find stores that sells this in Paris!

    I sent this list to my sister who’s a vegetarian. I think she already loves you for that article! I guess you’ll get a new fan once she start to read other articles!

    Thanks again for this, i’ll try it out in february during my “fast food free” month.
    Take care.

  • Great post Phil! Didn’t know that spinach is so healthy. I’ve got a few other supplements for you all.
    Acai berry- great before training
    Acerola – vitamin c
    Chlorophyll (for example in Chlorella)
    Yacon- some kind of potato
    And lapacho tea to strengthen your immune system

    Hope you enjoy them

    Emma xx

    • Thanks Emma!!

      Yeah Spinach is great but recently I’ve discovered kale which is even more potent (although I only have in the smoothie- the texture is too rough in salds for my liking)

      I have acai berries in my smoothie too. It’s good stuff. And Chlorella is AWESOME and very underrated.. I think we’ll see a great increase in its popularity in coming years as ppl realise the importance of detoxifying their body from heavy metals.

      I’ll check out lapacho tea, never heard of it!

      CHeers :)
      Phil

  • There’s another superfood you should know about called the Aroniaberry (chokeberry). It is native to North America and contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants – anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins of any fruit. These powerful berries have been utilized for years because of their overall health and wellness benefits. Learn more at http://www.superberries.com.

    • THanks for sharing Emmalynn, I didn’t know about aroniaberry but will be doing some research. Cheers!

  • I’m really excited about incorporating all these foods into my diet, I use to have Matcha everyday, wheat grass and spinach salads, I loved how I felt…I moved and it wasn’t on my path to the office (Jamba Juice) so I haven’t gone in 8months. My enery level is crap, i’ve gained about 30lbs…i’m so glad I looked this up today and I will report back to you every 30 days to let you know my pogress…I’m 47, 5’8″ 200lbs…..todays date 7/25/2012

    • How’s it coming along Rhonda?? Feeling better? losing some weight?

  • Thanks for the post, love your work.

    I am very interested in raw cacao powder. I noticed in one of your YouTube clips that you drink it with lunch. Is it bearable with just water? Or do you mix it with something else?

    Also, is it classified as a ‘non-calorie drink’ during IF?

    Cheers mate

    • Hey Tim!

      Yeah I drink it with only hot water but I’m a bit extreme on that front. I recommend adding cinnamon and a bit of stevia (calorie free sweetener). It’s not a non-calorie drink for IF although sometimes if IF gets unbearable I’ll have one raw cacao drink and it’ll help me get to the end as it’s an appetite suppressant. And I figure putting the best food in the world in your body hurt THAT much.

      Cheers!

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