You learned about superfoods early in your healthy-eating career, but you don’t really know much about them (I didn’t either). Naturally, I thought that I should go learn from the source – somewhere that sells and specializes in superfoods! I remember taking a stroll into the health store for the first time and being so CONFUSED! Hello overwhelm! Where do you start?
What’s a Goji Berry?
Chia Seeds? What do those do?
Nettle – how do I use THIS?
Cocoa nubs DO NOT TASTE LIKE COCOA!!
And why are all of these foods called “superfoods”‘? What the heck is a superfood??
After a very engaging lecture at school that even had me thinking more about superfoods and inventing a lovely receipt for a Shamrock Shake that takes a couple into account, I wanted to share 5 of the more popular ones that most people are likely to use on a daily basis with autoimmune disorder. There are more on the market, but these are the ones I feel work best with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune disorders. Therefore, you can get that pep back in your step!
Don’t let the name scare you (it sounds like Chlorine, doesn’t it?). It’s a blue green algae you can get at most health stores. I personally like the powder, but you can use tablets. CHECK THE INGREDIENTS – lots of additives can be put in that may negate the benefits. With autoimmune disorder, your immunity is shot. Hence why it’s called Autoimmune (your body attacks itself!). Chlorella is a nutrient dense superfood that acts like an internal cleaner. So what can it do for you? Studies that have been done have shown Chlorella can:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Healthy hormonal function
- Negate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation
- Aids in detoxing the body
- Promotes weight loss and fat burning
When I said nutrient dense, take a look (thanks for the breakdown, Dr. Axe!)
A 1-ounce (3 tbsp) serving of chlorella contains:
- Vitamin A—287% RDA
- Vitamin B3—33% RDA
- Zinc—133% RDA
- Iron—202% RDA
- Vitamin B2—71% RDA
- Magnesium—22% RDA
- Zinc—133% RDA
In addition, Chlorella contains a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. Hello, Energy!
It’s a cousin to Chlorella, and has many of the same benefits. Like it’s cousin, it’s nutrient dense and helps oxygenate the body. My notes state that it acts like an internal sunscreen – protecting your insides. Protecting them from what? Essentially, it’s known for it’s properties to help:
- Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- Lowers cholesterol
- Anti-cancer properties
- Improves symptoms associated with allergies
- Detoxes heavy metals from the body
Again, thanks to Dr. Axe for the breakdown, check out all the vitamin and minerals in one serving of Spirulina!
- Total fat: 3% DV
- Saturated fat: 4% DV
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 230 milligrams
- Omega-6 fatty acids: 351 milligrams
- Copper: 85% DV
- Iron: 44% DV
- Manganese: 27% DV
- Magnesium: 14% DV
- Sodium: 12% DV
- Potassium: 11% DV
- Zinc: 4% DV
- Phosphorus: 3% DV
- Calcium: 3% DV
- Selenium: 3%DV
- Riboflavin: 60% DV
- Vitamin E: 7% DV
- Thiamin: 44% DV
- Vitamin B6: 5% DV
- Niacin: 18% DV
- Vitamin C: 5% DV
- Pantothenic acid: 10% DV
- Vitamin K: 9% DV
- Folate: 7% DV
- Vitamin A: 3% DV
It’s his simple – go to the plant, break off a leaf. What’s inside is 100% pure aloe! While I recommend getting your aloe this way (literally, straight from the plant), you can buy it already made for you. Please be sure to check the ingredients! A lot of times when you buy it prepackaged it has additives. I have, however, seen aloe leaves for sale in some health food stores. Here are some of it’s healing properties:
- Stimulates the immune system
- Balances cardiovascular health
- Promotes digestive comfort and gut health
- Aids in wound repair
- Protects you from oxidation
Aloe is vitamin and mineral rich as well! Always go with all natural aloe, and check your ingredients if you are buying it pre-made (in a pill, in a juice, etc.)
This one I was a little scared to try at first. Maca Root is a cruciferous vegetable mainly found in South America and looks almost like a cross between a raddish and a potato. Basically, my notes say “Energy! Fertility! Take this!” Literally, that’s what we were taught in class. While I need the energy, I don’t need the latter half, so I did some research on my own. Here’s what I have found:
- Rich in Antioxidants
- Enhances Energy, Mood and Memory
- Improves Female Sexual Health
- Balances Estrogen Levels
- Boosts Male Fertility
Now you can see why I was a little scared to try it! But honestly, I have noticed a difference in my energy and mood. So if you are having fertility issues, maybe this is a good option for you. And if anything, at least take it for the antioxidant effect. I get a powder made by Navitas – I add it to my protein shake and you can’t even notice a taste difference!
Nettle & Horestail
These two are superfood herbs used for a variety of things. While they can be used separately, a lot of times they are used together. I’ll separate them out here, just to explain what the benefits are of each. Most times, you can make/buy them in a tincture, which you can add to water and drink, or buy the actual herbs, and make a tea out of it.
- General diuretic and can help urine flow
- Can help decrease NSAID usage in Arthritis and Joint Pain
- Decreasing hay fever symptoms
- Reduce bleeding, specifically studied in surgeries
- Reduces eczema when taken internally
- Promotes bone health
- Regulates blood flow
- General diuretic
- Maintains healthy skin and hair
- Anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal
Both these herbs can be used separate or together. You can apply them topically or take them internally (please do your research about what the best method of taking them is for your specific ailment). While I have not tried these 2 yet, I have been told the taste is VERY bitter. If you are using it as a tea, feel free to add some natural honey to it and enjoy!
In conclusion, superfoods can really be helpful if you have autoimmune disorder. I personally know I have seen a difference in my energy and mood levels using these superfoods.
Have you tried any of these? Are they working for you? Let us know in the comments!
PLEASE NOTE: BEFORE STARTING ANY SUPPLEMENTS, PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THESE PRODUCTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.