Superfood is a great concept to live by. And before it starts sounding rather preposterous, superfood are food items that are nutrient-rich, and considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. However, there are clouds of question around it and often it is considered as a “marketing strategy”. So, it’s better to stay away from it. But that doesn’t mean we should not include healthy ingredients to our meals to make it more nutritionally beneficial.
And there are three particular ingredients and/or food items that are worthy of mentioning. Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds and Matcha Green Tea. All these food items have some really incredible nutritional properties.
These South American seeds have been considered as a healthy addition to the meals since the ancient times. Chia means strength in Mayan, it was also considered the “Runners Food” amongst them. The Aztec warriors ate Chia seeds to get high energy endurance, and it is no joke apparently the Aztecs warriors thought (or maybe their nutrition planners thought, the idea of having a nutrition planner in ancient time is another thing to think about altogether) that a spoonful of Chia Seeds could sustain them for 24 hours. Even though 24 hours sounds like a long shot, it is true that Chia seeds have some incredible health benefits.
Maintaining a Healthy Heart
Chia seeds regulate cholesterol, reverses inflammation and controls blood pressure, which makes it a good choice for maintaining good heart health. Chia also reverses oxidative stress, which lowers the risk of atherosclerosis. Chia helps to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K because it contains a fatty acid called linoleic.
Maintaining a Good Digestive System
Chia seeds are high in fiber, containing nearly 11 grams per ounce. This is really fascinating! Therefore, it helps in having better bowel regularity. Also, Chia soaks water quickly and expands the stomach, so in a way it makes people feel fuller. That is why Chia seeds are great for people who are trying to cut their meals shorter for fitness reasons. Most importantly, Chia is a blood sugar balancer for being high in fibers and healthy fat components. Which makes Chia a good choice of patients with Diabetics.
Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention
Chia seeds are good to prevent Cervical and Breast Cancer risk. Alpa Linelic Acid (ALA), a plant Omega-3 fatty acid is abundant in Chia seeds. And ALA is known to limit the growth of Breast and Cervical cancer cells.
Bone Health Concerns
Chia seeds contain a high amount of calcium, which is essential for healthy bone. And at the same time, Chia seeds contain Boron. Boron helps to metabolize Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Manganese – which are essential for healthy bone.
There are other benefits of consuming Chia seeds, like dental heath, as a pregnancy period nutrient, skin health benefits and so forth. Chia seeds can be eaten either dry or soaked. You can munch them dry, but you can also eat them wet, the benefit of wet Chia seed is, when wet it releases enzyme inhibitors.
Also, Chia Pet is back in pop-culture. Chia Obama, the Chia Pup and what not. And the Chia Lincoln, which was the basis of Youtuber Rhett and Link’s Good Morning Chia Lincoln, where they would converse with a Chia pet of Abraham Lincoln in front of them. So, it’s a great time to jump in the Chia wagon and reap the health and recreational benefits of Chia seeds.
Let’s move from South America and look up in other continents for nutrient booster ingredients. Let’s just consider the Babylonian civilization. For that was quite phenomenon. Sure, they will be forever remembered for the Hanging Gardens and the other wonderful ingenious inventions they made. But they also did something wonderful we still are benefitted from. Which is Flaxseeds. Flaxseeds was cultivated by Babylonians back in 3000 BC. Charlemagne, the King of Franks enforced a law that all his subjects should consume Flaxseeds back in 8th Century because he ardently believed in the nutrient benefits of Flaxseeds. And now it isn’t necessarily needed to get the governments and law enforcement authorities involved in making people consume Flaxseeds. Because the benefits are very convincing.
Flaxseeds contain Alpa Linelic Acid (ALA), an Omega-3 fatty acid. This fatty acid limits growth of cancerous cells. The Lignan present in Flaxseed protect against hormone sensitive cancers but does not interfare with Breast cancer medication. And along with Breast cancer, Flaxseed provides some protection against Prostate and Colon cancer as well.
Flaxseeds provides good cardiovascular protection for heart and vascular systems. Being rich in plant Omega-3 fatty acids, Flaxseeds lower the blood pressure. The plant Omega-3 also prevents arteries from hardening, which is good for the vascular system. The Lignan in Flaxseeds helps in reducing the atherosclerotic plaque buildups. Also, it helps in controlling LDL levels.
Flaxseeds also help in controlling Diabetics. The Lignan present in Flaxseeds has some effect controlling blood sugar.
Flaxseeds also help in reducing inflammation caused from Asthma and Parkinson’s disease. The Lignan and ALA present in Flaxseeds reduce inflammation by blocking release of pro-inflammatory agents.
However, there are some questions about consuming Flaxseeds during pregnancy. Pregnant individuals should consult their doctors and nutritionists before consuming Flaxseeds. And also, sometime Flax oil is easier to consume than Flaxseed – which is to be prepared before consuming, and by preparing, it means grounding it to powders.
Matcha Green Tea
There are some amazing nutrition boosting food ingredients and drinks in Orient as well. Matcha Green Tea is one of those. Matcha Green tea is an age old tradition of Japan.
Matcha Green Tea boosts concentration and induces calm. That is why the Zen Buddhists and Chinese monks prefer this drink. This tea is high in amino acid L-Theanine. Which influences secretion of dopamine and serotonin. These two hormones aid in improving concentration, memory and enhancing mood.
Energy Level Booster
Matcha Green Tea also boosts energy levels. It’s not just the caffeine, but also other nutrients present in the tea leaves. Along with that, the effect of L-Theanine boosts energy levels higher. It is said that, the Samurai warriors used to drink bowls of Matcha Green Tea before going to battles because of the energizing properties and mood boosting qualities.
Strengthening Immune System
Samurais and Buddhist monks were not very much prone to immune system deficiencies, thanks to Matcha Green Tea (of course their disciplines and other facts were also the reason behind this). But Matcha Green Tea contains catechins. And catechins have antibiotic properties. Matcha Green Tea also contains Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Protein and Iron.
However, it is important to buy Matcha Green Tea carefully. It is not expensive, but often the wrong (and sometimes worse, and it’s just some chemicals) products are sold as Matcha Tea. It is advised to do some research regarding availability and authenticity of Matcha Green Tea before buying some.