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9 of Nature’s Most Powerful Superfoods for Immune Health: 2019 Edition

saucers with various superfoods

As the world continues to seek out more natural ways to support health and well-being, interest in superfoods has grown exponentially throughout the years. Most of us immediately think of kale when we hear the word “superfood”, but does anyone know what a superfood really is? Let’s start with the basic definition: a superfood refers to food that is nutritionally dense with many potential health benefits such as increases in energy, immune health, mood and vitality.

Many superfoods are plant-based, but certain fish species, dairy and even grains are making their way into the big family of superfoods.  As science continues to explore the health benefits of how superfoods impact everything from gut-health to physical and mental states of being, the list of items considered superfoods is ever-changing.

Here is Sovereign Silver’s 2019 List of Superfoods for Immune Health.*

1) SUMAC

ground sumac powder

Staghorn and Sicilian sumac have a number of potential health benefits, including improved glycemic control, reduced cholesterol levels and better cardiovascular health.1  The Staghorn variety has also been found to have higher antioxidant qualities than many common fruits and vegetables.2

Please note:  Some sumac berries are considered poisonous.  Others can cause severe skin irritations and other reactions in some people.  Always be sure to only obtain sumac from a reputable dealer.

2) CHAGA MUSHROOM

cup of Chaga tea and Chaga mushroom piecesChaga is known as the king of the medicinal mushrooms, and it is quickly catching on with U.S. consumers for its numerous health benefits.3  Since ancient times, many cultures have used Chaga mushrooms to help with upset stomachs and to boost the immune system.  These civilizations, such as the Indigenous Siberians, believed that Chaga helped detox the body, regulated hunger and improved endurance.4

Chaga is jam-packed with nutritional value including vitamin B2, vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, chromium, copper and many more.5

Chaga has a different look than most mushrooms.  In fact, it looks like a charred, cracked mess with a woody, orange interior. But don’t let its appearance fool you! Chaga is one of the highest sources of anti-oxidants and has an ORAC value of 146,700, 6.5X higher than the acai berry!6

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. ORAC is a lab test that evaluates the antioxidant capacity of a food by measuring how well the food prevents oxidation by free radicals.

You can steep Chaga and make it into a tea, or you can add it to your favorite beverage as it comes in ground or powdered forms.

3) TUMERIC

Turmeric powder and fresh root on grunge background

Turmeric is a bright yellow powder that comes from the ginger family.  Recently, its popularity has risen because many people now consider it a superfood.  For centuries, it has been used in Indian and Asian cooking for coloring and flavoring.  The color is due to the presence of a phytochemical called Curcumin, which is the heart of Turmeric’s health benefits.7

Among the many potential health benefits of Turmeric are its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic, wound-healing and anti-malarial properties.  Research is also being conducted with Turmeric and new treatments for degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.8

4) AVOCADO

avocado cut in half

Besides being a favorite of hipsters, avocado is a popular fruit, mainly because of its taste and texture.  It’s easy to eat and can be added to many recipes.  The avocado is also considered a superfood because it is rich in A, C, D, E, K vitamins, along with B group vitamins.  It also contains folic acid, Omega 3, magnesium, potassium, lutein and fiber.

Eating avocados can help reduce your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol.9  Avocados may also help relieve symptoms of arthritis, protect your eyesight, help you lose weight and possibly help prevent illnesses such as cancer.10

5) TIGER NUTS

tiger nuts and tiger nut powder

Tiger nuts are a recent addition to the superfood category; however, they have been cultivated by civilizations for thousands of years.  Today, they are still widely produced in Africa and can be eaten fresh, semi-dried or fully dried.

They can also be consumed as tiger nut milk and tiger nut oil. Tiger nuts are actually small tubers, like potatoes, that grow in the ground, so this is an excellent alternative for those who have nut allergies but have a hankering for something with a nutty flavor. Because of their high protein and iron content, tiger nuts can be beneficial to vegetarians and vegans.

Tiger nuts have many health benefits, including being high in fiber.  Adding fiber in your diet is important to your digestive health and to maintaining a healthy weight. Tiger nuts are also an excellent source of magnesium and potassium.  A serving of tiger nuts contains between 13-17 percent of your daily recommended magnesium and has more potassium than a banana.11

6) CASSAVA FLOUR

fresh cassava and peels and slices on rustic wooden table

Cassava is a starchy root vegetable that’s native to South America. In the U.S. cassava is often called yucca and sometimes referred to as manioc or Brazilian arrowroot.  Cassava flour has a very close consistency to wheat flour and can be used as a 1:1 replacement with wheat flour.

Individuals with food allergies can benefit from grinding the root into flour, as it is gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free. Cassava has a wide range of nutrients and is a source of resistant starch, which may help to improve gut health. Additionally, cassava has the potential to improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of obesity and Type II Diabetes.12

7) HEMP SEEDS

shelled hemp seeds with a wooden scoop

There’s a lot of talk about hemp these days, but did you know that hemp seeds have fantastic health benefits?

Hemp seeds contain almost as much protein as soybeans and they are also a good source of unsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids.  Also, if the outer shell of the hemp seed is left on, there’s a lot of good fiber to be obtained.  Hemp seeds contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals and are considered to be a heart-healthy and brain-healthy food.13

8) BLUEBERRIES

blueberries

Some superfoods are as delicious as they are nutritious, and blueberries certainly fall into this category. Blueberries are sweet and pack a punch when it comes to health benefits. Being nutrient-dense, one cup of blueberries contains 4 grams of fiber, 24% of the Recommended Daily Intake of vitamin C, 36% of the RDI of vitamin K and 25% of the RDI of manganese.

Studies have shown that regular consumption of blueberries can help reduce the risk of heart attacks in women.14 Blueberries may also help lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, protect your lungs, slow brain aging and help prevent cardiovascular disease.15

9) SEAWEED

seaweed

Seaweed is a powerful superfood filled with antioxidants, calcium and many other nutrients.  Seaweed also contains iodine, a nutrient rarely found in any other food. A healthy thyroid (the gland that helps produce and regulate hormones) depends on iodine to function correctly. Without a healthy thyroid, one will soon experience symptoms of fatigue, muscle weakness and high cholesterol.  Seaweed may even help reduce the risk of breast cancer, help control PMS, and improve female fertility issues.16

Adding superfoods into your diet can be a fun, easy and delicious way to make strides towards living your best Sovereign Life! While no single food, or superfood, can offer all of the nutrition and health benefits we need to completely nourish our bodies, our 2019 list of top superfoods might help you make more informed decisions about which superfoods will benefit your own path to wellness!

The road to health sovereignty is paved with a healthy diet, exercise and a positive outlook on life. Superfoods are a great way to help you get there!

References:

  1. https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/sumac-spice-good-for-you.php
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23411251
  3. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180807005666/en/Global-Chaga-Mushroom-based-Products-Market-2018-2022-Post
  4. http://www.ethnoherbalist.com/chaga-extract-mushroom-tea-benefits/
  5. https://wellnessmama.com/377339/chaga-mushrooms/
  6. https://www.prlog.org/10909725-chaga-has-the-highest-orac-score-ever-recorded-in-any-natural-food-65-times-more-than-acai-berry.html
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318405.php
  8. https://www.foxnews.com/health/turmeric-5-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-superfood
  9. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado#section9
  10. https://www.myrecipes.com/healthy-diet/what-are-tiger-nuts-superfood
  11. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cassava#section5
  12. https://academicjournals.org/journal/AJBR/article-full-text-pdf/1C4D19C11705
  13. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323037.php
  14. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/berries-may-lower-womens-heart-attack-risk/
  15. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/are-blueberries-good-for-you/
  16. https://www.health.com/food/superfood-seaweed



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