I have personally experienced the awesome benefits of cocoa powder. As I described on my mission page, I once suffered from heart palpitations. They started out happening once in a while, but progressively got more severe. I decided to start researching foods online that were known to help the heart and cardiovascular health in general. I wanted to try to fix my condition naturally first rather than checking myself into a hospital. I came across cocoa powder in my search and learned that it has incredible heart benefits. I started including a scoop of it ever morning into my breakfast cereal and to my amazement my heart palpitations decreased in regularity and today I am heart problem free! I consider this my miracle food because I could not believe the effect it had on me. Cocoa powder was the first type of superfood I learned about and is what put me on the path to learning about other superfoods and incorporating them into my diet. I absolutely believe cocoa powder saved me from a heart attack or stroke. The profound impact was undeniable!
History Of Cocoa:
- The Incan people considered cocoa a food of the Gods.
- Aztec Emperor Montezuma revered cocoa naming it a divine drink that builds resistance and combats fatique.
- Hernan Cortes would say that it empowers a man to walk an entire day without food.
Cocoa has been attributed to improving overall heart function, stimulates the nervous system, helps in digestion, improves kidney and bowel function. It has been used to help treat anemia, mental fatique, tuberculosis, fever, gout, kidney stones, and even poor sexual appetite. Sadly, in our culture chocolate is viewed as a guilty pleasure rather than a remedy for illnesses. They key here is using unprocessed, raw cocoa because processing like fermentation and roasting destroy the valuable nutrients in it! Cocoa is most easily eaten in powder form. You can mix it in your shakes, put a spoonful on your cereal, mix it in yogurt or pudding (tapioca pudding is great).
Cocoa Powder Benefits:
- Maintains healthy blood pressure.
- Actually regulates a steady heart rhythm.
- The powerful antioxidants (40x more than blueberries), polyphenols, and flavonoids will remove plaque buildup in the arteries.
- Relaxes and maintains the elasticity of vessels.
- Anti-hypertensive properties.
- High in magnesium which is important for a healthy heart and helps your brain to work sharp.
- Raw cocoa contains more calcium than milk!
- It is a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant.
What is hypertension?
Essentially, hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. Hypertension can lead to fatigue, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, chest pain and breathlessness. Chronic hypertension can lead to heart attack and stroke. Cocoa powder in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise, has countless supported evidence for its ability to combat high blood pressure.
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I never delved into the benefits of yerba mate tea because I always thought of it as a dessert tea (I add almond milk and a pinch of stevia), but after researching the tea, it turns out it has a plethora of powerful nutrients! Yerba mate’ is a tea native to south America and I grew up drinking it because my mother is from Argentina. I love this tea and its unfortunate most people from the states are unaware of its existence. Yerba mate’ tea contains the greatest antioxidant and polyphenal content among tea-based drinks in a latest study released in the Comprehensive Reviews in Food and Science and Food Safety. Now here is the key when buying this tea that most people are unaware of, you must buy brands that dry their tea using an air drying method. Many companies are drying their tea using a smoking method to add a smokey flavor to the mate. The problem with smoked tea is that it adds unhealthy cancer-inducing chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.
After doing some research on the benefits of a turmeric supplement, I learned that it has powerful health applications. I began taking a capsule daily and I have noticed an irrefutable difference! I work in the service industry managing the valet parking of a very high class restaurant. I work long hours with most of that time running around all day and bending in and out of cars. My joints and muscles take a beating. Turmeric’s main application is in addressing inflammation in the body. If you keep inflammation in check, that will help reduce joint and muscle pain.
Turmeric consists of bioactive compounds with impressive medicinal applications. Curcumin is a polyphenol and is the main functioning natural chemical in turmeric. Polyphenols are nutrients that have shown indication to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. In order to get enough curcumin, it is best to take turmeric in capsule form with black pepper in it to assist absorption. It is also fat soluble so it is most effective to consume with a meal.
Search for a natural solution. Prevention is key.
Even though inflammation in the body is very important (fights foreign invaders & repairs damage), an over abundance of it long term is destuctive to our tissues. The consensus is that chronic, low-level inflammation is the culprit of almost every chronic, western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and numerous degenerative conditions. Consequently, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is very important in preventing and treating disease. Curcumin inhibits NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes associated with inflammation. NF-kB is believed to be responsible for many chronic diseases. Evidence points that turmeric has matched favorably to anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs… except without the negative side-effects! It is always better when you can dump high-cost prescriptions in place of all natural remedies and I for one do not trust drugs that the FDA approves.
Some other benefits of turmeric:
Increases the antioxidant capacity of the body.
Boosts brain function and lowers the risk of brain diseases.
Reduces the risk of heart disease by preventing the accumulation of plague in our arteries.
Prevents and can possibly help treat cancer.
Useful in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Amazing benefits against depression.
Delays aging and fights age-related diseases.
Alleviates indigestion and heartburn.
In my continuing search for superfoods I recently came across chia seeds and started incorporating them into my diet. Here is an interesting little backstory followed by a list of benefits from chia seeds you will get when you consume them.
History Of Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds were consumed by many ancient South American civilizations as early as 3500 B.C. They were highly regarded for their nutrtitional and medicinal properites. When the spanish conquerors arrived in the 1500s, they subdued the natives and purposefully attempted to destroy the chia seed crop because of its association with the native religion. Today, the value of this ancient crop has been revived and has legitimately made it to the rank of superfood!
Properites Of Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds are a potent resource for a plentiful amount of nutrients. They are not very flavorful so they are easy to mix into shakes, your morning cereal, or yogurt. Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3 fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B3, potassium, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2!
Flavonoids are one of the phytonutrients that pack the power behind nutritious foods. Most raw, whole foods contain flavonoids and there are hundreds of different types which is why it is important to eat a variety of colorful foods… and no, m&ms do not count 😄.
Why get excited about flavonoids?
When it comes to your health, foods containing flavonoids are very important to include in your diet because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits your body will get from them. Too much inflammation in the body is the root of most diseases most infamous of which is heart disease.
Antioxidants on the other hand, go to war against the oxidation process, a chemical reaction that creates free radicals that destroy cells in your body. You can think of flavonoids as the soldiers in your body that team up with your immune system to help defend against harmful chemical reactions.
Flavonoids are also responsible for helping you feel relaxed and you will notice an improvement in your overall mood and outlook on life. Anyone with depression will benefit greatly from foods rich in flavanols.
Where can you find flavonoids?
Flavonoids are a main source in fruits and vegetables, and are responsible for all the various colors we see in them. A few examples are kale, strawberries, oranges, grapes, cocoa beans, onions. They are also high in spices such as rosemary, garlic, ginger, black pepper, and oregano. Drinking wine in moderation (1 glass a day) is another source of flavonoids.
The bottom line is there are plenty of foods out there containing flavonoids. Create a diet that includes plenty of whole grain, tea, fruits, vegetables, superfoods (like cocoa powder), and spices and you will have a healthy body and feel great!
Processing and cooking methods destroy flavonoids.
It is very important when buying superfoods that the company uses the proper processing method to keep the flavonoid content in tact. In this website, I have done the research for you and I will tell you which brands are the best to get. You also don’t want to cook your superfoods, eat them raw by adding them to a shake, mixing them in a pudding, or adding them to a cereal. With regards to fruits and veggies, eat them fresh and don’t expose them to heat such as microwaving and stove-top cooking.
I always thought cinnamon was just another spice to add as a topping or to add flavor to a recipe but when I began searching what is cinnamon good for, I was surprised to find this is not just a spice but a wonderful superfood! Cinnamon has been celebrated for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. As early as 2,000 B.C. Egyptions enjoyed it and according to historical records, cinnamon was used throughout the ancient world. The main compound in cinnamon is called cinnamaldehyde. It is this compound that is the culprit of cinnamon’s medicinal uses and health benefits. Cinnamon contains a concentrated amount of antioxidants like polyphenols which protect the body form oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Cinnamon is an awesome superfood. It tastes great and can be consumed a variety of different ways. The trick with cinnamon is to choose the right kind. Stay away from cassia cinnamon (grocery store cinnamon used as a spice). This kind of cinnamon is high in coumarin which in high doses can cause liver damage. The type of cinnamon to choose is called ceylon cinnamon because it contains very low levels of coumarin. I have a 1 pound bag of cinnamon in my fridge and I love to add a tablespoon of it to my cereal and smoothies.
The benefits Of Cinnamon:
- Reduces LDL “bad cholesterol” & triglycerides.
- Increases HDL “good cholesterol”.
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Reduces insulin resistance which lowers blood sugar.
- Protects brain cells which prevents brain diseases.
- Hinders cancer cell growth.
- Stops candida yeast infections.
- Its a powerful antibacterial (effective against e coli & salmonella). Take cinnamon or cinnamon tea for a stomach flu.
- Alleviates irritable bowl syndrome.
- Prevents osteoporosis. Cinnamon contains high levels of manganese which is used to build bones, blood and other connective tissues.
- Improves alertness, memory & cognitive development.
- Prevents tooth decay and gum disease.
- Alleviates sore throat & cough.
- Fights alzheimers.
- Mood enhancer & anti-depressant.
- Fights viruses.