Monday, 13 December 2010

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a superfood!

With nutrition being an extremely important part of any half-serious training program, today I want to write my first nutritional post on the subject of "superfoods".

What is a superfood I hear some of you ask.  Well I myself didn't have a clue till recently either.  But a couple of months ago I attended a workshop entitled "Yoga and Superfoods" to find out more.

The workshop was enlightening to say the least.  Most of the topics were perfectly within the realms of science, but a few topics touched upon were ones I would put in the same category as UFOs and aliens.  There was mention for instance of people who claim to live off just air (without the need for food in order to survive), although the instructor himself just had an open mind and wasn't proclaiming that it was indeed possible or true.

Before I get into what superfoods are and which kinds of foods have the honour of calling themselves superfoods, I want to touch on the subject of "earthing" or "grounding", as this was also covered during the workshop.  There have been many studies on this subject and the basic idea is that by being in direct contact with the earth (for instance barefoot walking), rather than being insulated from it by our shoes, we can somehow limit the impact of electromagnetic radiation on our body. This makes perfect sense to me (as a former physics undergrad) as when wearing shoes we build up static charge in our bodies, but if we walk barefoot then this can be harmlessly discharged.  You only have to try it to notice how good it feels.  Some scientists even go as far as to suggest that the fact we no longer walk barefoot may be just one of the many contributors to diseases such as cancer which seem to be much more common nowadays.

Wait, I hear you ask.  I am not a hippy and don't want to go to work looking like one so how is this relevant to me?  Well there are various modern day gadgets that can help you to achieve the same effect whilst sitting on your chair or sleeping on your bed.  Mats for instance that plug into the socket and make use of the earth socket terminal.

Now back onto the main point, superfoods.  There is no legal definition of the word, but superfood is a term commonly used to refer to food with high phytonutrient content that may confer health benefits as a result. There are many foods in this category but the following are ones that I currently have in my apartment and will be experimenting with over the coming weeks and months:

1) Maca (Peru) - Maca is a root and is known as the viagra of the Andes.  Some reported benefits include memory improvement, improved function of neurotransmitters and increase in libido.  I was already taking this before I went to the workshop and I do believe it makes me feel more alert and energetic.  As for increases in libido that's information that I am not at liberty to disclose unfortunately.

2) Raw organic cacao - chocolate in its processed form may make you fat and rot your teeth, but raw unprocessed cacao beans are actually an appetite suppressor.  They also contain lots of magnesium and sulphur and even better they contain 20 times as many antioxidants as red wine and 30 times as many antioxidants as green tea.

3) Goji berries (Himalayas) - these berries from Tibet are bursting with vitamin C.   They are widely used to reduce sugar cravings, contain 15% protein, 21 essential minerals, 18 amino acids and extremely high levels of beta carotene

I will let you know how I get on with introducing these superfoods into my diet, but as I mentioned before Maca does seem to have a positive effect on me.  The key though is letting your body adjust to these new foods, as the first few times I took Maca I took far too much and felt a little nauseous.    What with having been on holiday most of November I haven't taken it for a while, but I will be starting again as of tomorrow morning.

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