Superfoods (part 4)

There are SO many superfoods to talk about, we decided to roll these out in a series of bit-sized posts for you. Here is Part 4 featuring cocoa, wheatgrass, cauliflower and beets! See Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 for more :)

Cocoa

Cocoa beans are the fermented seeds of the cacao tree which finds its roots in Central America. Cocoa contains serotonin and dopamine, complex molecules known to be strong antidepressants. This is likely why people think having chocolate is a good idea when you're wanting comfort food. The health benefits of cocoa include relief from high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, constipation, and more. It is said to be beneficial for quick wound healing, skin care, and helps to improve cardiovascular health and brain health. It contains phenylethylamine, which according to the brain produces the same results as falling in love. The antioxidants in cocoa such as polyphenols are believed to have cardiovascular and metabolic health benefits.

HAVE SOME: With fewer than 15 calories per tablespoon and containing almost no fat, cacao provides a strong chocolate flavor without the guilt. When you’re buying cocoa, choose the raw or non-alkalized version (non-Dutch type), which contains all the phytochemicals and antioxidants without processing.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is a powerful nutrient-concentrated food. It has twice the amount of Vitamin A as carrots and is higher in Vitamin C than oranges. It contains the full spectrum of B vitamins, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium in a balanced ratio. Wheatgrass is a complete source of protein, supplying all of the essential amino acids, and more. It has about 20% of total calories coming from protein. This protein is in the form of poly peptides, simpler and shorter chains of amino acids that the body uses more efficiently in the blood stream and tissues. Read more on wheatgrass here.

HAVE SOME: You can easily juice fresh wheatgrass bought in health food stores or grown in your own garden, or take it as a supplement in tablet form. Be sure to look for organically-certified wheatgrass. 

Cauliflower

Just like kale and broccoli, cauliflower is another cruciferous vegetable rich in antioxidants that protect against cancer and fight free radicals. Further, it’s an excellent source of vitamin C.

HAVE SOME: Bake the florets in the oven for 20 minutes to maintain most vitamins and minerals, add it to soups, salads and stir-fries; cook it in a curry, coconut sauce or chili. You might even like it the way it came - raw, and dip it in hummus.

Beets

Beets are root vegetables that are high in iron, vitamin C, folic acid and disease-fighting antioxidants. They regulate blood pressure due to their potassium content. They are also claimed to improve blood flow. So really, you've got to find ways to eat more of these!

HAVE SOME: Of course these can be added to a cold pressed juice recipe, but you can also add grated raw beets in salads or sliced pickled beets as a burger topping. As for the leafy stems, those can be chopped and cooked with onions.

Sources

http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/article/top-10-superfoods-goji-berries-cinnamon-turmeric-and-more

http://www.readersdigest.ca/food/healthy-food/5-super-foods-you-should-eat/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306775,00.html

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-cocoa.html