Superfoods || Summer Edition Part I
by Natalie Cacace
Choosing Summer Superfoods
Superfoods are wonderful, but knowing when to eat them is the real wisdom. How do you choose what foods to eat and when to eat them exactly? Well, just look out your window!
Summer has a particular weather pattern of being hot and dry or hot and humid. There are superfoods which compliment these weather conditions wonderfully in order to keep your body in constitutional balance throughout summer. This is mainly based on Indian Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. Keep reading below for my top 5 choices of best superfoods to eat during summer and what foods to pair them with to optimize their benefits.
Like most sea foods, they have a cooling constitution. Spirulina specifically is a blue-green algae, with the best quality coming from Taiwan. It has a lovely clean ocean flavor, which I personally find very satisfying since I am fond of seafood, but others may not be. For those, you may prefer to take it in tablet form, rather than powder form. Whichever you choose, you are sure to win!
Give your workouts a green boost!
Spirulina detoxifies and deodorizes due to its high chlorophyll content. When paired with coconut water, it becomes a strong blood purifier that provides a gentle energy boost. Coconut water was used on injured soldiers as a blood plasma replacement, thus used for blood transfusions during the Vietnam war. Since spirulina is an sea derived food, it works extremely well with natural waters. Chlorophyll is also an effective deodorizer, making it ideal for those muggy summer days when taking multiple showers a day is just not an option.
Your lean, green summer protein substitute!
With spirulina, you get the benefits of protein without the heavy bloated feeling your may get from eating dense meat. And compared to red meat, per gram, spirulina is one of the richest protein sources on the planet!
Drink your sunscreen!
Spirulina is also an excellent internal sunscreen. It contains a rich source of antioxidants which helps to protect us against harmful UV damage. I’ve written about sunscreen foods in my blog Nat’s Food Corner. Consuming it regularly over the summer helps to repair and protect from UV damage. So much so, that it’s even being used in some skincare products for its SPF benefits. Talk about drinking your sunscreen!
How to eat: Add spirulina to coconut water, cactus water or maple water to enhance its benefits and absorption. Mix it into your water of choice if using powder form or take it with tablets. Just remember to take it 1.5 hours before a meal or 2 hours after a meal. Its detoxifying properties can impede in the absorption of other nutrients in food. Try drinking it 2 hours after lunch for a midday pick-me-up.
4. AÇAI BERRY
This Amazonian superfood has beautiful notes of chocolate with a slight tannic taste reminiscent of wine and when you see this berry's vibrant color, it's easy to see why.
Antioxidants without the hangover!
Açai contains a rich variety of antioxidants, one being the heart strengthening reservatrol. It’s the same antioxidant found in wine, minus the alcohol. Perfect for those heart-pumping summer workouts! Other antioxidants found in açai can promote clear, youthful skin and protect against UV damage.
Get glowing skin from within!
If you ever take a look at fresh açai juice, you'll notice an oily film. Those are the omega fatty acids acai is well-known for. Those fatty acids work their magic to promote that glow-from-within to your skin. Who doesn't want a youthful summer glow?
How to eat: Add açai to foods like coconut fat, grass-fed organic dairy, organic beet/carrot juice, cold-pressed oils and biodynamic cacao. Brazil is known for adding açai to ice cream sundaes. My favorite is adding it my grass-fed organic Greek yogurt with banana and blueberries. And because of its chocolate notes, I definitely recommend adding açai powder to homemade chocolate treats!
3. GOJI BERRY
China is home to goji berries which are a year round staple, but are actually a summer fruit that's harvested in Ningxia Province. Whether you source them fresh or dry, you’ll definitely get the wonderful health benefits of these little berries.
Pump up your workout game with natural growth hormone factors!
Goji berries contain growth hormone factors, and legend has it that a monk from Ningxia lived passed the age of 200 and credited his longevity to his year round daily dose of goji. Unlike many superfoods, goji is considered neutral in constitution, neither cooling nor warming, so it's actually suitable for year-round consumption.
See summer more clearly!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), goji is well-known for benefiting the eyes. This could be (but not scientifically proven) to be in its ability to strengthen the liver. In TCM, the eyes are the windows to the liver and it's almost easy to see why. When we drink alcohol, it affects our liver and turns our eyes red. When someone has jaundice, the whites of the eyes turn yellow as well as the skin. Goji itself is slightly bitter which makes it tonifying to the liver like all other bitter foods. Healthy liver, healthy eyes and healthy skin.
How to eat: Traditionally, goji is used in its whole form added to soups and teas. Goji water is rich in nutrients, so if you soak dried organic goji berries, don't forget to drink the goji water! You can also try adding goji powder to smoothies or other raw recipes.
What are some of your favourite summer superfoods? Share with me in the comments below!
Look out for part II of this edition where we will discuss the topic further!