If you heard the terms “superfood” and “superhumans” you know ancient history holds best answers for modern lifestyle. Athletes, sport legends and celebrities consume superfoods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. What are the foods packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals?
There are no standard criteria to determine any food as a superfood at any time in history. However, legal definitions aside, we already know that most superfoods are plant-based and history gives us all the reasons to enjoy them.
In this article, we define what qualifies as a superfood, provide the history behind their benefits, and tips on how to include them in the diet.
Plant based Superfoods
Molokhia– an ancient superfood fit for pharaohs
Outlawed by the Caliph of Cairo (Egypt’s ruler from the 10th Century, Fatimid dynasty) molokhia it was considered to be an aphrodisiac for women, and after thousands of years is consumed by 95% of the locals and it is different from one household to another.
Growing up to 10 centimetres a day molokhia looks like mint leaves and the growing season lasts just six weeks before Christmas. The exclusive time of the year adds to its mystique but there is a long history behind what is known as “the smell of Cairo on a Friday night”, molokhia is a meal fit for pharaohs for thousands of years on the fertile banks of the Nile.
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Food historians and local blogers are equally fascinated by the richness of it’s taste and nutritional value
In Amira’s Pantry you can learn more about it’s regal virtues:
“In Egypt we usually buy fresh green Molokhia leaves that looks like mint leaves but bigger, then we use a special curved sort of knife to mince it manually until it is very very fine like this one below.
Almost every Middle Eastern and their mother have their own taste for Molokhia. I was surprised to find that some people do not use coriander at all. Some like to make it with onions, some add cumin, others like it leafy without mincing it.
In Egypt alone some like making it with chicken broth others with rabbit broth and in some areas it is made with tomato sauce and others make it with shrimps. I am going to show you a new way for Molokhia recipe and why I love it more than the old way.”
Ganoderma Lucidum– The king of herbal medicines
Ganoderma Lucidum is an oriental fungus with a long history of use for promoting health and longevity in China, Japan, and other Asian countries. It is a large, dark mushroom with a glossy exterior and a woody texture. The Latin word lucidus means “shiny” or “brilliant”
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Every day our immune system is under attack from stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and pollution.
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Ganoderma – The powerhouse of mushrooms, has been used for over 2,000 years for its ability to support a healthy immune system because it help support the growth of your body’s own active immune system cells.
A symbol of good health and long life, Ganodrma is present throughout ancient Chinese and Japanese art, carved into the official scepter of Chinese emperors and woven into the silk robes. Celebrated throughtout history, you could see it across the doors and door lintels, archways and railings at the Emperor’s Summer Palace, in the Forbidden City of Beijing.
The wealthy paid a fortune to procure Ganoderma from all parts of the world. Forbidden to commoners, Ganoderma was exclusive and especially valuable, a sign of high economic and socio-political status. The king of herbal medicines, it was ranked in the Chinese Herbal Classic placed at the top of the list above ginseng.
Pete Cohen who introduced us to the reishi mushroom powder tells us:
“For thousands of years, Ganoderma lucidum has been recognised by many as the highest ranked of all herbs. The Chinese name for Ganoderma, Lingzhi, means “spiritual potency”, while the Japanese name, Reishi, can be translated as “King of Herbs”. Many ancient civilizations used mushrooms for more than just food. They believed mushrooms had significant health benefits.
No longer the preserve of kings, is added to the ORGANO™ family of products, including our beverages such as our Gourmet Black Coffee, Gourmet Café Latte, Gourmet Café Mocha, and Organic Green Tea. As well as our meal replacement shakes: OGX FENIX Creamy Vanilla and OGX FENIX Rich Chocolate.
Ganoderma is also an important ingredient in our personal care product line including OG Smile Toothpaste and G3 Premium Beauty Soap. And of course in its purest form it can be found in our nutraceutical line of products, encased in a vegetable capsule in the Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma lucidum Mycelium and Ganoderma Spore Powder supplements.”
Wine and grapes- ancient superfoods that travel well
The youngest of the 12 Olympians, the pantheon of 12 major gods, Bacchus is the god of celebrations, wine, and ecstasy, wasn’t the most powerful but he was arguably the most popular. One of the oldest and healtiest superfoods, grapes and wine are sometimes overlooked as they survived the test of times and available to us all. Thanks to Columbus who introduced and shipped the grape culture to the New World, there is no shortage of choices.
Lately, wine is well travelled, actually went to space and back, but that is a story for another day.
Diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy are conditions caused by poorly controlled diabetes where vision is severely affected. Studies show grapes, particularly red grapes, contain healthful components such as resveratrol and quercetin improving blood glucose control.Resveratrol, the polyphenol found in wine that made it famously “heart healthy”, is present in the skins of red grapes.
Quercetin, is a natural anti-inflammatory , a flavonoid that occurs in grapes, is known for reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and may also have effects that act against cancer.
While is wise to limit alcoholic beverages to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women, grapes contain antioxidants and provide the same benefit alongside additional fiber.