The words ‘superfood’, ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are no longer wellness industry lingo; these words are now bandied about all over, hijacked by underserving industries and corporations for marketing hype. Supermarkets have wholeheartedly jumped on the word ‘organic’, unscrupulously bending guidelines and thoroughly embracing the concept of the ‘loophole’.
What this means is that more education and discernment is in order if health-seekers are to maintain the ‘holy grail’ state that is true vitality. ‘Superfood’ is another word snatched by those with profit as priority and plastered across unworthy products. By definition a superfood is a food that has a minimum of twelve unique properties, so blueberries, almonds and kale are not really superfoods… tasty as they may be.
Now that the difference has been established, I want to tell you about some nutritional powerhouses that are not only massively health-giving, but incredibly energizing both mentally and physically. A true superfood is something you’ll recognize because of the marked difference in your productivity:
Cacao is simply unprocessed raw chocolate. It’s not cocoa (the heat-treated, processed version, devoid of the nutrients), nor is it the sugary, milky chocolate on supermarket shelves. The latter might give you a lift, albeit a temporary one based on the raising of your blood sugar — you’ll soon crash again and find yourself reaching for another Mars Bar… followed by a diet plan. Not the most sustainable way to energize.
Cacao (before processing) is said to be the most nutritious food source on Earth! This is why you hear that chocolate is good for you, which is true, but only if it’s raw. Cacao pods grow on trees in countries like Ecuador, Bali, Peru and Guatemala, and they’re full of little beans that look somewhat like coffee beans. These are the gold you’re digging for if you want a more productive day.
Cacao trumps all other foods for antioxidant count. It supports cardiovascular health, circulation, regulates blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and has a high magnesium content. Cacao aids cellular repair and reproduction, and provides essential minerals. With your free radicals taking a beating and all your minerals present, your body is free to heal and you’ll have an abundance of energy to expend.
Because cacao stimulates the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, it has anti-depressant qualities. When you consume raw cacao, endorphins are released, giving you a natural, clean high. It’s like drinking an espresso, without the heart palpitations or sweaty palms. This brings a lovely combination of productivity and happiness… so chew on the beans, mix powder with nut milk, or cook up some delicious healthy chocolates.
Chia seeds are an ancient superfood, and the Mayan word chia means ‘strength’. These amazing seeds are black and white, and they were a staple food for Native Americans, the Incans, Mayans and the Aztecs. The main purpose of chia seeds was energy; something they provide a lot of. They famously ate chia seeds before long journeys, running or hunting. It is for this reason that chia seeds are popular with health conscious athletes today; they go great in a pre-gym smoothie and can offer sustained energy for longer, heavier workouts.
Mexicans will tell you that a tablespoon of chia seeds is enough to sustain you for twenty-four hours. Chia seeds not only give you slow-release energy and increased strength, but they level out your blood sugar (by slowing the conversion of carbs into sugar) and curb your cravings — these two things alone mean your body can work more effectively, and as a result, so does your mind. Your attention will no longer be on the next Mars Bar, but on meeting that project deadline.
Bee pollen is associated with both weight loss and increased energy. This wonder product boosts the metabolism consistently, helping your body to dissolve and remove fat cells. Like chia and cacao, it’s appreciated for its appetite-suppressing qualities. The amino acid phenylalanine is responsible for this.
This excellent energy source is also incredibly rich with nutrients — some say it is nature’s most complete food source. It’s another superfood often used by athletes, and is praised in Ancient texts (including the Bible). Even small amounts may provide effective and valuable levels of nutritional sustenance in dietary antioxidants, bioflavonoids and polyphenols, lecithin, essential amino acids, carbohydrates, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium and copper. Wow!
Bee Pollen tastes sweet and is used as a topping or eaten alone. Its vitamin content includes B12 and E, plus B1, B2, B3, B5, C and D; these essential components of nutrition tend to be missing from modern diets. It is said to be a great anti-ageing tool that rejuvenates the body, increases life span, and it is a natural antibiotic that destroys harmful intestinal flora and damaging microbes. It has endocrine/hormone balancing properties and has been successful in the treatment of innumerable conditions, including fatigue and depression.
Maca root is a vegetable from South America, primarily the highlands of the Peruvian Andes. It is commonly eaten baked or roasted, and is now sold commercially in powder form. Traditionally maca root was used as a fertility enhancer, aphrodisiac, stress reliever and energy booster. A popular aide to general physical performance and stamina, maca has also been touted as an anti-depressant.
It is high in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and silica, and the root has antioxidant properties, so it too protects cells from damage. Those looking to boost virility can do worse than try out maca, and in combination with the above superfoods, you’ve got an extremely viable energy source at your disposal.
So there you have it. There are so many ways to boost energy and productivity, but superfoods are one of the healthiest ones. They may not be easy to consume on the go, but if you have time for breakfast or lunch, you have time for a cacao, maca, bee pollen or chia smoothie. Your productivity is likely to shoot through the roof, as is your exercise performance and general mood. In other words, you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose!
This post was written by Caroline Knight, a Freelance Writer based in the UK. Caroline previously worked in nutrition and now runs healing retreats in Europe, alongside fulfilling her love of writing about everything from business to philosophy and transformation of consciousness.
Hi! We’re Team NeuroGum, aficionados of all things brain-related, from creativity to working out. With backgrounds in art, science, and athletics, we love delving into all the potentials of the human body.