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Ageing is a gift that brings physiological changes with it. Superfoods help you get attuned to these changes to stay healthy and happy!

The main causes of accelerated ageing include genetics, inadequate nutrition, lack of physical activity, free radical damage, stress, malabsorption and enzyme depletion. Superfoods are a great addition to your healthy ageing regime. Consuming them daily can:

  • help increase nutrient intake and absorption
  • improve heart and brain function
  • reduce inflammation
  • energize and boost stamina
  • protect against cellular damage and
  • slow overall signs of ageing.

So, What Is A Superfood?

A superfood is a nutrient-dense food, containing a high degree of antioxidants and naturally occurring plant micronutrients called polyphenols. There are upwards of 8,000 different types of polyphenols. Well-known superfoods include blueberries, turmeric and kale. The lesser-known ones include Spirulina, Chlorella, maca and moringa.

Making sure to consume vibrantly coloured “superfoods” provides your body with full-spectrum nutrition, helps prevent disease, combats waning energy and promotes longevity.

Fermented Maca: In Detail

Maca, a superfood traditionally used in both food and medicine, has been used for over 2,000 years by natives of Central Andes. The environment of the Junin Plateau (Cerro de Pasco) is rocky with volcanic soil, a dry climate with little oxygen, high levels of sun exposure and freezing night-time temperatures in the summer. 

The cultivation is what makes it unique, as it naturally grows between 9,000 to 14,000 ft above sea level! Also known as Peruvian ginseng, maca root supports mental and physical energy as we age.

Maca is a great example of traditional wisdom benefiting from innovative technology. As a tuber and a cruciferous vegetable, maca benefits greatly from fermentation. Eaten raw, it can be challenging to digest. Fermentation improves the digestibility and absorption of its wide range of nutrients and antioxidants. Fermentation also doubles the concentration compared to regular maca powders!

Green Superfoods

Think about filling your diet with dark, leafy, greens like alfalfa (an anti-inflammatory), kale (a detoxifying cruciferous vegetable), wheatgrass (a stimulant for metabolic and thyroid function), oat grass (soothes the digestive tract and reduces inflammation), and barley grass (with many anti-aging properties)

Finding these superfoods in a fermented format is even better! Many cultures have been benefiting from fermentation for centuries. It increases the bio-accessibility of minerals and antioxidants, has a substantially reduced sugar content, and helps by pre-digesting complex foods. Let’s take a good look at maca to understand the benefits of superfoods better.

Red Superfoods and Antioxidants

There are many red superfoods — such as beetroot, pomegranates, goji berries, raspberries and cranberries — that serve as a rich and delicious source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect against cell damage caused by free radicals. They also help prevent inflammation and support a healthy cardiovascular system as we age.

These red plant foods contain compounds called nitrates. Nitrates stimulate our production of nitric oxide which helps with vascular tone and ability to relax, as well as helps heal the walls of blood vessels. Nitric oxide also reduces platelet adhesion and clotting, and bad cholesterol oxidation.

“Bad” cholesterol (LDL) becomes more of an issue as we get older. When high levels of cholesterol cause inflammation of blood vessels, blood flow blockages can occur. LDL needs to pass through the bloodstream to be eliminated from the body.

Spirulina, Chlorella and Turmeric

Many superfoods are also found in the sea! Sea plants like Spirulina and Chlorella, are powerful antioxidants that help control inflammation and help maintain a clear flow of LDL cholesterol from the body.

Heart and brain health go hand-in-hand. Spirulina contains all nine essential amino acids and an impressive amount of protein, as well as essential fatty acids and some complex carbohydrates. These are all key for supporting brain health!

Many superfoods help reduce the occurrence of inflammation, but we can’t forget to mention turmeric. This tuberous plant comes from the ginger family and contains a compound in its root called curcumin. This produces its vibrant yellow pigment! Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant and supports optimal liver detoxification.

Superfoods are the secret to graceful ageing. The more colourful your diet, the greater variety of antioxidants, phytonutrients and nutrients. Add more Superfoods to your everyday, pair them with an active lifestyle and a whole foods diet to Live the Healthy Life®!

RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc. Pharm, is a holistic consultant with more than 40 years of experience in both conventional and natural medicine. Currently, she counsels and lectures on holistic health and mind/body vitality, formulates new health products, as well as offers group workshops in community-building. Know more here!

References

  1. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 193496.
  2. Role of nitric oxide in the biology, physiology and pathophysiology of reproduction Hum Reprod Update. Jan-Feb 1998;4(1):3-24.
  3. Chapter 19 – Nutritional and Pharmaceutical Properties of Microalgal Spirulina Handbook of Marine Microalgae, Biotechnology Advances, ScienceDirect

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