When I started really getting into healthy eating years ago, I was introduced to the concept of "superfoods" by Dr. Steven Pratt. He coined the term in his book, "SuperFood Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life."
His nutritional powerhouse foods include common items such as broccoli, spinach, blueberries, yogurt, walnuts, salmon and turkey. In fact, one criterion for making his list is that the food has to be readily available to the public.
This certainly isn't always the case with the superfoods touted today by health magazines and folks like Dr. Oz. Often expensive and from faraway places, today's superfoods, like goji berries, chia seeds, acai fruit and raw cacao, are definitely not accessible to the masses. Heck, even a health nut like me can't bring myself to spend a fistful of cash on a handful of dried berries from Tibet.
While I certainly advocate eating as many nutrient-rich foods as possible, the superfoods trend has gone a little crazy. This is why I find Marc David's unique perspective on "unexpected superfoods" so refreshing. A pioneer in mind-body nutrition, Marc is one of my teachers and the founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Marc recently published his "Five Unexpected Superfoods" list, which I've paraphrased below. You can read the full article here.
Obviously, our body's most essential nutrient. Not only critical for life, it also helps keep you trim. Food requires oxygen to burn. Decreased oxygen equals decreased metabolism. Many of us are shallow breathers due to chronic stress and anxiety. Deep, steady breathing increases oxygen and blood flow to the digestive system stimulating calorie-burning power. The best appetizer: five deep breaths.
Water's importance goes beyond drinking it. Since ancient times, civilizations worldwide have intuitively understood the healing power of immersing the body in water. Whether soaking in a hot bath, floating down a river, or surfing waves, water's soothing energy is deeply nourishing.
Many people are deficient in the sunshine vitamin, a.k.a. vitamin D. It's critical for preventing numerous ailments such as cancer, heart disease, depression, diabetes and Alzheimer's. Only a teeny amount can be obtained via food; the sun is the best source. When its rays hit your skin, it makes vitamin D.
Summer is prime time to stock up on this nutrient. Aim for 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure a day (up to 20 if you're darker skinned) on your arms and legs.
Healing touch elicits the sensation of pleasure. Pleasure induces a relaxation response, which is the optimum state for digestion, assimilation and calorie burning. Be sure to add massages and hugs to your weight-loss plan.
In our quest to have the perfect body, diet or health, it's easy to lose sight of who we really are and our purpose on this planet. Spirituality connects us to something greater than ourselves and reminds us to celebrate what we have and to love what is.
Accessible to All
All the "superfoods" on this list are completely free, accessible to all, and nourish us on a much deeper level then the food on our plates.
Where might you be malnourished in your life?
Which of these unexpected "superfoods" can you start consuming more of today?