“Superfood” is a term that is thrown around very liberally these days, and whether you believe the fad or not, there is no doubt that a healthy and balanced diet is beneficial to everybody. These “superfoods” are extremely nutrient-rich and can serve to enhance your diet so that you can maintain good energy levels throughout the day and stay healthier in general – “prevention is better than cure,” as they say.
The baobab tree, which can grow up to 30 meters tall, is aptly nicknamed “the tree of life” as it stores potable water in its trunk. In the arid climates where it grows, such as central Africa, Australia, Madagascar and Arabia, this water has indeed been known to save lives. The tangy tasting fruit of the baobab tree provides an array of benefits and is most commonly found in powder form, so it can easily be incorporated into your diet in numerous ways.
Further benefits of baobab powder include antioxidant effects from its extremely high Vitamin C and E content, a fairly high concentration of amino acids, and a large number of micronutrients such as potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Tiger nuts – which are actually tubers, also known as grass or yellow nutsedge – have a long history in southern Europe, where they originated, though they have since been naturalised in parts of Africa. In these places, tiger nuts are consumed not only for their slightly sweet and subtly nutty and earthy flavour but also because they pack a punch when it comes to nutritional value.
Tiger nuts are usually dehydrated for preservability, so it’s best to rehydrate them for a few hours or overnight before consumption, as this makes them easier to eat and to digest. Tiger nuts can also be ground into flour, as a gluten-free alternative in baking and cooking. If you have heard of or tried a plant-based milk called “horchata,” popular in Spain and Latin America, then you are, in essence, familiar with tiger nuts.
High levels of healthy fats contained in these tubers can reduce cholesterol levels, as well as resistant starch that reaches the colon intact, thus boosting prebiotic growth and an overall healthy gut, which in turn is good for the immune system. Antioxidants such as magnesium and iron are an added bonus, as well as phosphorus, which is found in all cells in the body, and needed to perform vital enzymatic reactions.
The chaga mushroom is a non-toxic parasitic fungus found on birches and other trees as well, mainly in the northern hemisphere where the climate is colder. It boasts numerous health benefits thanks to its many antioxidants, such as melanin and Superoxide Dismutase, a group of enzymes that aid in protecting from free radicals.
Further components such as polysaccharides, give energy, are good for cardiovascular, intestinal and liver health, and can help regulate blood sugar. Beta-D-Glucans help to modulate the immune system and may also stabilise cholesterol. The immense immune-boosting potential of chaga mushrooms and their antimicrobial and antiviral properties can help alleviate stomach ulcers and soothe some chronic pain also.
The most common way of consuming chaga mushrooms is in the form of tea, a centuries-old tradition in some cultures, but it can also be found in the form of dietary supplements, which should always be purchased with care from a reputable source.
Adding one or any of these “ultra-ingredients” into your diet may be a natural way to boost your health and wellbeing – if anything, they’re sure to bring variety and new flavour profiles into your diet.