For the longest time, people have been modifying food to make it stronger against the elements, higher in one nutrition value, and so on. This process, called genetically modifying foods, is no longer what it used to be. The names Monsanto and Bayer, and surely several others, ring true to us as the bearers of this cancer-causing tampering that not only destroys the environment, but ends lives. Nature no longer dictates what goes into our mouths - major corporations do. They've taken on God's responsability and, although not at the same magnitutide as with Jurassic Park, this form of playing russian roulette is one we can definitely do without.
The result is plants that are no longer as strong as they were previously. We all see it in animals - well, those of us who have either bred or purchased purebred animals. Continuously crossing the genes of the exact same species with the purpose of weaning out a certain unwanted gene can have undeisreable effects, such as a shorter-than-average life span and weak immune systems. The same goes with food: try to make a species of wheat higher in protein, and something is lost along the way - something that Mother Nature intended for us, but that we inadvertently weeded out.
So, what are the foods that have NEVER (or minimally) been tampered by humans called? Superfoods. They are the new thing nowadays, and they are still surviving - lucky for us. Few a far between, here are some of the superfoods that we can all include in our diets. And yes, when I say far - I do mean FAR. People have had to search into the depths of the Amazon to find quite a few of them!
Açai - this lovely berry was one of the ones found in the Brazilian Amazon and packs a punch of omega-3s and antioxidants. It is known to fight leukemia cells and help reduce heart problems. It is also a good source of omega 6 and 9.
Cocoa - cocoa itself is good for you, if you are eating it as a black chocolate and avoiding refined sugars. It is healthy because it contains serotonin and dopamine, which are antidepressants (hence the reason why we reach for it when we have the blues), as well as the same brain chemical that makes us think we're in love, the phenylethylamine (so the reason why we eat chocolate after a breakup). It helps promote insulin, reduce blood pressure (without the sugar, of course), increases antioxidant capacity and protect from bad cholesterol (LDL).
Goji Berries - this berry is originally from the Himalayas and surely one of the healthiest. It contains protein and has so many health benefits it's not worth starting to list them. Chinese have been using them for more than 2.000 years as medicine.
Hemp Seeds - these, although come from the same plant as marijuana, do NOT have the same properties! It is strictly a seed, without the buzz, that contains a high amount of fatty acids, minerals and protein. Used by raw foodies - often for breakfast due to its nutty flavour - it has the perfect omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. It is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce the risk of cardiac arrest and arthritis. It is also one of the healthiest plant-based oils available.
Barley - The most forgotten of ancient grains, barley hosts a variety of health benefits and has a great flavour as well. It is versatile and can be used instead of oatmeal for breakfast or replace rice in most dishes. As for the health benefits, it helps lower blood cholesterol and protects against cancer. It also slows starch digestion helping to maintain blood sugar levels.
Buckwheat - It's not actually a grain but is used as one for its nutritional value, with the advantage of not being high on the glycemic scale, which means that you don't get a sugar spike like with other starches. It can be used in soups, as oatmeal or gound to make flour for pancakes. High in protein, it also contains essential amino acids, thus boosting the protein value of beans and other grains eaten the same day. To make things even better, it doesn't contain gluten. It helps lower cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar levels (good for diabetes and obesity), and reduces hypertension.
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