With an endless amount of superfoods on the horizon, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to narrow down your choices. Most people tend to stick with those that sound familiar or what they find on the bestseller list – and that’s perfectly fine.
Tons of amazing superfoods have been discovered in that manner, but that still leaves a huge percentage of herbs, berries, powders, tonics, and more that are commonly overlooked. Although they’re lesser-known names, they deliver fantastic benefits just as well, so we highly encourage you to check out these incredible superfoods.
The maqui berry is an exotic, dark-purple fruit that is mainly harvested by the native Mapuche Indians of Chile. Its leaves, stems and berries have been used medicinally for thousands of years; today, it is considered a “superfruit”, mainly due to its extremely high antioxidant content.
Maqui berries reportedly contain up to three times more antioxidants than blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. They’re also particularly rich in powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been scientifically linked to healthier heart conditions.
Studies have shown that diets containing high amounts of anthocyanins were associated with a 32% reduced risk of heart attacks, as well as a 12% reduced risk of high blood pressure.
Research also suggests that maqui berries have the potential to combat conditions associated with inflammation, including arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and certain lung conditions. On top of it all, they also possess the potential to improve gut health and moderate blood sugar levels.
Methylsulfonylmethane, more commonly known as MSM, is a compound naturally found in plants, animals, and humans. It is widely used in alternative medicine to treat a vast array of conditions, the most common being joint pain and inflammation.
MSM contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to help reduce pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. They can aid the process of muscle recovery naturally by reducing inflammation and curbing the breakdown of cartilage, the flexible tissue that protects the ends of your bones.
Furthermore, it may even be able to enhance the efficacy of other common supplements used in the treatment of arthritis, such as glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and boswellic acid.
Because MSM contains sulfur, it could also be beneficial for skin health by acting as a sulfur donor to keratin, thereby strengthening it. It may even reduce symptoms of certain skin conditions that cause redness and inflammation, such as rosacea.
Pine Needle Tea
In indigenous cultures, pine needle tea has been an important medicinal tool for thousands of years. Although research remains somewhat limited, the anecdotal evidence detailing its benefits is indisputable. However, with more than a hundred varieties of pine trees in the world, it is absolutely crucial that you use the correct pine needles, as certain varieties contain toxins and/or cause negative side effects.
Pine needle tea is believed to contain four to five times more Vitamin C than orange juice. It was even used by the Native Americans as a traditional remedy for scurvy, which is largely caused by a severe vitamin C deficiency.
It’s also potentially a very rich source of antioxidants, as research published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal showed that a water extract taken from pine needles showed a high level of antioxidants and DNA-protective properties. This means that pine needle tea could be helpful in fighting free radicals and treating chronic diseases.
Other benefits of pine needle tea reportedly include preventing respiratory infections, stimulating circulation, increasing cognitive performance, strengthening heart health, and speeding the healing process.
Maitake, meaning “dancing mushroom” in Japanese, is said to have been named as such after a group of Buddhist nuns and woodcutters discovered them emerging in the wild and subsequently, rejoiced with a joyful dance.
This mushroom is actually a type of adaptogen, meaning it assists the body in fighting against any form of mental or physical difficulty. It also helps regulate any systems of the body that have become unbalanced. Because of this, maitake is considered to be a medicinal mushroom, although it’s still perfectly fine to use in recipes for taste.
Maitake mushroom has been widely used in Japan and China for thousands of years; it’s renowned for its promises of health, vitality, and longevity. It’s purportedly immensely useful in treating cold and flu viruses, regulating high or low blood pressure, and increasing immunity function.
Moreover, a study conducted in 2013 indicated that Maitake D-Fraction could potentially help in preventing and treating breast cancer, as results suggest that this mushroom fights the growth and reproduction of cancerous cells.
Researchers also theorize that eating maitake mushroom may help keep your arteries healthy, with evidence from another 2013 study showing lowered cholesterol levels. There is also evidence that it may regulate glucose levels, meaning positive effects in the treatment of type 2 diabetes as well.
Eucommia Bark Extract
Eucommia is a rare tree species that has survived from ancient times. Only 14 species in the entire genus have been found in the world, but one after another has unfortunately become extinct. Currently, the species in China is the only remaining relict plant that has survived.
Eucommia bark extract has been used traditionally by Taoists for thousands of years because of its amazing adaptogenic properties. In the West, it is more commonly used as a supplement to lower blood pressure. Eucommia contains several nutrient-rich chemicals and compounds such as antioxidants, lignans, and isoflavonoids.
Studies have determined that compounds in eucommia may reduce blood pressure by blocking epinephrine, which is a hormone known to raise blood pressure. Eucommia also shows promising results when used in the treatment of diabetes, as well as the prevention of diabetic complications.
There are limited reports with regards to the side effects of using eucommia, but it’s highly advised that people taking certain medication should not consume it unless supervised by a medical professional. Such medicines include those for diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as anticoagulants and antiplatelets.
Stock up on Superfoods today
If you’re thinking of expanding your superfoods repertoire, you’ve found yourself in the right place. Here at Superfoods Australia we work hard to ethically source a wide array of superfoods, including the ones we’ve mentioned today.
We make it easy for you to get your hands on your superfoods as well by offering fast dispatch, free Australia-wide express shipping for orders over $100, and buy now, pay later options like AfterPay and ZipPay.