Powerful Superfoods and How CBD Can Boost Their Effectiveness
04 Feb 2021-
We’ve all dreamed of what we could do if we had superpowers, like the ability to fly or spontaneously summon Nutella pancakes with extra whipped cream. Sadly, science has yet to devise a way to grant us these magical abilities.
To be fair, we’ve come a long way as a species. Instead of making griddle cakes on an open fire, we can have someone deliver a buttery stack of silver dollars with the click of a button; and rather than traversing the plains on horseback, we can (current lockdowns notwithstanding) hop in a car and go wherever we please.
But even if nature hasn’t granted us the powers of lore, the earth has provided some mighty potions with the ability to fortify and rejuvenate us. These come in the form of superfoods.
The term “superfood” might sound superficial. But unlike some health trends, the zeal for superfoods is backed by plentiful scientific evidence. These foods, including everything from almonds and blueberries to pomegranate and quinoa, are packed with nutrients that can support a range of physical and mental health facets.
While they’re beneficial on their own, these exceptional foods can deliver an even more powerful punch when paired with super-supplements like CBD (cannabidiol). CBD boasts a range of health benefits, from supporting consistent energy levels and regular sleep cycles to maintaining balanced pain and inflammatory responses. It can also reinforce a healthy appetite and digestion.
Like CBD and its parent plant, cannabis, many of these superfoods have been a dietary and medicinal staple in certain communities for thousands of years.
Here are three superfoods that work particularly well with a daily dose of CBD.
Communities in Central and South America have been utilizing these tiny, oval seeds for food and folk medicine since about 3500 B.C. The Aztecs also used them as a religious offering to the Gods during rituals.
Chia seeds are rich in nutrients such as fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals, including manganese, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, iron, and calcium. Research indicates they may promote healthy hair and skin, prevent heart disease, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and support a balanced inflammatory response. The omega-3s in chia seeds may also promote neurological and mental health.
Healthy fat, which chia seeds have in spades, can facilitate CBD absorption as well.
A study published in the journal Epilepsia is one of many demonstrating this. This investigation examined eight adults who had been prescribed CBD for epilepsy. In the first half of the study, four volunteers took their CBD four hours before eating breakfast, while the other four took their dose within 30 minutes of eating a high-fat breakfast burrito. After two weeks, the groups switched. Researchers found participants’ bodies absorbed four times as much total CBD when they took their dose with a high-fat meal, compared to taking it on an empty stomach.
Other exceptional sources of omega-3 fatty acids include hemp seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts.
The ancient Maya, thought to be the first people to consume and use cacao, called it “Food of the Gods.” Mesoamerican peoples also used it medicinally in more than 150 ways.
Also known as cocoa, this delectable superfood is a byproduct of dried, fermented cocoa tree seeds. It’s what gives chocolate its distinct, decadent taste. If you’ve had extra dark chocolate (80% or more), you know cacao is more bitter than sweet in its natural form. But while its flavor and aroma are what dreams (and countless treats) are made of, its nutritional value may be even more impressive. Raw cacao is rich in minerals, including magnesium, potassium, fiber, calcium, iron (about 7.3mg per 100g, compared to beef, which has just 2.5mg). It also has about 40 times higher concentration of antioxidants compared to blueberries. It’s rich in flavonoids as well, which research suggests may decrease blood pressure and inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
Raw cacao, like chia seeds, may also promote mental wellness due to its high concentration of antioxidants and the flavonoid epicatechin in particular. An article published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology explains these flavonoids promote changes in the brain that can positively affect learning, memory, cognition, and mood, helping combat dementia and stroke risk. Another survey, published in the Psychiatric Times, affirms these benefits, adding that eating dark chocolate or raw cacao may positively impact emotional health and reduce the risk or severity of depressive episodes.
All of this talk of chocolate’s health benefits is exciting, no doubt, but hold up before you make Snickers or Reese’s a lunchtime staple. Raw cacao is quite a bit different than its sweet counterpart, even though they come from the same plant. Cocoa powder is obtained by roasting the cacao bean at a very high temperature, then alkalizing it to reduce some of its bitterness. These processes significantly reduce its nutritional value. Raw cacao, however, is extracted through cold pressing the raw beans, retaining the vital nutrients within.
That being said, you can still use raw cacao in a variety of delicious ways, including smoothies and cereals, and sweeten it with natural sweeteners like agave, stevia, or honey.
Honey is another superfood that’s been widely-used and much-beloved since ancient times. Civilizations from the Assyrians and Egyptians to Babylonians and Greeks utilized honey in various recipes, medicinal practices, and religious rites. While all-natural honey varieties contain powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties, Manuka Honey is a cut above the rest.
This unique type of honey is sourced from bees who pollinate the manuka bush, a plant indigenous to New Zealand and a few neighboring islands that blooms a few weeks a year. By contrast, most honey is made by bees that pollinate common plants like clover, buckwheat, and sunflowers.
Manuka Honey is not only rare but packs a significantly more powerful nutritional punch compared to its counterparts. This elite variety contains extraordinarily high concentrations of vitamins and enzymes and about 100 times more methylglyoxal (MGO) than conventional types.
Unlike regular honey that undergoes a heating process that strips it of many vital nutrients, Manuka Honey is minimally processed and strictly monitored and tested for purity. On each jar, you’ll find a UMF, or Unique Manuka Factor, indicating the batch’s authenticity and purity. Ratings range from 5+ to 24+; the higher the number, the higher the quality.
Along with its antibacterial and antifungal attributes, like CBD, Manuka Honey may support healthy immune system function, including a balanced inflammatory response, among other benefits. Consider adding it to foods or drinks, like tea or coffee, or in foods, such as smoothies and oatmeal.
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