Every nutrition expert seems to have their own list of favorite superfoods, but Kale is on nearly every one of them. Known as a cold weather vegetable because it can grow into fall and winter in some areas of the U.S., it also grows in the tropics at our farm here in Costa Rica, where we have 5-6 varieties, plus its cousin, Collard Greens. Broccoli and Cauliflower leaves are also a form of Kale and can be used interchangeably in winter, so don’t waste them. Kale is good raw or cooked, and can be a principal ingredient in green drinks. Kale is a great source of iron, but most people don’t know that the iron in plants is only around 10% bio-available. To absorb more of this iron for your body’s use, have raw lemon/lime with it, or a vinegar dressing, which helps break it down for absorption.
More on Kale: http://ranchodelicioso.com/super-healthy-kale/
Kale Recipe: http://ranchodelicioso.com/gingery-kale-garden-salad/
Most people don’t need to grow this awesome superfood in their gardens, because it’s often growing on its own as a weed. If you want some, just walk out in front of your house or to any half-wild area and pull it out of the ground. A succulent plant, Purslane grows wild around the world in a variety of climates, and barely needs soil. You can find it growing in sand or even in the cracks of sidewalks. Besides a host of vitamins and minerals, Purslane is a superfood because it has the world’s highest quantity of Omega 3 oils of any leafy plant. It tends to be a bit slimy, but you can put that to good use by using it in pestos. Mixed with basil or other good pesto bases, it provides a lot of the oils needed.
More info on Purslane: http://ranchodelicioso.com/purslane/
Purslane Pesto Recipe: http://ranchodelicioso.com/cilantro-purslane-pesto/
This yellow/orange root vegetable grows in summer and lies dormant in winter, but you can harvest it anytime. In my opinion, it’s the healthiest and most important food in the world, and everyone should be eating a lot of it. Why? Because it’s been shown to prevent and cure Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and other brain illnesses related to aging. (Science behind this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/) However, you’ll need to eat a lot of it to make it work for you, since Curcuma, the active ingredient in Turmeric that’s so good for your brain, is difficult to absorb. A lot has been written about how to make it more bioavailable, and two leading ideas are to heat/cook with it, as they have done in India for thousands of years (and where Alzheimer’s disease is rare) Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are estimated to cost the world $650 Billion PER YEAR, and 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 is diagnosed with it. A great way to eat lots of Turmeric is to make a sauce with minced Turmeric and Ginger, in a bit of vinegar. Add a tablespoon of this to potatoes, salads, and just about anything because it’s great.
More about Turmeric: http://ranchodelicioso.com/turmeric/
Just about every type of berry you can find at the grocery store is on at least one expert’s superfoods list. Depending on where you live, you may find them growing in your backyard or on a hike in the woods. Berries are full of vitamins and minerals, and are especially prized by nutritionists for their antioxidant power, which help prevent cancer. You can eat them raw by the handful or sprinkle them over cereal. Dehydrated berries are great in trail mix or various snacks. While cooking them can destroy much of their phyto-chemicals, they’re still healthy baked into bread, brownies, cookies, pies, etc and if they’re sweet enough, can stand in for sugar in some recipes.
Photo of some of our berries: http://ranchodelicioso.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Berry-Harvest.jpg