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The 30 best superfoods for your mind and body

The 30 best superfoods for your mind and body 2017-10-05T00:24:16+00:00

author: Dr. Kevin Curran

published: 2/1/2017

Our alphabetical superfoods list..

Superfoods are nutrient rich foods that deliver multiple benefits to our health and well-being.

Each superfood is different, but in general, these foods often contain some combination of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other beneficial phyto-nutrients.

At the EthnoHerbalist, we are interested in the cultural history and biology of effective medicinal plants.

Below, we list and briefly describe the cultural history and health benefits behind the 30 best superfoods.

best superfoods list

Açai

Açai is a small purple berry from the rainforests of South America. Indigenous tribes living in the Amazon basin have eaten these berries for thousands of years. The Shuar tribe, a group native to Ecuador and Peru, used the açai berry for medicinal purposes (immune strength, vitality). We now know that these bright colored fruits contain lots of powerful antioxidant pigment molecules called anthocyanins. Antioxidants have been researched in regards to fighting certain cancers, reducing cholesterol and heart diseases. Açai also contains oleic acid, the same healthy fat that’s found in olive oil. Try buying unsweetened açai and working the material into a fruit smoothie.

Almonds

Almonds have always been highly regarded by humans. In ancient Egypt, almonds were a prized ingredient in breads served to the Pharaohs. Explorers transported this nut along the Silk Road, from Asia into the Europe. Soon, almonds were flourishing amidst the Mediterranean climates of Spain and Italy. In the 1700s, Spanish missionaries introduced almonds into California. Today, almonds are a multi-billion dollar business in California.

In the nut world, almonds are about as superfood as it gets. They offer generous amounts of nutrient per serving. Almonds are especially high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, choline and potassium. They’re also enriched with dietary fiber and various polyunsaturated fats that may help lower LDL cholesterol. Try switching from peanut butter to almond butter. It’s only a few bucks more per jar and you’re getting a much more nutritious nut.

Amaranth

Amaranth has been used as a food source for about 8,000 years. The Aztec people of ancient Mexico ate this plant often and even incorporated amaranth into their religious ceremonies. It’s now regarded as a superfood grain. Amaranth is high in protein and delivers a lot of energy per serving. More importantly for people with gluten intolerance, amaranth is one of the gluten-free grains.

Amaranth is also high in lysine, which is an amino acid often missing from other popular grains.

Avocado

Avocados are the gift that keep on giving. You can eat them right out of their skin or blend them into guacamole. The superfood is native to central Mexico and have been enjoyed in this region for the past 10,000 years. The word avocado originates from the Aztec word for testicle, ahuacatl. Clearly these ancient Mexicans were referencing the oblong, pear-shape of the fruit. A cup of avocado supplies you with high amounts of fiber, protein, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and potassium. A clinical study found that eating avocados can improve the lipid profile of both healthy people and people with high cholesterol levels.

Beets

Beets are the large root from the beet plant, Beta vulgaris. The original beet, called wild seabeet, grew natively along the Indian coastline. Upon discovering its thick edible roots, many cultures began domesticating the beet throughout the Middle East. This purple superfood vegetable is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help strengthen out body. In addition, preliminary research indicates that beetroot juice can lower blood pressure in hypertensive animals. This opens the possibility that beets can help people battle cardiovascular diseases.

Black beans

Black beans deliver a lot of protein and fiber in a small serving. If you’re eliminating meat from your diet, black beans are an excellent protein substitute. Plus, they’re also rich in iron, which is a mineral that’s often lacking from a vegetarian diet. However, if legumes cause you stomach problems, you’ll want to avoid these beans.

Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the few berry plants native to North America. This delicious fruit was gathered and enjoyed by Native Americans long before Europeans arrived. Now we know that blueberries are packed with fiber, vitamin C, manganese and antioxidant phytonutrients (anthocyanins, resveratrol, quercetin). In general, antioxidants benefit us by neutralizing the free radicals in our cells. Free radicals are charged molecules that jump around in our cells and cause havoc. This havoc can lead to cell damage such as DNA mutations. These blueberry antioxidants, especially the anthocyanins, are currently researched for their ability to protect against cancer and reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Broccoli

These hardy, green vegetables from the Brassica plant family are rich in fiber, phyto-nutrients, folate and vitamin C. Broccoli may not be your child’s first choice for dinner, but this veggie really boosts the nutrient content of any meal.

Cacao

Cacao powder is the raw material used to make chocolate. This powder is derived from the dried and fermented seed of the cacao tree (Threobroma cacao). Growing wild in South America, the cacao tree worked its way into the culture of many indigenous tribes. The Mayans of Central America drank a cacoa beverage as part of the ritual for their marriage and engagement ceremonies. Interestingly, even today chocolate remains synonymous with romance and courtship.

Once the cacao seed is processed into chocolate, it becomes mixed with unhealthy fats and sugars. However, you can simply eat cacao nibs or cacao powder and you still get the chocolate flavor but in a much healthier form. Cacao is low in calories and very rich in iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, fiber and flavonoids. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant molecule implicated in lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.

From my experience, the slightly bitter cacao becomes easier to enjoy when mixed with other foods like yogurt or almond butter.

Cauliflower

Similar to broccoli, cauliflower is another nutrient dense vegetable from the Brassica family. This super-veggie is a rich source of vitamin C, several B vitamins and vitamin K. Interestingly, cauliflower is also enriched with phytochemicals called glucosinolates. These glucosinolates are sulfur containing molecules, which is what accounts for the bitter flavor of cauliflower. This class of pytochemicals is currently undergoing research for its ability to protect against lung cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds fall from dried flowers of a Mexican species of sage plant named Salvia hispanica. Chia seeds are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber. If you don’t eat fish, then chia seeds are an alternative way to get your omega-3s. These seeds soften up as soon as they’re mixed with liquid or a moist food. This quick absorption of water aids in their quick breakdown in our body. I like to sprinkle these on salads, smoothies or on my whole-oat granola cereal.

Chilies

The domesticated chili pepper, Capsicum annuum, was first cultivated about 6,000 years ago in central Mexico. Since then, this spicy plant has been shared and grown throughout the world. We now have many versions of this pepper plant, including the serrano, cayenne and jalapeno varieties. All of these peppers include some amount of a spicy molecule called capsaicin. Studies suggest that capsaicin may help stimulate our circulatory system, moderate pain sensation and alter cancer cell activity. More clinical research is necessary on these medicinal properties.

Chili peppers are also excellent sources of folate, potassium and vitamin C, E and A.

Cranberries

Cranberries are sweet and tart fruits grown from evergreen shrubs. These cranberry shrubs grow in acidic bogs along the Oregon coast and other cooler regions of the world. Cranberries are a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and the essential mineral, manganese. Cranberries are also a rich source of bioactive flavonoids and polyphenols. These phyto-nutrients are thought to help with urinary tract infections and the reduction of ulcers.

Eggs

Eggs will always be a part of my diet because they’re a cheap source of animal protein and they contain zero sugar and zero carbs. You receive 6 grams of complete protein from a single egg. To be considered a complete protein source a food must provide adequate amounts of the 9 essential amino acids. In addition, hens that are fed flax seeds, will lay eggs enriched for omega-3 fatty acids. So, look for the mention of omega-3 on the egg carton.

And…whenever possible, choose cage-free or free-range eggs. In our opinion, it’s worth paying a dollar more per carton to support the ethical treatment of chickens.

Garlic

Garlic cloves come from the underground bulb of the garlic plant, Allium sativum. The garlic plant is native to central Asia and has been consumed by humans for over 7,000 years. Bad breath aside, garlic is one of the most celebrated food seasonings in the world. It is right up there with salt and pepper. Additionally, garlic is considered a medicinal food, largely due to a powerful chemical in garlic called allicin. Studies show that using garlic can improve cholesterol levels and also reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate and gastric cancer. Larger clinical trials are needed to confirm these claims.

Sidenote: After slicing garlic, let it sit for a few minutes before exposing it to heat. This trick increases the allicin content in your serving of garlic.

Black garlic is an interesting variation on the traditional white garlic. This black bulb has been fermented via humidity and heat. The fermentation process adds a probiotic element to garlic. This probiotic element means that black garlic contributes to the microbiome community that’s already living in your gut.

Ginger

Ginger and turmeric both belong to the same botanical family, a family called Zingiberaceae. In addition, both of these plants are incredibly healthy spices that are derived from the root of tropical plants from southeast Asia. Ginger was exported from Asia to Europe in the 1st Century AD, at the height of the spice trade. Since then, people around the world have been enjoying the taste of this plant. Ginger lends a unique, tangy flavor to meals. It is also very high in manganese, which is a key dietary mineral. In addition, ginger is widely regarded as a medicinal plant that can be used to reduce nausea. People eat ginger to prevent sea-sickness, morning sickness and the nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and probiotics. Probiotics are the live bacteria and yeast that exist in fermented foods and cultured dairy products. We already have a large population of bacteria and yeast living in our gut. We call this population of tiny creatures our microbiome. When we eat probiotic foods, we contribute more healthy bacteria and yeast into our gut. By supplementing our gut’s microbiome with healthy, probiotic foods – we can aid in digestion and often improve our immune system and overall physical health. Kefir, an ancient Russian drink of fermented milk, is similar to yogurt and is also a rich source of probiotics.

Green tea

The habit of drinking green tea originated in China during the mysterious reign of Emperor Shennong. These ancient Chinese people began steeping the leaves from Camellia sinensis in hot water. They found this warm drink both pleasing and invigorating. Tea is now the most popular beverage in the world.

The benefits of green tea are well known. Primarily, green tea contains caffeine. Caffeine is a natural stimulant and is responsible for most of the great things that have happened in the past 100 years. However, there is another powerful molecule in green tea leaves called EGCG. EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, is a polyphenol antioxidant that protects our body from free radicals and cellular damage. Green tea has been explored for its assistance with hyperlipidemia, hypertension, artherosclerosis and cancer prevention.

Goji Berries

Goji berries are bright red dried fruits often found in health food stores. This plant is native to Asia. The Chinese and Tibetans have been enjoying its health benefits for a long time. These dried berries are packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Goji berries tend to be a bit expensive but they’re worth it. Try adding a small handful on top of your cereal in the morning…delicious.

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are not quite as fun as you may think. Once processed, these seeds lose the psychoactive properties of marijuana, however, they retain all of their health benefits.  Hulled hemp seeds are an excellent source of natural fiber, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also high in protein. In fact, hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids our body needs for growth and repair. I appreciate the subtle, nutty flavor, so I add them on top of soups and salads.

Kale

Kale is the quintessential dark, leafy green. When people say you should eat more dark and leafy greens, kale is often what they have in mind. 3 cups of kale provides your daily needs for vitamin C, K and A. The same serving also provides you with high amounts of protein, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate and manganese. The leafy superfood is also rich in two different carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigment molecules are taken up by our eyes and thought to help prevent age-related macular degneration.

Lentils

Lentils are an edible seed from the legume family of plants. Humans have eaten these disc-shaped legumes since Neolithic times. In fact, lentils were eaten in the Near East about 10,000 years ago. Lentils remain popular today. Their popularity makes sense, as they are cheap to purchase, easy to cook, and high in protein, iron, folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, iron and zinc. This high iron content is important because many vegetarians suffer from anemia, a condition caused by low iron levels.

It should also be mentioned that lentils contain various anti-nutrient factors (enzyme inhibitors, lectins, phytates, ext.). Trypsin inhibitors and lectins disturb digestion, phytates reduce the bioavailability of dietary minerals. That said, pre-treating your lentils via boiling, soaking, fermentation or sprouting can remove most of these anti-nutrient factors. Also, for most people, eating lentils in moderation will prevent these anti-nutrient factors from becoming an issue.

Maca

Maca is a leafy plant that is native to the high Andes Mountains of South America. The ancient Inca people consumed maca root before they went into battle. These Inca warriors used the maca root as a means to boost their stamina, libido and energy levels. Today, people all over the world continue to add maca powder to their smoothies. The powder has an intriguing nutty flavor that also compliments coffee and cacao powder.

Pistachios

Pistachios are tasty green nuts that grow on a small tree, which is native to the Middle East and Central Asia. These nuts are nutritionally dense. Relative to the other tree nuts, pistachios have very low amounts of fat and calories in relation to their nutritional content. Pistachios are a rich source of fiber, protein, thiamin, calcium, potassium, oleic acid, linoleic acid and B vitamins – especially vitamin B6. Plus, pistachios are cholesterol free.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a native plant to North America. Most people only use pumpkins once a year to make a pie for Thanksgiving. However, this squash plant is loaded with nutrients and is worth eating year-round. Pumpkin is especially high in beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin that our body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to boost our immune system and support eye health.

Salmon

Salmon is an incredibly smart seafood choice. Wild salmon are born in freshwater rivers and swim out to sea as adults. At the end of their life – they swim upstream, return to their childhood river and deposit eggs. This initiates the next cycle of salmon life. Throughout this cycle, salmon develop strong swimming muscles that are very tasty to eat and incredibly nutritious. Salmon meat is a complete protein source and also contains omega-3 fatty acids. These omega 3s can reduce inflammation and may reduce heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Salmon is also a rich source for selenium and B vitamins.

Whenever possible, purchase wild salmon as opposed to farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is often less healthy and can be damaging to the environment.

Seaweed

It may seem odd, but you receive great nutritional benefit by eating many of the seaweeds growing along our shorelines. Most people are familiar with nori, as nori is the seaweed used to wrap sushi. However, many other seaweeds are edible and packed with dietary minerals. Dulse, wakame, kombu, arame and hijike are all seaweeds that can be consumed in moderation. In general, these seaweeds are rich in fiber, protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, calcium and potassium. I lightly pan-fry sheets of dulse (and kombu) in olive oil. This crisps up the seaweed and imparts a subtle, bacon-ish flavor. Once your dulse is crisped up, you can prepare a DLT sandwich (dulse, lettuce and tomato). Delicious!

Sidenote: Seaweeds are also rich in iodine. If high iodine intake is a concern for you – you will want to minimize seaweed in your diet.

Spinach

Similar to kale, spinach is another of these famously healthy vegetables. Popeye knew what he was doing when he threw down a handful of this dark, leafy green. Spinach is packed with fiber, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B2, manganese, folate and iron. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds found in spinach also contribute to physical health. I prefer to eat spinach raw in salads, this ensures you get the full complement of its nutritional elements.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice derived from the root of a tropical plant in the Ginger family. Native to south Asia, turmeric is most famous for providing the color and flavor to Indian curry sauces. In addition to its culinary use, scientists have now determined that substances found in turmeric, called curcuminoids, are biologically active in humans and provide us multiple health benefits. Lab reports demonstrate turmeric can reduce inflammation, minimize DNA damage through anti-oxidant activity and improve the health of some cancer patients. Regular use of turmeric has also shown the ability to improve mental health. A clinical study revealed an improvement in the cognitive function of elderly Asians upon regular consumption of curry.

Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced ‘Keen-wa’) is the name for a seed that forms in a flowering plant native to the Andes Mountains of South America. This grain was domesticated for human use about 4,000 years ago. And now, due to its nutritive payload, quinoa is widely respected as a superfood grain.

Quinoa is gluten-free and is also a rich source of iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. It’s also considered one of the best plant-based sources of protein. In fact, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids our body needs to build proteins. Other plant-based proteins are often deficient in lysine and isoleucine, however quinoa contains ample amounts of these key amino acids.

Watermelon

Watermelon is not just a refreshing treat on a summer day. This enormous berry is also low in sugar and high in vitamin C and A. In addition, watermelon contains lycopene, a pigment molecule that acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting our cells from damage.

White Mulberry

Dried white mulberry fruit are a little larger than raisins and tastes similar to a fig. These fruits form on a mid-size tree that is native to northern China. Historically, white mulberry has performed an integral role in the silk industry, as the leaves of this tree serve as a food source for the silkworms. It is the silkworms that are responsible for creating the silk threads, which then become woven into silk fabric.

These dried white mulberry fruits are now considered a superfood because they’re high in protein, fiber and micronutrients (vitamin C, K, A, E, B-complex, iron, magnesium, potassium). However, the most interesting health benefit to white mulberries is their capacity to help us regulate our blood-sugar levels. DNJ, a molecule found in this fruit, can interfere with the way our body processes sugar, thereby lowering our blood-sugar levels. This blood-sugar feature delivers possible benefits for diabetics and people trying to lose weight.

Yeast

Nutritional yeast is made from deactivated yeast. You can often find it as a garnish at a health-food salad bar. Nutritional yeast is a wonderful source of protein, fiber and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 can be a challenge to find in other foods, yet our body relies on this vitamin for healthy brain activity. Nutritional yeast can be added onto most foods. It’s commonly sprinkled on soups, salads and stir-fry dinners.

We hope you were inspired by our 30 best superfoods list!

Now, we would like to suggest a diet that is based around eating lots of superfoods.

We call this the EthnoHerbalist Diet.

What is the EthnoHerbalist Diet?

The EthnoHerbalist diet is a flexible diet that places heavy emphasis on superfoods.

We define superfoods as nutrient-dense foods (mostly plants) that deliver multiple health benefits to our body and brain. Below, we provide a detailed list of our favorite superfoods.

The primary intention of the EthnoHerbalist diet is to provide a healthy and realistic alternative to the standard American diet. With that goal in mind, flexibility in food choice is integrated into this diet.

Here at the EthnoHerbalist, we’re interested in the culture and history of medicinal plants. Most beneficial plants were discovered through trial and error by early hunter/gatherer tribes. To share these stories, we’ve interspersed some cultural history information in our list of superfoods.

Please try out the EthnoHerbalist Diet and let us know how it goes…

Be well!

list of superfoods

All health, diet or exercise advice presented on this site is intended for educational purposes. For medical advice related to your diet or any physical condition, please visit a medical professional.

1.) Focus on these foods:

Superfoods: 9-14 servings/week

Other vegetables/fruits: 5-7 servings/week

Whole grains: 6-8 servings/week

Seafood (sustainable harvest): 1-2 servings/week

Pastured poultry: 1-2 times/week

  • responsibly raised chicken and turkey

Grass-fed beef: 1-2 times/week

Olive oil: use as main cooking oil

Water: 8 glasses/day

2.) Reduce these foods:

Processed foods: less than 1-2 servings/week

Refined sugars: less than 3 servings/week.

  • reduce use of soda, sports drinks, high-fructose corn syrup, pastries, sweets.

Cheese: less than 3 servings/week

  • healthier cheeses include: parmesan, feta, goat, cottage cheese, ricotta

Soy products: less than 1-2 servings/week

  • reduce use of soy milk, tofu, soy nuts, miso soup

Sweeteners: less than 3-4 times/week

  • healthier sweeteners include: xylitol, stevia, raw local honey, real maple syrup

Alcohol: 3-6 glasses/week

Fried food: avoid completely

Trans-fat (margarine): avoid completely

Factory-farmed eggs/meat: avoid completely

3.) Exercise:

Keeping an active lifestyle is central to the EthnoHerbalist Diet.

If you can commit to to 30-60 minutes of high-energy movement every day – you’ll feel better, sleep better and think better.

Running, yoga or even taking a brisk walk all count towards high energy movement.

Furthermore, if you work from a desk, try to stand up every 20 minutes and take a few minutes to move your body. If nothing else, take a walk around the office and stretch your legs.

You’ll be surprised how well these brief cardio breaks can improve the overall productivity of your day.

(That’s what you tell your boss if you’re asked why you’re not at your desk… 🙂 )

Vegetables and Fruits

On top of the superfoods, we recommend at least 5-7 servings of these veggies and fruits every week.

Great vegetables

Asparagus
Avocado
Artichoke hearts
Bok Choy
Brussels sprouts
Carrots
Spinach
Celery
Broccoli
Zucchini
Cabbage
Cucumber
Peppers (all kinds)
Cauliflower
Parsley
Eggplant
Leeks
Green onions
Fennel
Olives
Collards
Kale

Fruits

Apple
Avocado
Blackberries
Papaya
Peaches
Plums
Mango
Lychee
Blueberries
Grapes
Grapefruit
Pomegranate
Coconut
Cranberries
Lemon
Lime
Strawberries
Watermelon
Pineapple
Guava
Cranberries
Raspberries
Cantaloupe
Tangerine
Figs
Oranges
Bananas
Cherries
Pear
Plum

Keep in mind, fruits often contain large amounts of sugar (in the form of fructose). If you’re trying to minimize sugar and lose weight, then go easy on the fruits.

Starchy vegetables

Butternut squash
Acorn squash
Yam
Sweet and white potato
Beets

Eat starchy vegetables in moderation if you’re counting calories.

Recommended nuts

Almonds
Cashews
Hazelnuts
Pecans
Pine nuts
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Macadamia nuts
Walnuts

Keep in mind, nuts can be high in fat. Go easy on the nuts, if you’re trying to lose weight.

The EthnoHerbalist diet includes moderate amounts of red meat, poultry and seafood because these are all excellent nutrient sources. When eating meat, we strongly encourage you to support responsible animal husbandry practices. Grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish and pastured poultry deliver greater nutritional value and impose a smaller environmental footprint than their factory-farmed alternative. That said, if you abstain from eating meat, simply avoid these options and focus on the plant-based protein sources discussed in our superfoods list.

Seafood

Fish and shellfish are an excellent way to deliver complete animal protein (all 9 essential amino acids) into our body. Most seafood also provides us with omega-3 fatty acids and many dietary minerals, such as selenium. That said, we need to make sure we support the right type of fishing practices. Our oceans are currently being slammed with over-fishing. Many fish populations are at risk of being depleted. When a fish population collapses, everyone loses. Read about the fallout from the 1992 Canadian cod fishery for a dramatic example of a mismanaged fishery (lost jobs, lost food, lost fish).

Seafood consumers can help. Spend your dollars on fish that were caught or farmed responsibly.

The Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch provides an up-to-date consumer guide for purchasing responsibly harvested fish. You can download a pdf guide that is specific to your geographic location.

top superfoods

photo: Lamiot, CC BY-SA 3.0

Due to over-fishing, the Atlantic cod fishery abruptly collapsed in 1992.

Red meat

What’s the deal with grass-fed cows?

A grass-fed cow has been raised on grass or some other plant that cows would naturally eat.

It’s important to seek out grass-fed beef because most cows in the US actually spend most of their lives eating grains. Farmers feed the cows grains (such as corn) because it’s cheaper for the farmer and also because much of the public has now become accustomed to eating grain-fed meat, which is often fatty and bland.

What’s the benefit to eating grass-fed meat?

First of all, there’s a nutritional benefit. Grass-fed beef is significantly more nutritious than grain-fed beef. Grass fed beef contains more linoleic acid, more omega-3 fats, more vitamin K2 and more vitamin E than grain-fed beef.

Secondly, grain-fed cow lots exact a heavy toll on the environment. The concentrated feeding lots used by grain-fed cows tend to deplete nutrients in the soil and ruin the local water supply.

Lastly, there is the issue of animal welfare. Raising an animal in an open space where they’re free to feed on their natural food source is a much more humane way to treat animals than the grain-fed equivalent. You can read more about this subject here.

top 20 superfoods

photo:Ryan Thompson/U.S. Department of Agriculture, CC BY 2.

Grass-fed cows feeding on grass.

Alcohol

Full disclosure: I am both a sailor and an Irish-American. So…it would be fair to say that I enjoy a drink from time to time. However, if life has taught me anything, it has taught me that moderation is key. In regards to alcohol, moderation is everything. Unless of course, you’re a non-drinker, then I suppose abstinence is everything…

But for the rest of us, here’s a few tips on how to moderately drink on the EthnoHerbalist Diet.

Wine

The MIND diet recommends a glass of wine every day. This diet is designed to protect against the degeneration of the brain and, specifically, to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. An impressive scientific report was published in 2015 that validates the MIND diet. The authors conclude that the MIND diet can significantly diminish age-related cognitive decline. In other words, not only is a daily glass of wine not hurting you, it is actually helping your brain stay healthy.

Okay, so now that you’ve decided to drink a glass of wine every day, you just need to know what type of wine is best suited for a diet. Well, in general, a glass of wine is about 130 calories. But, as you would imagine, calorie content depends on the type of wine you choose. A sweet desert wine like Port will run you about 200 calories, while a light white wine like Pino Grigio will only cost you 120 calories/glass.

Here’s a great infographic on the calorie content of different wines.

Spirits

Pure spirits like vodka, tequila, gin and whiskey all contain 0 carbohydrates. If you don’t mind the strong flavor, just pour yourself a small glass – neat or on the rocks.

When dieting, the last thing you want to do…is cut out sugars all week, then slam cocktails mixed with refined sugars on the weekend. Even the classic gin and tonic has quite a bit of sugar (about 16 grams/drink).

When in doubt, order a vodka and soda with a slice of lime. Nobody gets fat drinking these.

Just remember to cut yourself off before the trouble starts…

Beer

Aim for the light lagers and ales. Yuenling Light Lager and Amstel Light are both tasty beers under 100 calories/bottle.

On the bright side, most beers do contain some healthy antioxidants called prenylated flavonoids. These antioxidants arrive with the hops that are used to flavor beer. In general, antioxidants protect our body from the damaging effects of oxygen and free radicals. However, you would need to drink a keg of beer to get enough of these antioxidants to provide a benefit.

Don’t drink a keg of beer. There’s other ways to get your antioxidants.

Legal Disclaimer:

All health, diet or exercise advice presented on this site is intended for educational purposes. We urge all visitors to this EthnoHerbalist website to seek medical/professional advice before beginning any diet, lifestyle or exercise program that is discussed on the ethnoherbalist.com website. The information on this website if only general information, ethnoherbalist.com does not make any medical diagnosis or provide any medical advice. Once again, for medical advice related to your diet or any physical condition, please visit a medical professional.

It is strongly encouraged that individuals consult with qualified medical professionals for treatment and related advice on individual cases before beginning any diet. Decisions relating to the prevention, detection and treatment of all health issues should be made only after discussing the risks and benefits with your health care provider.

If you are pregnant, nursing, diabetic, on medication, have a medical condition, consult your physician before using advice, products or services discussed on this website and before making any other dietary changes. Thank you for reading our 30 best superfoods list, but please do not rely on superfoods to fix any medical problem.

This diet is not recommended or supported for those under the age of eighteen. By using the EthnoHerbalist Web site, you represent that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and a United States resident.