Dr. Perricone's 10 Superfoods - No. 1: Açaí as seen on Oprah.com
It may seem odd to start this list of superfoods with one you’ve likely never even heard of. But studies have shown that this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world! Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is the high-energy berry of a special Amazon palm tree. Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a vibrant blend of berries and chocolate. Hidden within its royal purple pigment is the magic that makes it nature's perfect energy fruit. Açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Although açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, you can find it in several health food and gourmet stores (often in juice form). A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, and I highly recommend that you choose this form of açaí.
Açaí pulp contains:
- A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
- A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
- An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.
The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid is important for a number of reasons. It helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate the cell membrane; together they help make cell membranes more supple. By keeping the cell membrane supple, all hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state, and we know, inflammation causes aging.
The other 9 Superfoods include:
- Anything in the "Allium Family"
Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots can all help the liver eliminate toxins and carcinogens.
This can be used as a breakfast cereal, in soups and stews, and as a rice substitute. Barley's also high in fiber, helping metabolize fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates.
- Green Foods
Green foods like wheat and barley grasses can be bought in powder, tablet or juice form, and offer greater levels of nutrients than green leafy vegetables. They also help cholesterol, blood pressure and immune response.
- Buckwheat: Seed & Grain
Buckwheat is loaded with protein, high in amino acid, stabilizes blood sugar and reduces hypertension.
- Beans & Lentils
You can reduce cholesterol while beefing up on antioxidants, folic acid and potassium. Try kidney, black, navy, pinto, chickpeas, soybeans, peas and lentils.
- Hot Peppers
Both bell and chili peppers contain antioxidants, have twice the Vitamin C as citrus fruit and work as great fat burners.
- Nuts & Seeds
You can't go wrong with a handful of nuts a day—walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia and pistachio nuts contain Omega 3 fats, which are great for your heart. Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds are best.
Numerous varieties of sprouts are great with any meal. They're a great source of protein and Vitamin C. Try adding them to any dish and your immune system will get a boost.
- Yogurt and Kefir
These cultured foods contain healthful bacteria that aid immune function, and the calcium helps burn fat. Try using them as a base for a smoothie.