Based on the concept of Nutritional Immunology (NI), superfoods are stringently-selected plant foods for their disease-fighting nutrients like antioxidants, phytochemicals and polysaccharides. Below are various factors taken into consideration in selecting and processing superfoods.
There are over 80 species of ginger and at least 1,000 varieties of mulberry. Though similar in characteristics, different species contain different sets of nutrients. With some herbs, only a few species are edible or outstanding in terms of nutritional value. For example, mushrooms such as Coriolus Versicolor and Agaricus Blazell Murill are extremely beneficial to health while Amanita mushrooms can kill when eaten!
Even the most nutritious herbs would yield little value if harvested at the wrong ages. For example, mushrooms like Garnoderma Lucidum contain maximum nutrition when harvested within a year but an Opuntia cactus fruit needs a minimum of 4 years to develop and ripen before its nutrients can be tapped. Similarly, ginseng berries need 3-4 years but ginseng roots need at least 6-8 years before they have any nutritional value.
Time of Harvest
Harvesting hours are critical too in determining the nutritional value of the plant. For example, bananas are harvested before ripening to prevent spoilage during transportation but bananas harvested after ripening contain more nutrition. Cactus pads are usually harvested earlier in the day to minimize acidity.
Not all plant parts have the same nutritional value. For example, grape seed contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) which has 20 times more antioxidant activity than vitamin C but people often eat only the grape flesh and spit out the seed. Ginseng berry contains four times more immunity supporting ginsenosides than the conventional ginseng root we know of!
It is inevitable that some nutrients will be lost during processing. Hence, investments into state-of-the-art technology is important and necessary to minimize such nutrient loss. For example, freezing is the best storage option for plants not consumed immediately. As such, freeze-drying method is used which allows frozen water content of plant foods to turn into vapor directly thus helping to retain the nutrients and freshness. Given extreme pressure and temperature are required, these processes tend to be energy-consuming which imply higher cost involved. However, the end result is a wholesome and highly nutritious superfood made available conveniently to all.
Research has to be conducted constantly to find out the best herbs and plant foods as well as on methods how to prepare them in the purest, freshest and most nutritious form. This can only be achieved by an organisation which has both experience and professional expertise since most people normally consume food that is familiar to them. People may not be familiar with or have no opportunities to obtain rare nutritious foods such as cactus, rose, ginseng berry and cactus fruit.
Thankfully, I was introduced to Oxyginberry which contains up to six amazing superfood in Jun2015 after my slip-discs operation.
Do feel free to reach out to me if you would like to know more on NI or find out where to get these superfood. Take charge and invest in your health! Share if you find this post useful 🙂
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