7 Ancient Superfoods with Healing and Weight Loss Properties

Many ancient cultures have recognized the healing properties of plants. In this video, I will mention some of the most vigorous plants used to cure health problems and diseases in these ancient cultures. All of these foods also have properties that will help you to lose weight faster.

Ginkgo

In the Chinese culture, Ginkgo is the root known to boost energy, vitality, and memory. It is also known to improve cardiovascular health and to better eye sight. Moreover, it has been the subject of recent scientific studies that support its use in treating patients with dementia. [1] It is helpful for weight loss as it helps to increase blood flow and circulation throughout your body, this is why it has its many positive effects on brain function.

Milk Thistle

In Europe, this common little flower would save the lives of those infected with poisons, and was continually used to aid patients with liver disease. It is still used today to treat the effects of excessive drinking. In patients with non-alcohol related fatty liver disease, studies show that the consumption of Milk Thistle lowers the dimensions of the liver organ and its content of stored fat. [2] Research on mice shows that milk thistle can also help with weight loss.  Mice that were fed a diet to induce obesity lost weight after taking silymarin extracted from milk thistle. [3]  Since silymarin alleviates inflammation, this could be a mechanism responsible for its benefits against liver damage, insulin resistance, and weight loss.

Noni

You may have heard of Tahitian Noni, helping with AIDS, cancer, atherosclerosis, senility, and so much more. This rare exotic super fruit is ultra powerful. The consumption of Noni favors regulation of body weight, reduction of fat deposits, lipid and glucose metabolism. [4] It is rich in nutrients, has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for the proper functioning of the digestive system, helps hormonal balance and helps manage blood sugar levels.

Papaya

This delicious fruit is not only tasty but also helps the digestive process in breaking down foods and improving bowel movements due of its high content of the digestive enzyme papain. 

Papaya therefore reduces the symptoms of dysfunctional digestion such as bloating, constipation, and heartburn [5]. This fruit is also rich in vitamin C and therefore contributes to strengthening of the immune system. [6] Papaya is low in calories and rich in many other nutrients including folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Maca

For the Inkas; Maca was said to promote hormonal health, restore and heighten sexual desire, and make you stronger. This root reduces blood pressure, boosts immune function and has antidepressant properties. Mood, energy levels, and Chronic Mountain Sickness have been proven to be improved by the consumption of red and black maca. [7] It helps provide extra energy and is rich in fiber, iron, many minerals as well as B Vitamins helping you feel full for extended periods thereby helping with weight loss. A clinical study also showed improvement in endurance, which is great in helping take on a new exercise routine. [8] Maca also aids adrenal function helping to reduce stress.

Camu Camu

Found in tropical jungle climates such as those in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, this tiny fruit is used to make an excellent super drink. Camu Camu is a superfood rich in powerful antioxidants including carotenoids and anthocyanin which rejuvenate and revitalize tissues in the body. Camu Camu holds the current world record for the most vitamin C (1600% of the daily recommended intake) which is helpful in weight loss due to its cortisol lowering properties which promote fat storage. Camu Camu prevents diseases which cause inflammation because of these powerful natural anti-inflammatory effects [9]

Kiwicha or Amaranth

Kiwicha is another superfood that is packed with energy-boosting vitamins and minerals including fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and zinc as well as antioxidant phenolic acids, carotenoids, and flavonoids. It is used to fight off anemia due to its high iron content. It also contains squalene, an anti-cancer agent and helps support heart health by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. [10] For weight loss, Kiwicha was found to decrease levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger and to reduce appetite and calorie intake [11, 12].

Conclusion

These superfoods are proven to provide tremendous health benefits as well as helping in weight loss. They can be added to smoothies or consumed as whole foods to add variety and nutrient density to your diet.

 

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References: 

  1. J Biomed Res. 2013 Jan; 27(1): 29–36.
  2. Pais P, D’Amato M. In Vivo Efficacy Study of Milk Thistle Extract (ETHIS-094TM) in STAMTM Model of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. Drugs in R&D. 2014;14(4):291-299. doi:10.1007/s40268-014-0068-2..
  3. Guo Y, Wang S, Wang Y, Zhu T. Silymarin improved diet-induced liver damage and insulin resistance by decreasing inflammation in mice. Pharm Biol. 2016 Dec;54(12):2995-3000. Epub 2016 Jul 8.
  4. Nutrients. 2017 Jun; 9(6): 540.
  5. Muss C, Mosgoeller W, Endler T. Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive disorders. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2013;34(1):38-46. 
  6. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17: 230.
  7. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2016 Sep; 9(3): 49.
  8. Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson E. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Dec 10;126(3):574-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.09.012. Epub 2009 Sep 23. 
  9. J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Jan 1; 21(1): 8–14.
  10. KavitaPeter, PuneetGandhi, 2016, May 2017,May 2017
  11. Blom WA, Lluch A, Stafleu A, Vinoy S, Holst JJ, Schaafsma G, Hendriks HF. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):211-20.
  12. Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Callahan HS, Meeuws KE, Burden VR, Purnell JQ. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):41-8.

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