“Superfoods” are becoming more and more popular these days for many good reasons. OxfordDictionaries.com defines a “superfood” as a “nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
Whether you’re already consuming “superfoods” daily or just want to try them out, you might find this list of parent-recommended superfoods useful:
Camu-camu is a plant that is found mostly in flooded areas of the Amazon rainforest. Its fruits are full of vitamin C and are also known for their antioxidant properties.
Roxi Roman-Santiago, entrepreneur and work-at-home mom to Jacob, 3, and Joaquin, 4 months, says her family takes camu-camu powder “from The Superfood Grocer for that much-needed vitamin C.”
“We try to not take medicine for illnesses like flu so camu-camu is our weapon of choice to fight off the virus/bacteria. We take it at the slightest symptoms, so that it won’t progress,” Roxi adds. “Our son usually doesn’t take any medicine when he’s sick — just this one, and it works wonders.”
According to WebMD.com, chia is “an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures… Chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.”
It’s no wonder then that many people have started adding chia into their daily diet. Michelle Siaotong-Llaban, mom to Sev, 7, Kaitlyn, 5, and Max, 2, says her family puts chia seeds in their salads, pancakes and drinks.
Freelance writer and mom of 2 Aggie Aviso, on the other hand, says chia seeds are a staple in their breakfast meals. “This is for [lowering] cholesterol and added fiber,” she adds.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, renowned alternative medicine proponent and award-winning physician, has dubbed spirulina — “a form of blue-green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies” — as “the amazing super food you’ve never heard of.” It helps strengthen your immune system, balance blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cancer and stroke, among other things.
Myra Ortega, investment advisor and mom to a 2-year-old boy, says she and her family use spirulina occasionally to boost their health, in addition to the other superfoods they consume daily, i.e. chia and flax seeds, raw honey, and apple cider vinegar.
Camote or sweet potato is commonly available in the Philippines, and is one of the root crops that figured in a 2012 study done by the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).
The results of the study showed that the daily intake of root crops — such as camote — “significantly lowers bad cholesterol levels in the body.” Root crops contain dietary fiber, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
This is one of the reasons why surfer and hands-on dad of one, Ariel Becina, says their family prefers camote over rice.
Malunggay or moringa is another commonly-found plant in the Philippines that is becoming more famous for its “superfood” properties.
Although commonly known as a galactagogue (a substance that promotes milk production) more than anything else, malunggay is also widely used as a source of calcium, vitamin C, protein, iron and other nutrients.
It’s no wonder then that Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan chairperson, web designer and father of one, says his family consumes malunggay on a regular basis.
Josh Ong Cayabyab, executive assistant and mom to Maxene, 9, and Rafael, 6, says she considers apple cider vinegar as a “superfood.”
“I prefer Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar [available at Healthy Options and major supermarkets]. I've been taking it with water as soon as I wake up in the morning,” Josh shares.
“I started with 1 bottle capful of vinegar mixed with 8 oz. water, then increased the amount as I went along. Now, I'm taking 4 capsful of vinegar with 32 oz. water,” she continues. “It cleanses my stomach and increases my immunity. I used to have 1 episode of flu per year but since I started this almost four years ago, I’ve been flu-free!”
Although the saba banana originates from the Philippines and is easy to find in most places locally, we Filipinos may not be aware of its “superfood” potential. The fruit actually provides the same nutritional value as potatoes.
Homemaker Laksmi Martinez Flores, mom to Zoe, 8; Ito, 5; and Noah, 10 months, says she and her family eat ripe saba regularly because it is “a good source of energy.”
Laksmi adds, “It’s also better to eat fruits that are in season so the body is also in sync with the environment. This makes our body adapt faster and helps us avoid illness.”
Whichever ones you choose to consume though, it may also be advisable to consult a health professional before you start eating them, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Ultimately, the adage "You are what you eat" should be our guiding principle in deciding what we feed our families. Decide to be healthy and start at home.
What superfoods can you add to this list? Leave a comment below!