Over the last few years we have seen a small group of foods become outrageously popular among health-conscious Americans and for good reason! The ancient Mayans used these foods for their superior nutritional value and other benefits such as warding off diseases and now these ingredients are being rediscovered.
As of this writing you can buy each of these foods from most grocery stores and you can even find prepared dishes and salads in delis and cafes. Don’t let the price tags scare you. A big bag of ancient tribal foods will last a long time because you only need a small amount. A spoonful mixed with non-dairy yogurt or hot gluten-free oatmeal is plenty and you’ll still get that nutrient rich goodness.
Today, we are going to briefly look at five different types of ancient tribal foods along with serving suggestions so everybody can see how easy it is to include these superfoods in our diets.
Acai Berry Powder- The Shuar people have lived in the Amazonian rainforest for centuries and their healers were among the first to discover the benefits of Acai berries. These berries are packed with antioxidants, protein and omega fats. They are also loaded with fiber to help curb your appetite. Try a spoonful of Acai berry powder in your next smoothie or glass of green juice! Yum!
Sprouted Chia Seeds- Did you know that chia is the Mayan word for strength? It is no surprise that chia seeds have been a major source of nutrition for people living in South America for millennia. Not only do they contain protein and omega fats, chia seeds are also a brain food and can even help to reduce inflammation in your joints. A true miracle food! Try some sprinkled on your salad. Look for sprouted chia seeds, sprouting naturally reduces phytic acid that can hinder mineral absorption.
Nopal (Prickly Pear Cactus)- Nopal is a natural treatment for diabetes in Mexico because it is known to lower blood sugar without any side effects. The plant is also said to lower LDL cholesterol levels and can even be used to treat asthma. It also happens to be a tasty form of medicine because it can be made into jelly and consumed on a piece of a endive leaf. Nopal salad is one of my favorite Mexican dishes!
Hemp Hearts- While hemp hearts are only about as big as sesame seeds they pack quite a nutritional wallop! These tiny seeds are among the highest density plant sources for protein. They also contain Vitamin E, omega fats, iron and GLA. Many vegetarians prefer hemp seeds as their daily source of protein. With their nutty flavor, hemp seeds are great over organic fruit salad, non-dairy protein smoothies or coconut yogurt. For a healthy snack try baking them into seed bars and gluten-free seed granola.
Black Rice- If black rice was good enough for the ancient emperors of China then it is good enough for us, right? It is true that at one time in China’s history only the emperors were allowed to eat this extremely healthy food. It contains lots of Vitamin E to help boost your immune system. Black rice is also packed with antioxidants to remove free radicals and may even help your body to resist cancer. Try steaming some black rice and serve it to next to grilled chicken. You can also use black rice in place of pasta in a cold salad. It is one of the main ingredients in my Jing Jing!
There we have it. Five different types of ancient tribal foods and they are all readily available in most health food stores. Even the fussiest eater is bound to like at least one of these miracle foods. If you have any tasty serving suggestions for the powerhouse ingredients then please feel free to share them in the comments section. Remember that the food you eat today will impact your quality of life in the future!