Superfoods and Superherbs
“She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.”
A tremendous blessing available to us in the modern world is that we have access to the best foods and medicinal plants like never before, in known history. Even prized herbs that were once so highly treasured, that they were reserved only for emperors and kings; are now available to us to purchase and make part of our daily diet.
In this light, it is very interesting to consider the Biblically famous “wife of valour” in Proverbs 31. A woman, that was rare indeed at the time this Scripture was penned; for “who could find” her.
As quoted above, one of the very first features that are mentioned in association with this unique and amazing woman was that she brought “her food from afar”. Like a merchant ship, she seeks food from the distant parts of the planet. What exactly does this mean? In essence, she had to understand the value of the distant foods that she was pursuing in order to be amply motivated to put in the required effort and investment to seek them out.
Does this have real, practical implications for us today? Absolutely! And we may very well be the first generation who is able to apply this proverb on a comprehensive and personal scale; allowing us to bring amazing health and healing into the lives of our families. This is the realm of superfoods and superherbs. These are the “foods from afar”, well worth pursuing in our day.
But, what about the concept of “local food”; and supporting local economies? And what about the ecological impact of global trade? These are large questions, and too complex to address in great detail at present in this post, but I believe that local economies are very important for us to focus on; and yet at the same time, that it is also possible to engage in global trade, in a measured and responsible way; whenever the benefits are worth the effort (even though global trade is not generally practiced in a sustainable manner by any stretch of the imagination at present). Getting our hands on the foods and herbs that will bring amazing vitality, health and worthwhile pleasure into our lives ought to be at the top of our lists in terms of priorities.
So, when we speak of “superfoods” and “superherbs” what exactly are we talking about here?
We are speaking about plants and medicinal herbs that are understood to be the most rich and diverse in the world, in terms of their nutrient content; and strength building and / or healing potential.
The following phrase attributed to Hippocrates has become famous, and is certainly worth our consideration (Hippocrates was a Greek physician living from 460 to 370BC): “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
This is very wise advice – a “saying of the wise” as King Solomon would likely put it. (Prov. 1:6).
Lets discern and examine how this dietary perspective carries with it amazing insight (like with all wisdom in the world, as God’s people, discerning the good to take with us and leaving any possible negatives):
1 – Letting Food Be Our Medicine
- We each only have so much energy stores to go about daily life; and the process of digestion has high energy requirements (the degree of energy required depends largely on the type of food). With this in mind, we are wise to choose foods that will be the best for us by considering their health imparting potential. This is how we can let “food be our medicine”.
2 – Letting Medicine Be Our Food
- The world of nature is full of diverse kinds of therapeutically medicinal plants that we can integrate into daily life. Though, this is not the norm for most of us, there is no reason that certain kinds of medicinal plants cannot become a large percentage of the food that we eat. This is how we can let “medicine be our food”. When we do this, we step into an amazing kind of healthful vitality; and lovingly assist our bodies to have the potential to prevent illnesses before they start.
3 – The Creator’s Original Design
- All of the plants, in the form that God designed them, are health giving and healing in nature. Note that the further we push plants away from their original design through our own intervention, the more we tend to lose in terms of their original health giving potential; and the less therapeutic or medicinal value they tend to have.
4 – Practicing Food Wisdom
- In order to put this advice into practice, we have to become educated about the food that we are consuming; and become open to adding into our diets foods that perhaps we have never even heard of before. We need to be open to trying new things, and challenging our taste buds. Many of the medicinal substances found in various plants come in the form of flavours that most of us have not developed a taste for. The amazing thing is, the more our body begins to recognize the healing substances in these plants, the more palatable they will become; and yes, we can even begin to crave them!
The valuable kinds of food that have become known as “super”; are those that possess rich and plentiful nutrition; lending to us a potential to step into tremendous levels of health when we incorporate a wide variety of superfoods in our diet. The name “superfood” has been thrown around a lot, and what some consider superfoods would not be considered nutritionally rich enough by others. For example, some have classed “legumes” as a superfood; but these really pale in comparison with higher quality superfoods such hemp, chlorella or bee products. In my opinion, to really considered a “superfood” a food must be world class in terms of being super-packed with beneficial substances – such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other plant substances (such as “polyphenols”). True superfoods are worth seeking out from the far corners of the earth, in order for us to add them to a quality local food diet (though, certainly we can consume superfoods that thrive in our own climate as well).
With superfoods we can approach diet with a “less is more” perspective; you get super amounts of nutrition, with very little quantity of food. This is precisely what we need for optimal health. When it is the other way around (little nutrition for large quantities of foods and calories), this results in bodily deficiencies, imbalances, weight gain, excess hunger, lack of energy, illness and disease. It also takes a great deal of energy to process large quantities of food; and this robs us of the energy that can be better utilized to live our life to the fullest, according to the love and leadership of our God.
It is also important to note that if the food we are eating is deficient in nutritional value, our intelligent bodies will signal our brains to keep eating in order to seek out those essential nutrients that we are missing. This of course leads to overeating and excess hunger; where we are always eating, yet never satisfied with the “foods” devoid of nutritional value.
Superfoods are a form of nutritional insurance; Ensuring that we meet all of our essential nutritional needs for our bodies to function optimally and stay healthy.
Superherbs are a class of edible plants that also have a significant therapeutic, body strengthening or medicinal value. Again, the definition lines can be blurred, but generally when people are speaking of superherbs, they are speaking of herbs that are rich in medicinal substances. Meaning that they are natural preventative or therapeutic “medicines” that can be safely consumed by individuals on a daily basis; providing protection to the body in some form or another. Some superherbs are anti-microbial, antibacterial and / or antifungal; others enhance and stimulate the immune system. Some provide hormone balancing effects, others enhance brain function; or have liver detoxification stimulating effects. In fact, as there are a wide range of super, tonic herbs; there are a variety of unique health benefits that each of these plants offers to us.
By making superherbs a daily part of our dietary intake, we can truly practice the concept of making “medicine our food”; and achieve amazing results by so doing.
It is important to note that not all superherbs are appropriate to everyone, under all circumstances. Depending on our own unique situation, care needs to be taken in choosing what herbs to incorporate and in what quantities (such as in the case of pregnancy, prescription drugs, children, etc). Herbal health professionals can be of great service to us in this area. And, educating ourselves is also key.
In terms of understanding the difference between superherbs and superfoods, a primary difference is that; generally speaking a super “food” will have with it some kind of caloric value; whereas super “herbs” are nutrient dense, while generally not adding much at all to our caloric intake (as in the case of teas, infusions, tinctures, etc.)
As we gain more and more insight into the mysterious, glorious complexity of the world around us; we are blessed to appreciate and be filled with awe at the highly exalted wisdom of the Creator of the Universe, whose mercy, goodness, love, intelligence and beauty is truly infinite and beyond our comprehension. The deeper we delve into any research of value, the more we realize there is to discover. May we be increasingly inspired to learn about, and walk in wisdom associated with, God’s creation; and be filled with thankfulness as we reap the benefits of aligning ourselves with the gifts that He has given us, readily available to us in the earth in which He has placed us. And may these blessings of health, always lead us to look to Him, as the ultimate giver of all things and the true source of all life. The meaning of His revealed name speaks to this: He is the “One Who Is, Who Was, and Who Always Will Be“; The One in Whom all life dwells.
Once again, wishing you all blessings and Shalom,
“Oh come, let us sing to Yah!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For Yah is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.”