Costa Rica’s Superfoods

A food can be called a “superfood”, if it contains a lot more of specific, highly sought and beneficial nutrients than any other food. Superfoods also have to be 100% natural and must grow wild to received this label. They are called the “medicine of the future”, because they offer the same curative impact than prescription drugs, moreover they are more attractive because they are offered at a fraction of the price of what is provided via the pharmaceutical industry (no research and patents are needed for fresh foods!) and your consumption does not promote harmful, negative socio and environmental impacts, such as animal experimentation, and eliminates the need for plastic packaging. Costa Rica, among other highlights, is known for its fresh fruit and vegetables, and the country offers an abundance of superfoods due to its year round tropical climates. So don’t miss trying these five fresh and tasty superfoods on your next visit in Costa Rica.

1. Chia Seeds

chiapudding-costaricaChia Seeds, originated in Mexico, and are now being grown today in far away countries such as South America and Australia. Historically, the Aztecs ate the seeds before a battle to get power and traded them like gold. They are regarded as super healthy, because they contain a great number of important unsaturated fatty acid, like omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid. In addition, you will find a lot of essential minerals, trace elements and vitamins in Chia Seeds, which makes them the perfect dietary supplement. Another benefit of the Seeds is, that they are gluten free and don’t contain any cholesterol. Moreover, they are filling, while being low in calories, therefore Chia Seeds would be helpful if you want to lose weight. The Seeds could also be included in your nutrition plan, if you have heartburn, join paint, thyroid disease or diabetes. You can integrate Chia Seeds in your morning cereals and smoothies, use them for baking bread or for preparing a pudding. In Costa Rica you will even find them in natural juices offered in Tico homes.

2. Raw Cacao

kakao-costaricaChocolate is said to be unhealthy and to be fattening food, however that’s not the cacao’s fault! Rather, it’s the sugar’s. Raw Cacao, also grows in Costa Rica, and has a very good influence on one’s the health. It contains a huge quantity of antioxidants, which prevents strokes and heart attacks. It’s also a better source of calcium than milk and is therefore very helpful for your bones. Furthermore it contains a lot of iron, which is important for the body to transport the oxygen in the blood. Another interesting fact about cacao is that it produces neurotransmitters, so we tend to get a boost of positivity and feelings of happiness. Cacao brings our health and our emotions in balance. You can have Raw Cacao in your cereals and in milkshakes or even make your own chocolate bar with it.

3. Guanábana

guanabana-costaricaGuanabana, in English soursop, grows in the Caribbean and in South America. Throughout history its tree has been considered to be sacred by the indigenous people, because of its healing qualities. It is classified as a superfood, because it contains large quantities of calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C and helps with infections and high blood pressure. Recent research also asserts that the fruit is 100 times more effective for healing cancer, than an aggressive chemotherapy. You can include Guanábana in your nutrition by drinking tea out of the guanábana leaves, drinking smoothies out of the fruit or eating it raw. It’s juicy and delicious!

4. Noninoni-costarica

Noni is originally a plant from Australia, but today there are a lot of Noni trees in Costa Rica as well. The leaves of the Noni tree were used by the indigenous people to dress and heal wounds. The Noni fruit contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which promote the efficiency. That´s why the Noni is so popular with competitive athletes. It also strengths the immune system, furthers the healing process and makes you feel more comfortable in your body. The only disadvantage is its strong smell, which you can soften, if you combine the Noni with other fruit. Taking this approach, you can make delicious and healthy smoothies that taste great and are packed with healing properties.

5. Avocado

avocado-costaricaAvocado also grows in Costa Rica and is said to be the richest fruit in fats in the world! Containing 20% fat, it doesn’t contribute to weight gain, quite to the contrary it only contains unsaturated fatty acids, which activates the fat burning process and keeps you filled for a long time. Avocado can also help control weight, if you replace food with bad fats like mayonnaise or butter with it for example. Furthermore it prevents diabetes, heart attack and stroke. So ignore the bad reputation of the fatty fruit and use it for a Guacamole or add it in a salad to help your physical health. The creamy, buttery goodness will have you licking your lips for more.

What are your favorite superfoods? And how do you liked them prepared?

 

About the Writer Miriam Maurer

Miriam-MaurerMiriam is a volunteer from Germany. After having finished school, she wanted travel the world, improve her spanish and see the everyday life of a journalist. So she traveled to Costa Rica with the organization “Planet Conservation” that specializes in language exchange programs and volunteering programs in Costa Rica. Contact spanish@diversityschool.org.