For anyone that knows me, they know I am big on “hiding” things in smoothies and in salad dressings or sauces. I remember years ago buying a cookbook from Jessica Seinfeld (Deceptively Delicious) and loving that she hid steamed pureed vegetables in everyday things. My kids eat vegetables without problem but for those that resist due to upbringing (sorry…had to state the obvious), her cookbooks may help add in some vegetables while on the transition to healthy. The vegetables that work well for adding into, say, a Sheppard’s pie (which can be quite healthy by the way), are spinach, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin. I steam a bunch and freeze small portions to quickly add into what ever I am making. I also add in the pulp from the juicer for added nutrients. Often, these “extras” I put in are barely detectible from a taste perspective. I even add them to my breads!
This post, however, is going beyond adding vegetables to everyday dinners. In this post, I am talking about adding in SUPERFOODS. Superfoods are foods that are highly nutritious and beneficial beyond everyday healthy eating. These are foods that put your health and brain function a step way up from ordinary.
Many superfoods are incredible on the brain-building front and can easily be incorporated secretly into the everyday diet of your child.
Today’s post will look at the incredible brain building properties of the superfood SPIRULINA. It comes in a powder and is very easy to add a tsp here and there, without much notice. The colour is quite intense, so I add it to darker smoothies, such as one with blackberries, and sauces. No one suspects a thing!
So, what is so “super” about spirulina? Well, according to David Wolfe, a leading expert on superfoods and optimal nutrition, spirulina is a full-spectrum high concentration protein, which is beneficial to almost all bodily functions, especially that of the brain and brain chemistry. Proteins are made up of amino acids. When we have a full spectrum of these amino acids in our diet, our brains can easily use the appropriate ones necessary to create healthy neurotransmitters (chemical messengers). Neurotransmitters allow the neurons to send messages to the target cells to create a response (or avoid a response).
Take, for example, the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid is commonly in short supply in our processed world, and is a critical building block for our body’s creation of serotonin, the “happiness” or “well-being” neurotransmitter. People with low serotonin production tend to be depressed, or overly aggressive, have difficulty sleeping, have an increased appetite, and tend to be more impulsive and less logical in thinking. Low tryptophan, therefore, is likely contributing to the fact that so many children (and adults) are on anti-depressants and sleep aids. They NEED tryptophan to make serotonin! Their bodies can’t make it without the proper building blocks. Depression may very well be a “chemical imbalance”, but one that can easily be rectified if given the right foods (building blocks), not drugs.
That is just ONE neurotransmitter and ONE amino acid. There are 21 amino acids in total, 9 which are essential to get through diet, and 8 major (and many minor) neurotransmitters. Imagine a missing amino acid in the production of the Acetylcholine neurotransmitter. A lowered production of this would affect your child’s movement, their ability to learn, their memory, and their sleep. What about Dopamine? It is needed for proper movement, attention, learning, motivation, and pleasure.
You can see where I’m going with this. If your child is missing or even just low on ONE amino acid in the production of any one of the neurotransmitters, the results could be disastrous!
Certainly having an abundant supply of ALL the essential amino acids could make the world of a difference to your child! Spirulina has all the amino acids needed.
AND….that’s not all! Spirulina is PACKED with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, phytonutrients, the blood builder and immune booster phycocyanin, and vital enzymes such as Superoxidase Dismutase (SOD).
It is an EXCELLENT source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is very important for hormonal and mental growth and development. In fact, GLA is abundant in breast milk so we know it is beneficial from birth.
Spirulina also has several forms of sulfur minerals, which aid in detoxification of the body and nervous system, and in immunity. Increased removal of toxins and heavy metals such as aluminum and mercury helps the brain (and body) function optimally.
We are focusing on the brain here, but spirulina has numerous other benefits to health, longevity, and even to lustrous hair and strong nails. The list goes on...
Adding just a tsp of spirulina to your child’s diet is such an easy thing to do, yet so very profound. It will undoubtedly help make your child a brainiac and…