When we are taking care of our immune system, it is good to remember that raw fruits and veggies have the highest dose of nutrients because vitamins and minerals contained in them do not get destroyed during cooking. So-called superfoods are loaded with nutrients crucial for our health. They can be added to smoothies, or used in delicious raw-food recipes.
Superfoods can be easily preserved by freezing or dehydrating (in the oven or dehydrator) at 135 F. Dehydrating will take between 8-12 hours, depending on a product, but in the end you will have a yummy, healthy stash of superfoods, containing the same amounts of nutrients as fresh ones.
Some raw superfoods that can be stored for a long time:
• Apples (slice and dehydrate): packed with antioxidants that boost the natural anti-aging and anti-cancer abilities of our organism.
• Bananas (peel and slice to freeze): rich in potassium that aids the cardiovascular system in maintaining a low and regular blood flow. They contain tryptophan, a protein the body uses to create serotonin. Banana is a favorite snack of athletes, and it is loaded with bromelain and vitamin B.
• Carrots (store fresh): rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. Regular consumption of carrots may help to protect the eyes from age-related vision problems, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
• Cashew nuts: abundant source of essential minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc. They also contain high levels of vitamin B5 and B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, riboflavin and thiamin. Cashews are high in calories but also packed with soluble dietary fiber. They can help to protect from many diseases and cancer.
• Dark Chocolate (at least 75% cacao): rich in magnesium, iron, copper and manganese, contains prebiotic fiber that feeds your healthy gut bacteria. Due to its contents of phenylethylamine and tryptophan, chocolate helps in the production of serotonin, which elevates the mood.
• Kale (dehydrate): contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C, K and other nutrients that can help prevent various health problems. Chlorophyll contained in dark green leafy vegetables helps prevent the body from absorbing toxic chemicals linked to cancer.
• Peaches (slice and freeze): rich source of vitamin A, C and beta-carotene (improves vision), and a good source of folate and pantothenic acid, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamin B6, vitamins E and K, as well as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, iron and calcium. These minerals work to support red blood cell, bone and nervous system health.
• Pistachios: a 100-gram serving provides 562 calories and 20 percent of the daily requirements of protein, dietary fiber, several dietary minerals: beta-carotene, calcium, carbohydrates, copper, folate, iron, lutein and zeaxanthin, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, zinc, dietary fiber, fats and proteins.
• Red Raspberries (freeze): among the world’s most nutritional foods. Very rich in anthocyanins, in particular ellagic acid, which has anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that ellagic acid inhibits tumor growth caused by carcinogens, at the same time protecting the DNA against damages caused by radiation therapy. The anthocyanins found in red raspberries protect against heart disease and mental aging problems — at the same time helping energy levels and overall well-being.
• Red onions (store fresh): have a high content of sulfur, which supports the body’s natural ability to detox. Sulfur binds with heavy metals in our blood and flushes the toxins from our body, being essential for the health of our hormones, nerves, enzymes and red blood cells. Onions (both red and yellow) enhance the immune system, and are rich in quercetin (bioflavonoid), which helps to remove excessive estrogen levels from our body, and stimulates the liver’s ability to detoxify estrogen and other carcinogenic agents, preventing or dealing with breast cancer, as well as ovarian, uterine and prostate cancer.
• Spinach (freeze): a nutritional powerhouse due to its contents of iron and health-promoting carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin), which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties, plus are very important for eye health.
• Strawberries (slice and freeze): rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and phytochemicals, which help to reduce joint inflammation, boost immunity, lower cholesterol levels, and promote eye and heart health.