Superfood Tonics Mixing Up Your Morning “Cuppa Joe”

By Christine Dionese / Photography By Lyudmila Zotova | January 01, 2017
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superfood tonics

Chillier mornings call for extra cups of coffee in bed, right? As an integrative health and food therapy specialist, I assure you we can make it through the day without four cups of coffee. Superfood tonics may help you feel “adaptogenically” revived instead of coffee deprived.

Most of us want to be emotionally soothed by our beverages—creamy lattes and strong dark roasts tend to soothe us. But when the initial buzz wears off, we can be left feeling fatigued, jittery or craving more. By the time afternoon comes around we’re dragging our feet, reaching for coffee number two or three.

Adaptogens to the rescue!

Often referred to as “medicine for the healthy,” adaptogenic superfoods and plants help us “adapt” to nonspecific environmental stress in the modern world by promoting sustained energy and disease prevention without disrupting normal biological activities.* A subclass of tonic herbs, these superfoods make perfect coffee alternatives.

While the following recipes may seem complicated to whip up, once you have discovered one or two that you like, you’ll find they are worth the effort.

Not only will you have created healthy, delicious replacements for your “cuppa Joe,” but you can use the extra ingredients in baking, to dust over roasted vegetables, in soups, in your kid’s smoothies, etc. The possibilities are really endless. We highly recommend choosing organic, Fair Trade and pesticide-free options for all ingredients to experience optimized wellness.


* The research supporting the use and efficacy of adaptogens is neither extensive nor conclusive.

The reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is venerated in East Asia where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. Reishi contains a variety of medicinal compounds including fungal immunomodulatory proteins (FIPs), bioactive ingredients that have immune building properties. FIPs stimulate different cells and cellular components that enable immune response.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been marketed for its supposed benefits for sexual performance but evidence of aphrodisiac properties is limited by small study sizes and scientific evidence on its effectiveness is limited. It is promoted as a dietary supplement for several women’s health issues, including symptoms of menopause, but there have been few rigorous clinical trials. The safety and efficacy of maca for alleviating menopause symptoms is not known.

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus ) has been used as a folk remedy in Russia and other North-European countries for centuries. However, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, “no clinical trials have been conducted to assess chaga’s safety and efficacy for disease prevention or for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes.”

Dragon fruits have a surprising number of phytonutrients. Rich in antioxidants, they contain vitamin C, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene, lycopene, fiber and protein.

Camu has an extraordinarily high vitamin C content.

Moringa oleifera (Moringa oleifera) is a small tree from India, Pakistan, and Nepal that has been used for generations in Eastern countries to treat and prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, liver disease, and respiratory, skin, and digestive disorders. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It contains significant amounts of vitamins A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has a bioactive constituent that has shown potential in therapy for glioblastomas. In Ayurveda, the berries and leaves are applied externally to tumors, tubercular glands, carbuncles, and ulcers. The roots are used for the herbal remedy ashwagandha which has been used for arthritis, anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Compiled from Wikipedia, WebMD and nutritional content from the internet.

Article from Edible San Diego at
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