8 Jamaican Superfoods You Need To Know About

A food is considered a “superfood” if it contains a high concentration of certain nutrients, or has been shown to be beneficial in fighting various diseases or ailments. However, there is no scientific definition of “superfood,” and everyone should be aware of the fact that, according to the National Health Services (NHS) UK, “most research on superfoods tests chemicals and extracts in concentrations not found in the food in its natural state.”

Below are some of the plants considered superfoods that are readily available in Jamaica:

Aloe vera

A member of the lily family, aloe vera derives its name from the Arabic word ‘alloeh’ which means ‘bitter’. There are over 200 varieties of aloe vera growing in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. The plant has long, spiked leaves with a thick skin which contains a clear gel.

Aloe vera is rich in vitamin C which boosts the immune system and helps to maintain tone of blood vessels and promotes good circulation. The plant also contains protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B12, E and essential fatty acids. It is also a plant source of vitamin B12. It provides enzymatic action to rejuvenate ageing tissues and promotes healthy skin.

Aloe vera is used to fight infections, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation in arthritis, improve the skin, treat ulcers and heartburn, relieve dental problems, improve cardiovascular health, detox, and diminish diabetes. It has the potential to help adults and children receive more from daily foods and supplements.  Read more…

Cayenne/Bird Pepper

African-American slaves are said to be the first to use cayenne pepper in the ‘new world.’ It is both a condiment and a medicine, especially good for curing colds, the flu, sore throats and sinus issues. Cayenne is a powerful stimulant, which boosts the heart rate, equalises blood pressure and is great for circulation. It is good for internal and external bleeding, and acts as a catalyst for other herbal medicines to work effectively.

Cayenne also helps to aid digestion, improve arthritis and rheumatism, and is good for your lungs, kidneys, heart, stomach, pancreas, and spleen. It also helps to fight diabetes by lowering the blood sugar level.

Coconut

The coconut has been used in folk medicine in many cultures to treat a wide variety of health problems, from abscesses and asthma to jaundice and kidney stones. The Coconut Research Center in Colorado, directed by Dr Bruce Fife, cites several reports from various sources that suggest an impressive list of health benefits, including:

  • Destroys viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, and AIDS. Kills various bacteria that cause infections of the skin, throat, lungs, urinary tract, and gums. Kills fungi that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, and diaper rash.
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves insulin secretion and blood glucose control and reduces health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers. Read more…

See the next page for nore “superfoods”