Most people think that superfoods are an up-and-coming attraction but really, they’ve been around for donkey’s years!
The foods we eat play a big part in our lifestyle, especially when they are superfoods, and sometimes you do have to ask, “Where do superfoods come from?”
Some of our favourite Funktional Foods products have been grown for over 5000 years, all the way on the other side of the world. We’ve got a little history lesson for the superfood fanatics about the origins of the best health boosters there are.
First up we have the South American delicacy: Cacao!
First used around 5,300 years ago, the cacao tree which produces cacao beans is native to Mexico. Cacao was eaten by pre-Hispanic cultures and was used in ceremonies focused on spiritual connection.
Artifacts have been found that hint that cacao products were being eaten in Honduras sometime between 1500 and 1400 BC! Evidence also shows that, before the cacao bean’s flavour became popular, the sweet pulp of the fruit was used to make an alcoholic drink, and that’s how the plant was first noticed in the Americas.
A Spanish soldier claims that when the emperor of the Aztecs dined, he wouldn’t drink anything except their version of hot chocolate, made with cacao, and that he drank 60 portions of it per day! Now that’s a lot of cacao!
Next: the wonderful Wheatgrass!
Wheatgrass first appeared in history’s timeline over 5000 years ago in ancient Egypt and maybe even Mesopotamia. It is claimed that ancient Egyptians found the wheat sacred and prized it for it’s amazing effect on their health and wellbeing. The Egyptians had it all right!
More recently, the consumption of wheatgrass became a popular practice in the Western world in the 1930s because of experiments by Charles F. Schnabel. He was an agricultural chemist who used fresh cut wheat grass in an attempt to nurse dying chickens back to health. The hens were able to recover, and they began producing eggs at a higher rate than healthy hens. Astounded by his results, he started drying and powdering grass for his family and friends and encouraged them to add it to their diets.
Maca may not have been around for as long as Cacao or Wheatgrass, but that doesn’t make it any less brilliant!
Even today, the best quality Maca is sourced from the Andes Mountains, the area which the root originates from. This also happens to be where we source our Funktional Foods Maca.
Archaeological evidence indicates that Maca was first used as a food source around 2000 years ago in Junin, central Peru. It is believed that indigenous people began using Maca after they saw the positive effect that it had on their livestock, in terms of energy and especially fertility.
Spirulina is one of our oldest superfoods, it first appeared on earth 3.5 billion years ago!
Spirulina was eaten way back in the Aztec era. It is said that on particular Aztec emperor loved fresh fish so much he would send men to walk 300km from his capital to the Gulf of Mexico just to be able to enjoy them fresh. These runners were able to cover miles and miles so quickly as they were aided by spirulina!
Spirulina was first discovered as a teal slime! After they’d harvested it, it was dried and eaten with grains and spices. Unfortunately, when Mexico was conquered by the Spanish, their lakes were dried up and Spirulina was forgotten.
In 1960, a sodium hydroxide production factory was built in Mexico and the owner had to deal with the machines being clogged up with blue slime – after deciding to burn it along with all the other waste the factory produced, he was eventually realised it was spirulina.
Last but not least, here’s a brief history of Hemp:
Hemp has been used in human civilization for a long, long time, it was first found in Asia in 8,000 BC. Soon after, hemp was found in Europe, Africa and South America, with hemp seeds and oil used for pottery and food.
Around 400 BC Hemp began to be considered a gift, seen by Hindu people as “sacred grass,” one of the five sacred plants of India.
In the 1700s, North America discovered hemp and used it as a key ingredient in making clothes and shoes. A law was even passed that meant that Hemp had to be a staple plant being grown on every American farm. Even many of America’s Founding Fathers advocated for its benefits. That’s right, Hamilton liked hemp! If that’s not enough credibility, I don’ know what is!
All our favourite superfoods have such interesting pasts, which deserve to be remembered!