Containing many super-foods, the traditional diet of Native
Americans offers great health. A diet rich in berries,
roots, and nuts traditionally kept tribal members powerful
and robust. As the modern diet displaced these nutrient
dense foods, the health of Native Americans began to
An article by the Organic Consumers Association reports on
the need to combat the epidemic of diabetes and childhood
obesity among modern Native Americans with a return to the
traditional diet enjoyed by their ancestors.
Bea Medicine, a Native American Anthropologist, describes
the change in diet:
"Traditional food staples of Indian tribes--wild game,
berries, roots, teas, and indigenous vegetables--were high
in protein and low in fat. That's a switch from the modern
Native American diet, which is high in fat and refined
starches and sugars."
Conti, a nutritionist who works with tribes nationwide,
"It started when Indian people were no longer free to live
off the land. After the tribes were placed on reservations,
they were fed government rations of processed food. Much of
reservation lands could not be farmed. The shift from
hunting, gathering and farming to a cash economy in the
early 1900s forced family members to leave home in search of
Today, tribal members consume a diet of government
commodities, including cheese, canned meat, processed
packaged food, lard and powdered milk.
In contrast, the super-foods enjoyed for centuries by
American Indians, such as mesquite, blueberries, sassafras,
and hazelnuts, kept individuals thriving with an absence of
diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Mesquite flour is a low-glycemic, gluten free, nutrient
packed super-food. It is an excellent source of the amino
acid lysine and is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium,
iron, and zinc. This healthy flour is also high in both
protein and fiber. Since mesquite flour supports stable
blood sugar levels and takes longer to digest than wheat
flour, it helps one to feel satisfied longer.
are an antioxidant power house, containing high levels of
anthocyanidins and ellagic acid. Antioxidants help to
counteract free radical damage that can lead to cataracts,
glaucoma, ulcers, heart
disease, and cancer. These mighty berries are a good
source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, and both soluble
and insoluble fiber.
Moreover, blueberries improve and protect brain function.
Native Americans utilized the roots, leaves and bark of the
sassafras tree in a variety of ways. Sassafras tea helps to
detoxify the body and treats high blood pressure as an
effective tonic. Additionally, this herb is a useful
diuretic that eases symptoms of arthritis and rheumatic
conditions. Sassafras also provides relief from
gastrointestinal problems, kidney ailments, and troubles
with the skin. Due to some controversy over the essential
oil safrole found in sassafras, it is recommended to not use
this herb for longer than one month a year in moderate
traditional diet of Native Americans included hazelnuts as
well which have numerous health benefits. Hazelnuts are a
good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, iron, zinc,
calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Likewise, hazelnuts
contain significant amounts of carotenoids, flavonoids, and
proanthocyanidins which protect against urinary tract
infections, heart disease, and cancer. Folate is found in
high concentration, protecting against Alzheimer's,
depression, and birth defects.
Enjoy the super-foods of a traditional Native American diet
as abundant vitality and well-being are healthfully
Blueberry Galette with Hazelnut (http://www.thrive-living.com/2010/1...)
Sources for this
Karen Lincoln Michel, "Native Americans Discuss a Return to
Traditional Natural Foods to Combat Health Problems",
Organic Consumers Association,
Special to The Washington Post, September 22, 2004
Mike Adams, "Mesquite flour is a high-protein, low-glycemic
superfood from desert trees", www.NaturalNews.com, August
Hub Pages, "Use Mesquite Flour to Prevent Diabetes"
Shirley Zafra-Stone, Taharat Yasmin, Manashi Bagchi, Archana
Chatterjee, Joe A. Vinson, Debasis Bagchi, "Berry
anthocyanins as novel antioxidants in human
health and disease", Molecular Nutrition and Food Research,
C.M. Mainland, J.W. Tucker, "Blueberry Health
Information-Some New Mostly Review", ISHS.
Article retrieved November 20, 2010
George Mateljan Foundation, "Blueberries"
Foundation of Herbalism, "Sassafras"
Debopriya Bose, "Sassafras Tea Health Benefits"
Hazelnut Council, "Nutritional Overview"